Established in 2009, Café Bastille is the newer establishment of the Bastille chain located on 柳馬場通Yanaginobanba Street north of 三条通Sanjo Street. While osteria Bastille is a mix of French and Italian cuisine, Café Bastille sticks more to French. Their concept is “a café where one can relax all day (there is even a shelf of reading material, my opinion of an invitation to stay a while☺), eating what he wants when he wants”, quite like many a café in Paris.
I finally went with Laurel in mid-May to check the café out after passing it numerous times before.
The exterior is of a neutral color base set off by black, quite chic to the eye.
the dessert display at the front of the café
The collaboration of VICE＋VERSA＋FLOWERS’s flowers and Café Bastille’s sweets provides for a lovely gift.
the counter seating
the area in the back next to which we sat (I chose the only chaise lounge-seating offered in the café)
Although I prefer my French toast to be less saturated, it was pretty good (there’s a reason that I can’t resist ordering French toast). The waiting staff was really nice and sometimes for me that makes all the difference.☺ And according to their concept, I found it to really be a place where one can relax all day doing what he wants without the fear of being shooed out at over-staying. The people around us looked like they were there to stay, that’s how at home that they were but can you blame them when the leather seats are so comfortable? I’ll be back again to try more than dessert.
Update: Almost four months later, I went here for lunch yesterday before going into work. The always-friendly staff let me choose my seat and I went right over to the table that Laurel and I had shared when we first went.
After going through the déjeuner for the day, I chose the バゲットサンドランチbaguette sandwich lunch of 牛ミンチとフレンチフライのバゲットサンドgyuu-minchi to furenchi furai no bagetto sando (hamburger & French fry baguette sandwich), ￥980, which came with soup (とうもろこしの冷製ポータジュtoumorokoshi no reisei pootaju (cold corn potage)) and drink (I ordered アイスコーヒーaisu koohii (iced coffee)).
Considering the size of this sandwich, plus soup and drink for that price, this is definitely a deal for Japan. I kept forcing myself to eat until I was ready to burst and I still had 1/3 left when I gave up (not to mention half of my fries). How did it taste? Grilled with various spices mixed in, this is one of the most flavorful hamburgers that I’ve had, just delicious (salivating just thinking about it) and the baguette which was the perfect combination of crusty and chewy was the best partner for it…actually, the baguettes are sent unbaked from France and baked to perfection to here. I’m kicking myself for not having them wrap it up so that I could finish it at home. Hope that they have it again when I decide to go next.
Update: A month later, I went back to Café Bastille craving the sandwich that I had before and to my luck, they were serving it! After going through the menu, I decided that I still wanted it and took no time in ordering the same thing as last time. The soup was warm this time and the sandwich was just as good and just as filling as before but I managed to finish it this time (I couldn’t finish the fries, though). The last time that I went, I was given a service ticket for a free dessert with lunch, so I made sure to use it this time. I chose blanc-manger over the tarte aux poires and gâteau chocolat because I predicted that I’d be able to only finish that (and I was right).
It came with mango ice cream. Definitely a dessert for adults, one can taste alcohol in it. A good choice after a filling meal.
Update: After eight months of being away, I went back to Café Bastille hoping to have the hamburger sandwich that I’ve come to crave…actually I went a week earlier to see the place was closed due to the staff furthering their studies in France (ooh-la-la!). This time, they were serving a sandwich with Parma ham and cheese, a combination that I like a lot and which I would have gotten if I hadn’t come with the intention of having a particular sandwich. Fully prepared for my request to be shot down, I asked about the hamburger sandwich at which the waitress told me to wait a moment while she disappeared into the kitchen; to my surprise she came back and said that they’d prepare it for me! I’m going to have to test this “ask and you shall receive” method more often when I go to cafes! ☺
I had an iced tea with the sandwich and soup which was also the same as usual. The sandwich was as yummy as I remembered it and like before I got full halfway, so I had them pack up what I couldn’t finish which they gladly did…now I remember that the last time I asked them if I could have whatever I couldn’t finish of the sandwich wrapped to take home and I was told that it was possible, that’s why I asked them to pack it up for me. Café Bastille is definitely on the list of cafes of which I plan to be a jouren.
