Cafe Matilda, a pancake house, in Kawagoe gets rave reviews particularly from foreigners on Google Maps. I went to check it out, with my faithful partner in food adventuring A-chan. I liked it, partially loved it, but due to the honeyed (pun intended) reviews on Google, I was a little disappointed. I guess my expectations were too high. But for reasonably priced filling, yet light and fluffy, savoury and / or sweet pancakes, it’s a good choice.
If you’ve walked to the main tourist area from Hon Kawagoe station, you may have noticed this restaurant with the American flag outside. It stands out not only for the American flag, but for the colourful and fun paraphernalia around the entrance to the building. Including a GI Joe whose either chilling out or was taken down in battle!
Inside is just as vivacious with lots of entertaining decoration. In every available crook and cranny and even on the walls and ceiling there is paraphernalia from overseas, mainly American. It could pass as a mini museum of Disney, Universal Studios and Pixar figurines. The kitsch is part of its appeal though. It is advertised as a diner. There is a slight diner feel about it, but mainly due to the menu and decoration. It is more pub than American diner by appearance with wooden flooring, tables and chairs.
There is seating for about 30 people and usually within half an hour of opening the place is full. Reservations are not required. It opens at three different times a day and accordingly has three different menus; breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Hours in the information section below). They have highchairs and some toys for kids to play with. And they give kids a lollipop when you pay your bill, which is a nice touch. However, officially smoking is permitted, although we saw nobody smoking and there was no smell of stale smoke.
The main staple, as you might have guessed already, is pancakes! They are pretty good, thick in volume but light and fluffy. And relatively reasonably priced and a decent size too. You can get sweet and/or savoury pancakes served with salad.
The menu varies slightly between each opening session. You can see their full menus on the homepage linked in the information section. They have English menus and some of the staff speak English. Service is pretty good even when they are busy, but not the most efficient place I’ve ever been to.
Cafe Matilda Information
Hours: Wednesday to Monday, closed on Tuesdays. Breakfast – 7.30 am to 10 am. Lunch- 11 am to 4.30 pm. Dinner – 5.30 pm to 11 pm
Cost: Budget for around 700 yen for a sweet pancake, 900 yen for a savoury / pancake meal plus 300 yen for a drink.
Access: About a two minute walk from Hon-Kawagoe station. The restaurant does not have any official parking, but there is a coin parking right beside the cafe. It costs 200 yen for 40 minutes.