Hattifnatt – Koenji Cafe and Gallery

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I half mentioned this place in my Beatles bar post last month but I thought this cafe deserved a posting of it’s own.  This is the Hattifnatt cafe beside The Grapes/Beatles bar in Koenji.  I have been to this place a few times now but I took my camera with me this time.  What really attracted me to this place was it’s striking facade and smell of cake wafting onto the small street.  It’s hard to describe this place but it really reminds of something from Alice and Wonderland.  The building appears to be mainly made from wood with a door so small you need to crouch going in.  Getting to your seat is half the fun here. You need to basically climb a ladder type staircase to the 1st floor for seats.  The hand railing is a rope and there is ivy and tree branches sticking out randomly giving the whole place a childish tree house feel which I loved.  The 1st floor consists of 2 reasonably spacious rooms and  a scattering of tables and chairs.  On each table there is an numbered spoon (possible table number?) and a menu with a cloth cover that looks like a homemade young girls diary.  To call for service you need to pull a rope in the middle of the floor which signals a bell downstairs.  This place sells mainly coffee and cakes but some hot food is available too (pizza and pies!).  There a some interesting murals on one of the walls that looked like a 5 year old kid drew and there were some Octopus wind chimes dangling from the rafters and a toy train track goes around the ceiling.   For a more interesting seating arrangment,  climb up some very steep ladders into one of the 2 lofts but these are tiny and you need to sit on tatami cushion type things and are slightly claustrophobic but kind of cool towering over everyone else in the resturant.  Quite the awesome place although I do have to admit….. I does have rats.  Three times there, I saw them on 2 visits. The place is made of wood, is warm and sells cake.  To be expected I suppose! Such a pity as it’s got such charm, well presented food, good service and great cheese cake!!!  So maybe beer might be the safe option here although climbing downs ladders when drunk = dislocated shoulder with severe head injuries and possibly brain malfunctions. Up to you.

Here is some photos I took.

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How to get here: Take the north JR station Koenji exit. Walk in a north east direction till you find a 24 hour Jeans Mate (yeap! 24 hour jeans shop!!). Go right at the Pachinko and follow that street down and the Grapes is on your right and the Hattifnatt is on your left. Easy!

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~ by redegg on June 4, 2009.

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