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May 2004
Issue 048

KS Classifieds

Classifieds now combined with Kansai Scene.

Rebirth in Kobe

Kobe can feel, on a sunny spring morning, like the tree-lined boulevards of a European capital. It is spacious and, when the air is right, it is a beautiful place. It has long been an international city and was once upon a time one of the only entry points for travelers from the west.

The nightlife and the restaurants of the port city reflect this international nature, and no-where more than Tierra Nasca, whose recent refurbishment has raised both the culinary and nightlife standards in the city. Patrons may remember the bar from its previous incarnation, where Latin nights and belly dancing brought some sweat and spice to the city. The restaurant hosted a carnival event in February, bringing a little taste of Rio to Kobe during the cold winter months.

From the beginning of March, Mourad Azzouz, with the help and support of his brother Emmanuel, has focused on the culinary aspects of the international theme. However, they still reserve Saturday nights for their trademark Latin nights, with the usual energy and passion that their regulars have come to expect, and retain their reputation as the best place for Latin music in Kansai. There is also a schedule of live performances, including Salsa, Latin and Arabian nights. The famous belly dancing shows will also continue. For those who are interested, but a little unsure on their feet, there are also flamenco and salsa lessons. Contact the restaurant or stop by to pick up a schedule.

Prior to the refit, Tierra Nasca served mostly Peruvian food, but the menu has been significantly expanded to incorporate dishes from the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. Think cous cous, shish kebab, paella and mussels in white beer. The food is delicate and the portions sizable. Main dishes range from ¥1,100 to ¥1,700, with smaller portions served as side dishes from ¥800 to ¥1,200, meaning that diners can sample a range of flavours without breaking the bank. Mourad and Emmanuel’s Algerian and French heritage make them natural authorities on a wide variety of styles and tastes.

The interior is striking, with a large Aztec-inspired fixture dominating one wall, with the trademark high bar stools providing ample seating at the bar. The free-standing tables have been largely replaced with comfortable bench seating along the wall, and the result is an atmosphere more conducive to eating and relaxing. In addition, the floors and tables have been replaced. The interior is, as one would expect, eclectic, and mixes styles in a subtle yet impressive way.
One of the best things about Tierra Nasca is, Mourad tells me, the regulars. They are, he says, “like a family”, and the atmosphere they bring to the place makes it a warm, cozy destination, no matter how many times you’ve been there. There is a mix of people from all over the world, so no matter where you come from, or what language you speak, there is a good chance you will find some kindred spirits there.

Tierra Nasca also provides a language exchange service, and can refer you to teachers from all over the globe, representing whatever language you wish to learn. It is, at once, a referral service and a great place to practise.

Bistrot café de Nasca
B1, 2-13-13 Yamamoto-dori,
Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi
Tel: 078-271-8633
Homepage: http://tierra-nasca.ignis.tv
Open: Sunday to Thursday 6pm to 3 am, Fridays and Saturdays 6pm to 5am
Nearest train station: Sannomiya
Tel: 06-6374-9994

Text: Euan Mckirdy • Photos: Jatin Banker


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