Cono Foresta pizzeria has recently opened inside the Hayashi Genjuro Shouten complex in the heart of the Bikan area in Kurashiki and it’s a welcome addition in the Okayama dinning scene.
There is a lot going on inside the Hayashi Genjuro building which is also known as the Design Market Kurashiki : two clothing shops, a sort of general store, a design museum, a pharmacy museum and three restaurants.
The renovated building and the small courtyard combines modernity to the rustic look which makes the Bikan area one of the most unique preserved neighborhood in Japan.
It’s slick, it’s minimalist and it’s respectful to the original design.
Cono Foresta is located in the inner courtyard and it shares a building with another restaurant.
The restaurant is a big open space with a traditional Japanese vaulted roof with exposed wooden truss.
Like the original Cono pizzeria, the interior is minimalist and modern. The wooden tables are held by old iron legs. I will need to go back at night to see the lighting.
The open kitchen is dominated by the massive wood burning conic pizza oven.
When I went there, they only offered a few pizzas: margherita, pizza bianca and 4 cheeses. I opted for the margherita and a salad.
The same trays are present at Cono Foresta, but I was offered real cutlery which is a big difference with the original Cono which only has plastic forks and knives.
The seat at Cono Foresta are wooden stool which I have seen inside the wood shop at the Junior High School where I teach. It’s rustic and not that comfortable.
The salad is a bit more elaborated than the one I had at Cono I, nice dressing and combination of veggies.
The owner, who always cooked at Cono, was not behind the pizza oven when I visited Cono Foresta since he was busy running around and making sure that everything went well.
The pizza which is served a thick bamboo board was delicious despite the fact that the cheese was not well distributed on it.
I guess the new pizzaiolo is getting the hang of it. The pizza is just as good as Cono and I appreciated the fact that I could eat it with a real fork and knife.
If you are starving and you have a big gaijin appetite, you might find the pizza a bit small. I could easily eat two of these.
Cono Foresta is a slightly more upscale version of the original and a hell of a stylish eatery.
If you visit Kurashiki, don’t miss to visit the new Design Market on your way to Bikan. Let me know what you thing of the new Cono Foresta.