It was probably my first week after moving to Nagasaki that I was first told about Monne Legui Mooks. I had asked a friend if they had any cafes or restaurants they would recommend and he immediately answered;
‘Mooks!’ without any hesitation. But, he followed this answer up with the question;
‘Do you own a car?’ I timidly shook my head and he went on to say not to worry about it.
Don’t worry about it? You’ve basically just told me about this mysterious car only access cafe, how can I not worry about that? So, Monne Legui Mooks has been a destination sitting in the back of mind for about a year. Far too long to not follow up on a suggested location.
After acquiring a Japanese licence two months ago Meg and I made plans for a road trip encompassing stopping off in the anonymous town of Hasami which housed the restaurant. We arrived thinking there’d be a few people at this restaurant but there was already a 20m queue of people patiently waiting for Mooks to open at 11am. Luckily enough we got one of the few remaining seats at the counter.
Housed on a plot of land with three other ex-manufacturing buildings Mooks is the star attraction. A labour of love by the owner who turned the area into a tourist trap with the three buildings sheltering the cafe, a art gallery and the wonderful Hasami Porcelain homewares shop. All have maintained the original timber construction with a surprisingly sparse littering of modern fittings throughout. The owner later told me that he didn’t want to waste the already fine construction by demolition. That’s why he picked these buildings and the town of Hasami.
The set menu is typically priced for a modern Japanese cafe at about ¥1000 and includes the daily entrée, a main and a drink. We we’re lucky enough to get the mix omelette (above), containing mushrooms and cheese as an entrée that was devilishly smooth and a perfect precursor to the main. So far so good.
Not long after tunneling through the omelette came out my order of Taco Rice (above). Served with a fried egg on top, sour cream and a small salad I pretty much cleaned the plate. The taco, spices, mince and sour cream combo came together that wants me going back once more just for it. It was nice to eat something with some substance for a change. The girl ordered a That green curry which was also brilliant. I may have stolen some when she went to wash her hands.
So yet again a non descriptive building in an utterly ordinary area harbours an extraordinary experience. Japans fascination with 廃墟 (Haikyo/Ruins) is a pleasure to be a part of and something I hope I can incorporate into the things I do in the future. It’s like they know that the people who designed these things were good at them, so let’s just bring what we’re good at in into it.
If you ever have the chance to visit Monne Legui Mooks it comes highly regarded from two previous customers.
© 2018 Carey Ciuro