On 堺町通Sakaimachi Street diagonally across to the popular pâtisserie, PATISSERIE AU GRENIER D’OR, is its salon de thé, SALON DE THÉ AU GRENIER D’OR.
This salon de thé occupies an 80-year-old machiya that has been renovated into an elegant mix of Japanese and Western style. Chef Kinzo Nishihara, who worked in a three-star restaurant in Lyon, France, opened PATISSERIE AU GRENIER D’OR in 2001. His son, Hirokatsu Nishihara, is in charge of the salon. The assiette à dessert course (four sweets and drink) at ￥2000 is rare for the Kansai area.
The salon’s cakes are made at the pâtisserie before being brought here.
This area can be used as a waiting room or another dining area when there’s a long wait at the salon, which is often the case on a weekend.
the dining area…there’s another one in the back accessible by a narrow corridor, that’s where the restrooms are.
One may buy the sweets, truly works of art, on display to take home or have them in the salon de thé with drinks…of course I did the latter (after stopping at the patisserie to pick up some tarts).
Unfortunately by the time I got there in the evening (the same day that I went to Café 富月Fugetsu), many of the sweets had been sold, so I picked the one that I thought was the prettiest at the time, the baba au passion, ￥480, topped with rosemary cream, which I had with a single espresso, ￥420.
When I order the baba, I was told that the rosemary’s distinct flavor didn’t appeal to everyone but I actually liked it. It was my first time having baba and although I don’t like my cakes being saturated in liquid most of the time, the passion concoction was very good.
FYI: From the last week of June until the second week of July this year, the pâtissserie and salon de thé will be closed for summer break. According to my co-worker whose mother-in-law is a regular customer there, that’s when some of their workers go to France to learn more tricks of the trade.
Update: In late May of the following year, Maki and I decided to go to AU GRENIER D’OR for dessert and tea after lunch at Miisuk. There was a long line as expected but because we were chatting and had seats while waiting, it didn’t seem that long.
We both got the プティポ・ド・フロマージュpetit pot de fromage, ￥450; the cup was capped with white chocolate and a raspberry and filled with a rich and smooth cheese concoction…while Maki got Assam tea, I got アイスローズティーaisu roozu tii (iced rose tea), ￥750.
(FYI: One can buy the rose jam used to make the tea near the entrance of the café.)
We had a very lovely conversation thanks to our lovely refreshments. ☺ I also noticed that Hirokatsu Nishihara (whose picture I’ve come across in connection with the café) was working in the open kitchen…very nice.
Update: Over seven months later, Maki and I headed to SALON DE THÉ AU GRENIER D’OR after lunch at ベトナム料理コムゴンCom Ngom Kyoto because we thought there was a possibility of it being open during the Japanese New Year holiday…and we were right. Not only that, there were definitely seats for us (we ended up sitting where we did last time).
After checking out all the cakes in the display case, Maki ordered the ピラミッドpyramide, ￥500, while I ordered タルトオムースショコラtarte au mousse chocolat, ￥490…we both had ホットアッサムティーhot Assam tea which came in a pot that allowed us to have two cups each.
Maki had the pyramide, a cake shaped like a pyramid with a base of chocolate cake with a layer of chocolate mousse on top and coated in chocolate and powdered chocolate, before. She let me have a piece: I found it hard getting my fork through the chocolate coating without ruining the shape of the cake but other than that I found it to be as good as expected of the masterpiece for which the pâtisserie is known. I actually liked my mousse au chocolat, a cake with a chocolate cookie base with a layer of chocolate mousse topped with a fudgey frosting that reminded me of frosting on good American Devils’s food cake, better, though.
We ended up staying a while, especially because it wasn’t so busy that day. Probably the owner, Kinzo Nishimura’s, wife rang us up; I thought so because she had a welcoming and casual air of someone who was a somebody there…she was so sweet and friendly (unlike how certain shop staff get so frazzled when there’s a foreigner in the shop) and even asked where I was from when she heard us speaking in English. I look forward to going there again. ☺