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Hamby Cafe a mix of all things fine

By: Kotoko Chinen

Date Posted: 1999-07-24

Tomoyuki Aseishi and Takaaki Sato are adventurous enough to classify their eatery as a restaurant, a pub, and a cafe all rolled neatly into one. But is a cafe, or a bar, or a pub? It may leave you scratching your head in wonderment, but itís not difficult to see why when you first step foot inside ďThe Seaside Terrace Restaurant & Pub, Hamby Cafe."

The Hamby Cafe is an Italian bistro which opened in the Hamby Night Flee Market area in Chatan last February. Unlike the hectic hustle and bustle at the flea markets outside, the Hamby retains a relaxing and intimate ambiance. From the moment I entered Hamby Cafe, with its dark brown wood-based interior, a terrace-like dining room, luscious green plants here and there, it felt more like a vacation cottage than a typical Italian restaurant.

Yet, save the compliments until the food arrives to your table. The fare by Chef Aseishi, who studied the culinary arts in Italy and has polished his skills at the very prestigious Hotel Okura for many years, looks fabulous and tastes far better.

On our first visit, we sampled Chicken BBQ, Steak, ďPeperoncino," Seafood Salad, and as an appetizer, Bread & Tomatoes, a wonderful combination of diced tomatoes flavored with garlic and toasted French bread. In a word, scrumptious! The mustard sauce-covered BBQ Chicken and Steak with a tomato-based sauce were excellent.

For those who might lose their appetite because of the islandís sizzling summer temperatures, I suggest a Seafood Salad. The fresh raw salmon, scallops, octopus, and shrimps are balanced perfectly with summer vegetables, such as tomatoes and cucumbers. For a pasta dish, we tried "Peperoncino," laced with sliced bacon and garlic. Very tasty, very light, and it wonít spoil your appetite for more.

The dishes were on the whole generous, although the pasta dish could be classed as an average-sized portion. On the other hand, the chicken and beef for the main dish were Okinawan-sized, which is basically larger than the Japanese size and a bit less than the American size, by my definition.

While indulging in a fine dinner, we also enjoyed the beautiful sunset that fell into the blue ocean ahead of us. Which brings me to the cocktails, which were almost as spectacular in color as what could be viewed from our table! Hamby Cafe original cocktails such as "Sunset" and "Ocean" were delightful. I enjoyed both of them very much.

To take advantage of the Hambyís great location, the dining room is window-free. The only thing that separates the restaurant from the outside world is a plastic see-through curtain. And when rolled up, the mid-summer evening breeze wafted in as on call. Candles were lit on each table adding to the atmosphere and the thought it would be an ideal place to dine with a sweetheart.

By dinnerís end, I realized there is so much variety, and indeed depending on your mood, or the occasion, the Hamby can truly be classed as either pub, cafe or restaurant. It just depends on how you want to spend your time; you can dine, or linger over a cocktail, or just catch a cup of espresso.

Prices range from •350 to •1250, and dining hours are from 5 p.m. - 2 a.m. Monday through Friday and 3 p.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays. An English menu is available and payment can be made in dollars.

Directions: Take Route 58 from Kadena to Naha. When you see the police station on your right, make a right turn at the traffic light and enter the street that leads you to Hamby Town Shopping Center. Pass Hamby Town and turn right again at the light (you'll see the "Sauce" restaurant on your right.) Then, go straight along the street. You'll see the Hamby Cafe on your left. It's located on the second floor.

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