*found in Former Kyoto Cafes
Starting from about six years ago, I would notice this concrete building, Tree’s Bldg., housing a bunch of little shops while going along 北山通Kitayama Street. And a butterfly motif on a window on the second floor would always catch my eye, because I love butterfly motifs. At the time I didn’t know that it belonged to an awesome Russian café but in early May when I went, the mystery was solved.
The name of the café comes from the Russian word for “butterfly”…definitely my kind of place!☺ The owner opened this café in February 2003 so that people can enjoy home-cooked Russian food that she was able to experience in her travels to Russia during her student years; beautiful Russian-style decor add to the charm of the café.
I took a seat at the table that looks on to the terrace (where pets are also welcome) (second picture from the top right) near the counter seating, seen from the entrance (top middle picture); near the entrance are wares for sale (middle left picture). The interior was mainly white and clean with elegant comfortable chairs that make you want to stay put for a long time!
After much debate, I decided that I was more in the mood for ビーフストロガノフbeef stroganoff, ￥950 (second picture from the bottom left). And I had no regrets, especially because it turned out to be a very satisfying meal with the stroganoff being savory and going well with the delicious bread. After seeing the スイールニキsyrniki, ￥450, in three of my Kyoto books, I would be a fool to not order it; fried cakes of cottage cheese (and homemade at that) and raisins with jam and fresh cream, it’s every bit as yummy as it sounds! I also got ロシアンティー(ジャム付)Russian tea with jam, ￥600; it was ￥500 because I got the dessert and drink set (bottom right picture). The jam is homemade and made from strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, a berry lover’s dream. It added a bit of both sweetness and tartness to the tea and there were fruit to be enjoyed after the tea was gone.
Many of the customers were women, which is no surprise because the decor is the type of loveliness that women just eat up. However, the food would please anyone despite there gender and is filling and delicious. I regret not having gone back since my first visit but once the weather cools down and I can walk hours around the city, I’ll be trekking it back there!
Update: When I heard from Eriko-san that cafe babočka will be closing its doors June 29, 2014, I was shocked and sad to hear the news because I count it as one of the best cafes to which I’ve been in Kyoto. I risked being late to work by making it over to 北山Kitayama for lunch before heading into work (no worries, I even dropped by TOCOHA BAKERY briefly and made it back on time☺). I wanted to go before the weekend because I predicted the place being full as closing day neared in two days. Except for one female customer, everyone who dropped by while I was there seemed to be a regular dropping by one last time.
This time, I entered properly through the front entrance and sat at the two-seater next to the window with the cross that I found beautiful last time. When the owner brought me my water, I expressed my sadness at them closing…she said that she would continue posting to the café’s Facebook page about her travels to Russia upon which she would embark after the café closed.
I asked her what I should have for the last time there and she suggested the meal that they were known for, ロシアンセットRussian set, ￥1050, which consists of ピロシキpirozchki, ボルシチborscht (bottom left picture) and Russian tea which I decided to have with dessert, the syrniki I had last time. The owner also gave me a thank-you card from the café which came with a chocolate or a pin badge that I could choose (I chose chocolate)…for how the card looked on the other side and other pictures, see the Hitori Kyoto Facebook page.
Light and hearty, the borscht was delicious, just the soup for a warm day (in an air-conditioned room☺), and the pirozchki, crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside and stuffed with minced meat, 春雨harusame (thin noodles made from bean or potato starch), etc. was amazing…would become an addiction if I had known about it earlier. The syrniki was as delicious as I remembered it.
I told the owner about my blog and even gave her my card, so there’s a chance she’ll check it out sometime.
Although I wish I’d made more of an effort to make it back to cafe babočka more over the last two years since I’d first gone, I feel comforted that I could at least go one last time before the doors closed.☺