*Found in Former Kyoto Cafes
cafe de Naiki occupies a stylish off-white cement building on 堺町Sakaimachi, one street south of the south side of Gosho. The owner, a former photographer, started the café because he wanted to be with his pet toy poodle, でんかDenka, 24-7. His works are displayed throughout the café. People who often walk their dogs around Gosho are welcome to stop by for a meal or coffee.
The interior is just as stylish with a black-and-white base and the occasional splash of color (top right, center right and center left pictures). Next to the kitchen is Denka’s “room”…it’s not strange to hear the owner murmur every so often to his beloved dog.
The owner learned to make the food served at cafe de Naiki from his host mother in Italy when he was on location; the sweets and gelato are also homemade.
I went for lunch in early June; I ordered ポルチーニのリゾットporcini risotto, ￥750 (bottom left picture). Although I like my rice a little harder, it was still very tasty. I had room for dessert afterward, so I ordered ローズヒップとハイビスカスコッタrosehip & hibiscus panna cotta, ￥600, and ホットカフェラテhot caffè latte, ￥400. The panna cotta was refreshing. Although caffè latte doesn’t seem like the best drink to have with it, I got the latte so that I could enjoy my interior magazine after the meal. ☺
Denka, had to stay behind the gate the entire time that I was there because his owner was too busy manning the café alone (I think that it’s always like this, though). Denka was not happy and couldn’t be consoled by the friendly customers who came up to say hi (me being one). The owner hearing his pet dog’s unhappiness at being pent-up kept saying, “Sorry, please wait a bit more, okay?” ☺
There was a group with a very messy baby sitting behind me, which I discovered upon their departure and when the owner became irritated at the mess that they had left (I guess that he hardly has children come in)…I’ve never heard anyone in the service industry complain like that, so I was kind of amused. He asked each table for their cooperation while he used the vacuum cleaner. I guess I could understand his irritation being a neat freak myself.☺
Feeling that he could use some help, when I ordered my dessert and drink, I returned the menu while telling him my order so that he wouldn’t have to stop mid-cooking. It was an interesting experience; I think that I’ll go again sometime.
Update: I didn’t go back to cafe de Naiki until almost two years later, with Mason who was interested in checking it out after we discovered 月と六ペンスTsukitorokupensu to be closed. From the outside there was no noticeable change since the last time I came. The interior was pretty much the same except for different pictures adorning the wall and more books for the reading pleasure of customers. We were the only customers upon arrival, so we took the seat furthest back where we would have more privacy since Mason had come with the intention of reading and I as well had some things on which to catch up.
We took some time to get through the menu but I finally decided on ハイビスカスのジュレhibiscus gelée), ￥580, and ハニージンジャーミルクティーhoney ginger milk tea, ￥500, ￥100 off with dessert while Mason got the ドルチェセットdolce set, ￥800) of ハイビスカスのトライフルhibiscus trifle and コーヒーcoffee (top left picture).
Each time I’ve been here, I’ve had something hibiscus jelly but I just like how light and refreshing of a dessert it is. With honey and ginger in the name, I couldn’t resist getting the milk tea; I recommend putting sugar in it which almost makes it a dessert in itself. Mason seemed satisfied with her trifle which was similar to what I had (except of course for the cake, fruits and ice cream that it contained) but she didn’t like her coffee so much due to the excess coffee grinds in her cup.
Denka seemed to be in a better mood than when I first came and was let out of her room except when another customer came with her dog; she even came up to us and was shyly friendly. When she got bored, she would stare out the glass door (top middle picture, so cute!).
We were able to spend a quiet but productive few hours, a café visit well-spent.