In late July of this year David suggested going to the cafés that we’d been talking about going to for half a year…he and Kim-Chi had lunch first and then I met them in front of 平安神宮Heian Shrine; Laurel, still in the middle of packing, would join us later.
David had already gone to the cafes to which we wanted to go, so he led the way. The way would normally be short and pleasant had it not been such a typical Kyoto summer day. Hot and sweaty, we finally arrived at 菓子・茶房Kashi & Chabo cheka, a bit of a walk from 平安神社Heian Shrine, closer to the Kyoto Municipal Zoo; like the name insinutes, the cafe serves 菓子kashi (confectionery) and as a 茶房chabou, or teahouse, where one can have nice drinks with the sweets.
the front inside
the alluring display case of sweets
the kitchen where they make the delectable sweets
After choosing our sweets, we proceeded up to the second floor where we would have them with drinks.
the area by the stairs
Coffee and tea are brewed in that traditional tea ceremony teakettle.
the Japanese-style seating
We chose the big table with stool chairs that fold out from under the table (pretty cool!). Laurel managed to arrive to order and get them when we did.
Kim’s ホットカフェオレーhot café au lait, ￥450, with an orange jelly and シュークリームshuu kuriimu (cream puff)
David and I had the same order: アイスコーヒーiced coffee, ￥400, and the cheka tiramisu, ￥430.
I knew what I was going to order before going to cheka: I first heard of cheka when a Japanese magazine, an-an, did an article on Ikuta Toma introducing cafés and shops in Kyoto. The simple yet stylish interior and the beautiful display of the shop’s tiramisu, which looked more like a donut than a cake, and hot coffee made me vow to go there as soon as I could. And when I did, I would order exactly what was displayed in the article. However, the hot and humid Kyoto summer compelled me to get an iced coffee instead.
Laurel’s こーヒーフロートcoffee float, ￥550, and a 白桃hakutou (white peach) sweet
Everyone was impressed with their sweets and drinks. I definitely recommend cheka to anyone who wants to experience an amazingly unique tiramisu (mascarpone cheese mousse and coffee jelly on a pie crust) or sweets just as exquisite.
Update: Almost three years after the first time I went, I took Mason to cheka after our attempt to check out Ochi-kochi close by on my list was foiled (they had closed the place due to a reservation); I wanted her to try the tiramisu. When we arrived, however, I was disappointed to find only about two kinds of cake in the display case and simpler baked goods on top of the case…I guess it didn’t help that we were at a popular cafe after 4:00pm.
I decided to get the ふわふわチーズケーキfuwa-fuwa (fluffy) cheesecake, ￥410, and have アイス紅茶aisu kohcha (tea), ￥480, with it.
Since it had been quite a warm day and I was a bit sweaty upon arrival, the flavorful iced tea was just the drink to quench my thirst. Just as the name indicated, the cheesecake was fluffy and although it’s not my favorite type of cheesecake, it was quite delicious…I tried to make it last as long as possible but it was hard, I just kept going back for a forkful.
We sat at a table side by side by the window which looks out on the road outside…I pitied everyone that came after us because they were met with less of a selection than us.
Before we got our orders, we noticed a bee resting on the windowsill; Mason went to check out the reading materials hoping that it would be gone when she returned but, alas, it wouldn’t budge fast enough for me, so I called the staff in charge of the teahouse part to deal with the situation…she was like, “Oh, my, a bug…” and went away to come back just as calmly with a towel with which she wrapped the bee to let out downstairs….my hero! We had a nice relaxing stay after that.