Nagoya has a long list of establishments that pride themselves on their egg-based masterpieces. One such spot is Cheval Cafe in Shirakabe, a pancake restaurant that happens to serve one of the best eggs Benedict you’re likely to find in the city.
Though the cafe is spacious it’s still intimate and welcoming, especially for families — they provide children’s seats and a small library of kid’s books to keep your tykes entertained. There are also magazines and books for the adults, as well as a window running the full length of the back wall, which looks out into a garage filled with classic cars.
There are dozens of pancakes available, the cream of the crop being the souffle-style Strawberry Benedict Pancake (¥1,300), which is so delicate it melts in your mouth and so moreish you’ll be missing the dish before you’ve even finished it. It is a little more expensive than the other pancakes on the menu and takes a little time to prepare, but it is a treat that is well worth it. Besides fruit and cream toppings, there are also pancakes topped with more savory items, such as cheese, crispy chicken or a BLT variety.
If pancakes aren’t your thing, sandwiches are also available, with the eggs Benedict (¥980) being a personal favorite. There are also pastas and rice-based dishes like locomoco or katsu (fried, breaded pork cutlet) curry, but though they are serviceable, they are not on par with Cheval’s other fare.
There is an extensive list of teas and coffees, but the adorable 3-D latte-art drinks cost a little more at ¥700 a cup. Alcoholic beverages are also available, including beer, wine, highballs and some very simple cocktails as well as sparkling wine.
If the kids get bored of their books, they have three different meals to choose from — a signature plate, omelet rice or a sandwich (each ¥500) — all of which are pretty big, giving parents a little extra to eat.
The cafe may close a little too early to be a viable dinner option for most, but the lunch sets (¥850-900) are extremely popular. They range from a simple tomato cream pasta to the delicious chicken with miso sauce set. There is also an extensive drink bar, offering juices, teas or coffees. It can get a little busy at lunchtimes however, so be prepared to line up.
Cheval Cafe may not be the best fit for many with it’s early closing time, but the food is simple and delicious — even if it won’t fill up bigger bellies. The atmosphere is very relaxed, even during the busier times, and children are always welcome; the fact that the eggs are some of the best in the city is just another reason to pay Cheval a visit.