(THE JAPAN TIMES/ANN) - Using the word factory to describe a restaurant lends a sort of industrial, rugged feeling. You are ready for something heavy duty.
Imagine my surprise then, when I visited Sandwich Factory, which looks and feels more like an English tea room crossed with a cafe you might find on a cruise ship plowing the Mediterranean. Instead of views of the Balearic Islands you have a vista of Utsubo Park, one of the vital lungs that allows downtown Osaka to breathe.
There is a flashy white grand piano at the entrance where recitals are held year round. The piano was silent on my recent visit; instead the pleasant atmosphere was punctuated by the sound of bells, which indicates a customer ready to order.
The name rings true in that there is a wide range of sandwiches available. There are Japanese classics, such as cream and fruit sandwiches, but I went with burdock root and tuna, crusts removed and lined up like little soldiers. Although there are many kinds, each order is rather small, so you will be back browsing the menu soon enough.
There is also a great range of pita sandwiches, a variety you do not often come across in Japan. The simmered pork belly with roast vegetables was a treat.
Sandwich Factory is quirky in that peculiar Japanese way of trying to be so many things at once. It is also fun, and the atmosphere is a big part of the draw.
Where: 1-13-2 Kyomachibori, Nishi-ku, Osaka, Japan
Open: 11am to 9pm, daily
Info: Call 06-6445-6262 or go to http://www.sandwich-factory.jp/