Lovely Strawberry Shortbread pastry (Photo: gethiroshima)

Pinkerton's Souk Chai Shop

Chai & Cheesecake, Indian curry, samosas & sandwiches

Lovely Strawberry Shortbread pastry (Photo: gethiroshima)
JJ Walsh   - 3 min read

Chai and Cheesecake, Indian curry plates and samosas are the reasons people come back regularly to Pinkerton's Souk. It is a small, interesting little shop tucked into the 2F of a building in the Hatchobori area of central Hiroshima. Science fiction fans will be interested to know that this was one of David Mitchell's (author of Cloud Atlas among other bestsellers) favorite cafes in Hiroshima during the time he lived and worked here.

Pinkerton's started in the mid 80's in the days when "ethnic" foods and cafes were the only alternative to traditional Japanese eateries. They have hung in over the years while the surroundings have changed, noodle shops and government buildings now surround it, and yet it is still an unpretentious little spot to escape to for a drink and a snack or light meal.

Teas from India, Sri Lanka, China, Africa and Nepal as well as herbal teas are available here. The milky Chai teas are full of flavor and spice- similar to what you find in India and Nepal- they are very good. Try the ginger or masala spiced Chai- they are favorites. The yoghurt Lassi drinks are also healthy and tasty.

On the menu, there are curry lunches, sandwiches and samosas to choose from. The vegetable samosas are wrapped in fluffy pastry, and the Sabuji (fried veggies and chick peas with cheese topping) is delicious as is the spiced apple garnish (similar to a chutney) that comes with the nan bread.

Curry lunches, Nan & whole grain sandwiches as well as other lunch sets are available until sold out and include a drink of tea & a small sweet bread for around 1,000 yen. You can order a la carte chai drinks, cakes, scones, samosas and other dishes to eat in or take-out.

If that isn't enough - or you're not in the mood for Indian spices try one of their delicious cakes, including banana, cheesecake, or seasonal varieties like strawberry shortbread, pumpkin cheesecake or pecan pie (around ¥700 with a drink). The most amazing (and popular) is the standard cheesecake. It may look plain and simple, but it is delicious perfection! It is a nice combination of light cream cheese without being too light or sponge-like as most "cheesecakes" tend to be in Japan.

There is also a small shop near the front of the shop. They sell teas, incense, jewellery, textiles, handmade bags and hats, cookies and original postcards. Take-out food orders as well as take-out cakes and pies are available on request.

Pinkerton's is a great smoke-free place to come and relax as the African or Indian music plays in the background. The decor is rather eclectic-casual and it is rarely too busy to be at one with your food, drink and most importantly thoughts. If you don't think about it too much, you can imagine yourself in a local chai shop in Kathmandu or Manali.

  • All non-smoking all day
  • Group reservations accepted
  • No Parking Available, but there are cheap parking lots nearby.
  • Cash only, No Credit Cards Accepted
  • *Eco-friendly* reusable chopsticks are used here

JJ Walsh

JJ Walsh @joy.walsh

I've been living in Hiroshima since the mid 90's & still discovering new things to enjoy. I'm a big fan of both the old "wabi sabi" as well as modern and new designs, Japan offers both of these type of places to explore and enjoy. Even after many years here, I am still discovering surprising, fan...