Dah’s Caffe is marked by an architectural and engineering oddity: a giant circular air vent rising up from the Sennichimae Subway Line onto the street. On first glance its purpose, and ugliness, are obfuscated by a mosaic of amber tiles. The vent makes its presence felt in the cafe; one wall curves around it to accommodate the structure. But, happily the only aroma in the air at Dah’s is the pungent smell of coffee.
Dah’s is a specialty coffee shop and the interior is full of signs making that obvious: open sacks of beans, a roaster by the door and a high-end LaCimbali espresso maker behind the counter. This is a cafe where the emphasis is on coffee, although owner Yoshiki Kondoh does make room for tea and snacks. There’s not much in the way of seating, only a few stools facing the rounded wall of the vent. But as the decor, fare and ambience combine to give the cafe a not-unintended European flavor, you could take your coffee like the Italians do: standing up and in small cups.
I had a doppio (a double shot of espresso) and a slice of chiffon cake, accompanied by a few slices of mango. There’s a record player behind the counter; when I stepped inside, “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt was playing. Kondoh is friendly and knowledgeable about his coffee and its provenance, so if you’re looking for a foothold in this increasingly Byzantine world, Dah’s is a good place to start.
Noda 3-2-16, Fukushima-ku, Osaka; 06-6461-6466; www.shuplace.com; open 11:00 a.m.- 7:30 p.m., closed Wed. and Thurs.; nearest station JR Noda, Subway Tamagawa; English menu; Japanese spoken; smoking ok.