A gem on the high street

Imagine Cafe can be found on Harborne High Street in Harborne in Birmingham U.K.. It is a Japanese restaurant and something of a rarity run by local people. As an article in the Birmingham Post on 3rd February 2007 pointed out it is extremely difficult for individual enterprises to continue on the high street given the prohibitive rates charged by the City Council. Long established and traditional businesses have either gone, or are struggling to survive.
Go to high streets in towns and cities up and down the country and you’ll find the same chain stores selling the same merchandise. To find a local business selling something different can be a pleasant and exciting experience. This used to be the case in central Brum. I used to spend time in Vincent’s in Needless Alley browsing through racks of recordings, many rare and unusual, while a few doors away my wife found a large stock of needle craft materials. While the Bullring Shopping Centre can be proclaimed as a major success for drawing shoppers internationally it does not have local produce apparent. Thankfully the Farmers’ Markets still appear in New Street and in Kings Norton.
Some progressive local authorities recognise the importance of keeping local concerns thriving and apply differential charges for this purpose. Birmingham City Council’s Tory/Lib-Dem alliance describe themselves as such, but when the idea was run past the leader, Mike Whitby, he just said he would give it some thought. Better be quick Mike before things disappear for good!


Imagine Cafe is owned by Kate and Masabaru Egawu at 129 High Street, Harborne. It is open from Wednesday to Saturday each week between 7.00 and 10.00 p.m. (last orders 9.00 p.m.) Kate is the daughter of Sir David and Linda Winkley, who kindly sent me information about the restaurant. It offers authentic Japanese cuisine prepared by a Japanese chef. Japanese food is well-known for being very healthy protecting against heart disease. Linda recommends some delicious dishes such as the Japanese prawn bowl, Teriyaki salmon, tempura, garlic rice, special noodle dishes and sushi all at very reasonable prices.
Imagine Cafe is unique in Birmingham and tends to be very busy on Friday and Saturday evenings, so be prepared to book.on 0121-427 3471.

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