*Found in Former Kyoto Cafes
Opened last fall in a machiya which used to be サラサSarasa mange, Coffee & Pancake SARASA is the newest addition to the さらさSarasa chain which started out as a renovated machiya café and now consists of six establishments, including a bakery. I first noticed this machiya café with modern touches (see bottom left picture for the exterior) when walking on 押小路通Oshikoji Street this past spring; the word, “pancake” is very enticing to me, so I made it a point to remember to go sometime. When I met Halka in mid-May, we thought of going there for dinner but got lost and decided to go another time. The time had come this past weekend when I met Halka for the last time in a while before she moves to Tokyo next week. It still took awhile to get there even with the address and searching with Halka’s smartphone in the rain but we finally made it.
I was hoping to sit at the table with comfy chairs and a small couch at the front to our left when entering but we were directed to the area in the back to my disappointment. Not wanting to give up so easily, I asked if the table at which I was hoping to sit was available but I was refused without a reason.😢
We decided on a plain table in the back against the wall near the exit to the restrooms (bottom middle picture for the area in which we sat); like many machiyas, the restrooms can be found outside (middle left picture). I had a view of the rest of the spacious first floor (there seemed to be a second floor as well) from my chair (top right picture).
The café has a Calpis menu. Calpis is a Japanese noncarbonated drink with a milky appearance (it contains nonfat dry milk and lactic acid) and a tangy taste, similar to a yogurt drink. Halka ordered the “Devil” (top left picture) and the ホワイトベリーパンケーキwhite berry pancakes,￥800, topped with strawberries, the café’s homemade berry sauce and condensed milk (middle right picture). I ordered the “Cupid”, made from Calpis, Coke and lemon (right bottom picture) and the フレンチパンケーキFrench pancakes, ￥800, made in the image of French toast and comes with maple syrup, caramel sauce and whipped cream but I asked for it without whipped cream (center picture).
The Calpis was delicious and quenched my thirst just fine; I’d have it again♥. In the case that it isn’t obvious in the picture, my French pancakes were thin and layered like a mille-feuille de crêpe and had the texture of crêpe…not the thick ones I was used to having in the States or the dense and sweet Japanese hotcake. I ate it just with the caramel sauce. For those who crave a less-filling but delicious crêpe-like experience, this would be the place to get it.☺
Update: Unfortunately, before I could go back to get a second chance at that seat or another pancake experience, Sarasa Oshikoji closed its doors on October 25, 2014. I’m quite surprised since it was always bustling with customers, even lined up to get in.😲