Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Umami Cafe (Portland Japanese Garden)

The Portland Japanese Garden has been undergoing renovation since September 2015, with an expansion project that has nearly doubled its size.  This expansion includes a new courtyard for events and performances and new buildings like the Umami Cafe, designed by world-famous architect, Kengo Kuma.

The entrance to the Garden and the Umami Cafe can be reached by taking a scenic walk uphill and up several flights of stairs or by taking the complimentary Garden Shuttle which runs every 15 minutes.

Kengo Kuma also designed the Jugetsudo Kabukiza tea room featured here previously and Jugetsudo tea is served in the Umami Cafe and is available for purchase at the gift shop.

The Umami Cafe is airy and uncluttered, with floor to ceiling windows letting in plenty of natural light and providing an unhindered view of the Garden.  Seating is at tables inside the cafe, along the outer walkway, and at the tea bar.

Tea is served in sets, paired with a sweet or pastry.  Sets are offered for matcha, sencha, hojicha, and genmaicha.  The only tea offered without a set is mecha which can be served hot or cold.

Food, except for what comes with a tea set, is available after 11am.

During this first visit, I started out with the Matcha with Spring Shibori set.  Wagashi at Umami Cafe are made by Tomoe Horibuchi (Behind the Museum Cafe) and small sweets like the stars in my set are made by Gena Renaud (Yume Confections).

Since it was a cold and rainy day, I also requested the Hojicha with Anpan set.  Both the anpan and optional castella cake are made by Oyatsupan.  Hot water refills are provided at no additional charge so you can get the most from that delicious hojicha.

611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205

12:00pm to 7:00pm Monday
8:00am to 7:00pm Tuesday-Sunday

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