Update: Almost a month later, Maki and I met up at the 大垣書店四条店Shijo Ogaki Shoten to decide where to have dinner…we eventually decided to go to Café Bastille because Maki has never been there and I’ve never been there for dinner.
We were the first to arrive and I suggested sitting at my usual table. After going through the menu, we decided to share the 若鶏とベーコンのバゲットサンドwakadori to beekon no bagetto sando (sandwich poulet, or chicken & bacon baguette sandwich), ￥900,
and the 牛ハラミステーキ じゃがいもフリット添えgyuu-harami steeki jagaimo furitto-zoe (beef skirt steak w/fries), ￥1680.
I suggested a baguette sandwich because I was craving the baguette and it didn’t disappoint. I had expected the steak to be similar to what I’ve had at Le Bouchon and was a bit surprised by how it was presented but it was still delicious and more satisfying in size than I had thought.
For dessert I had the いちごパーフェichigo paafe (strawberry parfait), available for a limited time, with アイスコーヒーaisu koohii (café glacé, or ice coffee), ￥350 with a dessert.
My parfait was a layer of blanc-manger under a layer of strawberry mousse topped with gelée, red berries (strawberries and raspberries) and vanilla ice cream…since I was pretty full after the meal, it was the perfect dessert, very easy to eat, plus you can’t go wrong with strawberry. ☺
Update: Over eight months after I went last, I went to Café Bastille after discovering Agréable was closed (and for the next two days as well!) due to all their cakes selling out. I was pretty disappointed since I had walked all the way from 二条駅Nijo Station to 高倉夷川Takakura Ebisugawa, so I arrived hot and irritated, to practically a full place. However, there was counter seating; I sat at the end of the counter closest to the kitchen. Man, are the tall chairs at the counter comfortable; I wanted to sit there dangling my legs forever!☺ Actually, all the seats are made of the same material, so any seat would make for a pleasant stay.
My intention had been to have a sandwich lunch since it had been a while but it didn’t come with fries this day, so I got the 日替りhigawari, or plat de jour, 若鶏のソーテプロヴァンス風wakadori no sohte Purovansu-fuu (chicken sauté, Provence-style), ￥930, which did (salad and bread also included). This meal more than made up for my earlier disappointment. The salad was dressed with a concoction so yummy that I also dipped my fries in it. The fries were crispy, just like I prefer them, and the chicken was perfectly grilled and spiced. The breads, a piece of focaccia and a small roll, were chewy and subtly spiced; they were delicious even alone.
If I wasn’t so full, I would have had the クラシックショコラclassic chocolat…next time, for the time being, work called…
Update: Almost five months since the last time I wrote, I had lunch at Café Bastille before heading in to work. I chose a seat at the counter closest to the front…I managed to make it there in between lunch rushes, that’s why I was able to take a picture of the back.
I had the baguette sandwich lunch of 田舎お肉のパテのバゲットサンドランチinaka o-niku no pate no bagetto sando lanchi (pâté de campagne baguette sandwich lunch) with かぼちゃとベーコンの冷静スープkabocha to behkon no reisei suupu (cold pumpkin & bacon soup) and アイスティーiced tea…of course I left satisfied with the meal.☺
Update: Half a year later, I made it into the city later than I’d wanted but still wanted to beat the lunch rush at Cafe Bastille, so I took the subway there, something I rarely do. When I arrived, there were enough seats open for me take the one that I like to call one of my usual seats on one of the chaises. As parties of two or more came one after another, however, I switched to the counter seat closest to the entrance before my order arrived.
I ordered the baguette sandwich lunch of ロースハムとゴーダチーズのバゲットサンドroast-ham & Gouda-cheese baguette sandwich which came with 近江カブラのポータジュOhmi kabura no potahju (Omi turnip potage)…a simple but substantial and delicious sandwich that satisfied my Bastille baguette sandwich craving.
I asked to have my coffee after the meal so that I could have it with a クラシックショコラclassique chocolat, ￥390. The chocolate was dense and moist, an excellent gâteau au chocolat that went well with my coffee.
There was only one cook and two hall staff on hand and despite a full house, they managed the situation very well and were still very courteous (and the customers were quite understanding as well). When I left, the young male hall staff who served me thanked me always for coming although I think this was the first time I saw him. Anyway, I’ll definitely be back because their lunches are such a good deal and I can always relax there, no matter how busy they get.