Formerly a tea house and inn, Café 富月Fugetsu is in the heart of 祇園Gion, off the busy 花見小路通Hanamikoji Street; the owner, a fourth-generation 舞子maiko/芸子geiko, started the machiya café about six years ago. In the evening the café becomes a home bar limited to only long-time regulars but until then it is open to the public for the easy enjoyment of Japanese sweets and tea that is often difficult to come by, especially because one needs courage to enter into traditional establishments that aren’t always welcome to first-time visitors.
the counter (where I sat when I went in mid-May of this year)
the seating behind me
a view through the rooms of the café
The sources of information that I have seen about Café 富月Fugetsu recommend the お豆腐の抹茶チーズケーキo-toufu no maccha chiizukeeki (tofu green tea cheesecake), ￥600; I ordered it to see what all the hype was about…the flavor of the café’s royal milk tea apparently changes from season to season, so I had to try the 桜ロイヤルミルクティーsakura roiyaru miruku tii (cherry blossom royal milk tea, ￥650, which came with complimentary 金平糖konpeito (tiny colored sugar candy with prickly exterior).
I have mentioned in an earlier entry that I’m not really a fan of green tea but this cheesecake by far is my favorite. Containing no dairy products, tofu is used to create the flavor of a no-bake cheesecake. The cream that comes with it is made of soy milk. Rich in a soft way and not overly sweet, I could have probably had another. The milk tea did not fail my expectation and when the tea was gone, I fished out the sweet pickled cherry blossoms which had sunk to the bottom of the glass as politely as possible (couldn’t let such deliciousness go to waste).
I enjoyed my goodies while writing and listening to the friendly banter of the workers between attending to the customers; whether they cared that I could hear what they had to say about local news and their personal lives, they didn’t show it considering how freely that they were talking. While I was there, two older female regulars came (one at a time) and sat where I did at the counter. The way that the owner (whom I assume is the owner by the way that the workers addressed each other) spoke to them and how refined that they were, I assumed that they were former geikos. The topic that struck my funny bone the most was about 猫ひろしNeko Hiroshi, a Japanese comedian who has recently traded in his Japanese citizenship for a Cambodian one so that he can run for Cambodia in the Olympics (sadly, he didn’t qualify to participate). Anyway, a friend of the owner said that in Wikipedia (most likely the Japanese version), under the people of Cambodia, Neko Hiroshi was his own category. I couldn’t find this piece of information when I searched but it’s funny anyway. ☺