* ぴちぴちpichi-pichi = energetic; 金魚kingyo = goldfish
If asked about a location for cute cafés, around the JR Sagano Line Hanazono Station area would not be my first answer. To me, this area is full of private housing and, with several schools nearby, swarming with high school and college students coming and going; the very few eating establishments that I’ve noticed are usually chain restaurants or older establishments frequented by the locals.
I found ぴちぴち金魚Pichi-Pichi Kingyo in 京都とっておきのカフェKyoto Totte-Oki no Café and decided to try it one day in mid-April when I was in the mood to go to a café, just not in the mood to go too far. The map showed the café to be behind Hanazono Station, so I expected to come upon in no time. However, I ended up walking to the end of that street without so much as finding a ぴちpichi on any sign. Figuring that I had gone too far, I walked back to the station and from the front, I called the café. A very gentle yet friendly male voice picked up; I asked about the location and I was led to a building that looked just like a house. No wonder I missed it the first time, it blended in with all the other houses. But I must have been really out of it because it obviously has a brighter, more modern exterior than the houses surrounding it, and a somewhat obvious sign standing out front.
Happy that I had finally found it, I walked in and the owner whom I had just talked to on the phone asked me to choose any seat on the second floor; after taking off my shoes, I proceeded up.
A 40-year-old house that had been renovated into a café, it was no surprise that it felt just like dining and relaxing in one’s own home.
bookshelves = “relax for as long as you like”
I ended up settling at a table near the verandah.
I was curious about the 緑のオムライスmidori no omuraisu (green omurice), ￥800, which came with a small salad, so I got it expecting it to be all green but the only green part was the rice which was mixed with spinach. Fluffy egg, vivid colors and the egg and rice accentuated by the flavor of tangy sauce makes for an omurice that I can recommend.
Since I had brought a lot to keep me busy, I ordered a ガトーショコラgatoo shokora (gâteau au chocolat), ￥480, which came with ice cream and カプチーノkapuchiino (hot cappuccino), ￥400, to keep my mouth entertained while concentrating.
In early July I suggested ぴちぴち金魚Pichi-Pichi Kingyo when Kim-Chi and I were out and the restaurant at which we had intended to dine turned out to be closed.
After debating for a while, we both decided to get the Set. A, ￥1200, which came with salad, 自家製フォカッチャjikasei fokaccha (homemade focaccia)and pasta. Kim-Chi ordered the とりレバーのクリームtori lebaa no kuriimu (chicken-liver cream) spaghetti with mushrooms and broccoli mixed and topped generously with chicken liver while I chose the たっぷりキノコとゴルゴンゾーラのパスタtappuri kinoko to gorugonzoora no pasuta (gorgonzola spaghetti full of mushrooms).
We both enjoyed our pastas. The handmade whole wheat noodles were chewy, a quality that I like in noodles, and although my spaghetti’s gorgonzola sauce was a little more salty than I would have liked, it was delicious…I would be tempted to order it again.
Update: Two years later, I went back to Pichi-pichi Kingyo with Mason after our plans to dine at 森林食堂shinrin syokudo was shot (there was no announcement online that they were closed due to a reservation of the café); I had wanted to go back for some time anyway. We were offered a seat on the second floor where there was a couple who left not too long after we got settled; we ended up choosing the two-seater next to the verandah, the same seat where I sat both the times I came before. Which allowed for the owner to remember me.☺
That table in the middle wasn’t there the last time that I came; business must be going well.☺
a better view of the bookshelf
Mason ordered the フレッシュトマトとモッツァレラチーズのパスタfuresshu tomato to mottsarera chiizu no pasuta (fresh tomato & mozzarella cheese spaghetti), ￥1000,
while I got the アボカドクリームavocado cream one, ￥1050.
The amount of spaghetti isn’t the most that can be had in Japan but it was satisfying enough (in flavor, too) to allow me to have a bit of dessert…I ordered a ハーフチーズケーキhalf-cheesecake, ￥300, which came decorated with a goldfish in chocolate sauce.
Since I couldn’t take pictures of the first floor the last two times due to there always being customers around, this time when the first floor cleared, the owner let me know so that I could finally take a couple of pictures.
the counter seating on the first floor
If it had been a full house, this table would have been used.
After paying and while Mason was in the restroom, I noticed the ぐりとぐら book next to the register…I mentioned to the owner that I’ve always wanted to know what the story was about and he was kind enough to brief me on the story. I left planning to come back again sooner than I had this time.