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120 cm parfaits and toruko rice in central Nagasaki
You'll find Cafe Olympic in the heart of the Hamano-Machi covered shopping arcade in central Nagasaki.
You can know that you're somewhere oddball when you're greeted by a shady looking statue of a chef wearing wrap-round shades and then you notice that one of the plastic parfait models in the display cabinet is sporting a pair of boobs. Welcome to Nagasaki's Cafe Olympic - specialist in parfaits and Nagasaki "comfort food" toruko rice.
Olympic Cafe is on the second floor. As you walk up the tight stairway to the main entrance you're bombarded with photos and newspaper cuttings displaying celebs from Japan and overseas come to challenge themselves against the 120 cm parfaits that have made Olympic Cafe something of the blog / social media hit.
Inside, seating is mostly at booths. It's comfortable if a little tight on space. Limited window seating looks over the arcade floor below. Anyway, you don't come to Cafe Olympic to enjoy the ambience. You come here for parfaits and toruko rice. Nothing more.
A plate of standard toruko rice (pilaf rice, tonkatsu, spaghetti) comes in at around 900 yen. The dish is as filling as it sounds, so be careful with your savoury dishes here if your main goal is to tackle the parfaits.
And what parfaits! I was tackling mine solo and after a heavy plate of toruko rice could only opt for something in the 35 - 40 cm range which came in at around 800 yen. The parfaits at Cafe Olympic really do reach up to 120 cm. They are absolute monstrosities - the kind of thing word (and images) of which you hope never reaches people who have to struggle to eat every day. This is indulgence that reaches new lows of class but, to be honest, it does look kind of fun. At the time of visiting some kind of school sports team was in residence and having a bash at the 120 cm jobs. They could barely contain their excited as they shared out the various parfait parts. Yes, at this kind of length, consumption has to be a group effort. Once you get into the 100 cm zone you're looking at around 5,000 yen for a parfait.
It doesn't all have to be oversized at Cafe Olympic though, there are a range of parfaits and desserts that come in at more understated sizes. In fact, the menus here are entertainment in themselves as you check images of all the weird and wonderful (and wonderfully named) creations.
Staff at Cafe Olympic are friendly and dealt with our persistent questions about what was what on the menu. With the school team in residence things were a bit noisy. To be honest, I looks like Cafe Olympic, given its novelty factor, is always going to carry the risk of having over-excited parties come for the larger parfaits.
Overall, Cafe Olympic is one of the more unique dining experiences you'll likely have in Nagasaki, neigh all of Japan. For that, it's worth a look.
Hours: 11:30 - 21:30