One day in mid-April, I decided to go to 喫茶六花Kissa ROKKA after work. It was a nice walk, in the middle of 花見hanami (cherry blossom-viewing) season and there were tons of people as usual here in Kyoto. I was able to find the café without a problem on 東大路通Higashioji Street from 三条通Sanjo Street. I had seen a picture of the exterior in my book, so I knew to look for a sophisticated black and white exterior with a purple and white awning (the cute sign outside, drawn by the second daughter of the owner, artist Izumi Murakami).
Kissa ROKKA used to be in the 芳川商店街Yoshikawa Shopping Street in 東山Higashiyama according to my November 2006 Hanako WEST but it moved to its current location in November 2009. A woman and her three daughters run the café owned by her husband…the day that I went it was just her and one of the daughters.
Homemade cakes, pies, etc. line the counter add to the already-homey atmosphere.
The customers are free to the reading material or to look at the 雑貨zakka (Izumi-san’s work is available for purchase) near the entrance to the café.
comfy velvet-upholstered chair and bench seating (the artwork displayed in the café is by Izumi-san as well)
The plants from the front of the former location are now in the garden (that’s the door to the restroom near the door to the garden).
For the キッシュランチkisshu ranchi (quiche lunch), I chose 黒豆とベーコンのキッシュkuro mame to behkon no kisshu (black bean & bacon quiche), ￥1200, which came with salad, bread and preserved plums and a drink.
While I was there, Laurel called to see if I wanted to meet since she was in town, so I had her come to ROKKA. When she arrived, she got the シフォンケーキchiffon cake, ￥350.
After my meal I had the apple crumble cake, ￥500.
I chose ホットコーヒーhotto koohii (hot coffee) as my drink to have with my cake and which came in the café’s original cup and saucer designed by Izumi-san.
The café prides itself in home-cooked food made from freshly picked vegetables; my meal was light and didn’t make me feel guilty for having indulged in it (any choice would have been healthy). The apple crumble cake was authentic in looks and taste; I definitely recommend it. Laurel let me have a bit of her chiffon cake: fluffy and moist, good even if you’re too full to eat anymore (that was me☺).
Kissa ROKKA is an ideal place to leisurely spend time with a good friend; I foresee it to also be a good place to relax alone as well. I plan to make it up sometime and have some of the French toast that I saw in 京都とっておきのカフェKyoto Totte-Oki no Café.
Update: I went back to Kissa ROKKA last weekend, half a year after I had first gone, after work to pass the time until I had to meet some friends…there seemed to be no major changes to the place.
I took no time in ordering フレンチトーストFrench toast, ￥600.
I had a ホットカフェオーレhot café au lait, ￥550, as well.
The French toast didn’t disappoint in taste, or presentation; no wonder that it was recommended. And the café au lait was just perfect, not too milky at all as some places can get. Despite the discussion of college students arguing about a French class assignment and a group of chatty girls, I had a very peaceful read about Kyoto that was as the café while enjoying my yummy order…a perfect passing of time for me.☺
Update: Over two years and four months later, I finally made it back to ROKKA for lunch after getting off work. When I arrived, there were no customers and one of the daughters were on hand. I asked for permission to take pictures of the café to which she obliged…not soon after I sat down, her mother came into the kitchen through some private entrance that one can’t see from the dining area and I heard their conversation going something like, “What did she ask?” “She asked if she could take pictures and I said she may.” I was discrete about picture-taking just in case they were really bothered about it which can be the case in Kyoto.
I sat at the second table closest to the counter.
It seemed that the daughter did most of the work and the mother would step in when it got busy. At one point the daughter left to go pick up her child who she brought back but this is all based on what I heard because I couldn’t see from where I was sitting. Whether they ever got annoyed at me for my picture-taking (because my camera makes an annoyingly loud sound when I take pictures), they were very sweet to me nonetheless.
The place didn’t seem to have changed much, probably just different pictures by the second daughter on the wall and a green butterfly hanging from the ceiling where there used to be a ballerina one when I first went.
I ordered the 日替わりランチ：鶏とじゃが芋のレモンクリームソース・人参ラッペ・サラダ・野菜のカレースープ・ごはんhigawari ranchi: tori to jagaimo no remon-kuriimu sohsu, ninjin rappe, sarada yasai no kareh suupu (daily lunch: chicken & potato in lemon-cream sauce, carrot rappé, salad, vegetable curry soup and rice), ￥1150 with coffee. The salad was dressed with a light tart dressing that reminds me of that for Lyonnaise salads. The carrots were a beautiful red color and tasty, too. Although I didn’t think the soup went well with the Western-style meal, it was interesting with a flavor of Japanese curry. Unlike the lemon cream-based food I’ve had, the lemon flavor was quite strong making such a creamy dish light and easy on the stomach.
Which is why I indulged in some アップルパイapple pie, ￥450, with my after-meal coffee in the charming cup that comes with an equally charming saucer of which I’ve never forgotten…the apple pie was filled with thinly-sliced tart apples, raisins and walnuts and the crust was buttery and crispy, an apple pie of which many an apple-pie lover may approve. With some reads on Kyoto and those cushy velvet chairs, I had quite the cozy time before heading out…I’ll be craving to swing by again soon.
Update: Over a year and a half later, I decided to spend a day in Higashiyama going to cafes. First, I went to mement mori but I didn’t really have any expectation of getting a seat considering that it was lunchtime (yeah, even on a weekday), and lo and behold, I was right (they didn’t even offer to call me in the case a seat opened)…I was still a bit disappointed as well as peeved since the few times that I’ve made it there, I’ve been turned away and it’s always a long walk over.
ANYWAY, I walked to Kissa ROKKA and, bless them, there were a couple of seats open. It had started raining while I was on my way there but I managed to not get too wet from the drizzle. The only seats available were along the wall close to the entrance, an area where I had yet to sit. As soon as I sat on the green velvet-cushioned booth seat in the middle, my wet body started to warm up from the relief of finally sitting, and especially in a café that I get a craving to go back to every so often.
The daughter seemed to be managing the place alone. After much deliberation, I ordered the 手作りグリーントマトジャムのバゲットトーストtedzukuri (homemade) green-tomato jam baguette toast, ￥580, and a coffee (because that’s the only way that I can get that cute original cup☺ but I like the dark-roast coffee here anyway). When the daughter finally brought my toast, I couldn’t help gasping, because the color of the jam matched the velvet cushioning. The jam was sweet and tart and the perfectly toasted baguette slices were made better by it. I made sure to revel in my toast as long as possible.
To my surprise, despite the lack of access to Wi-Fi that I’d had for most of the day, Melissa was able to find me from the clues that I left in my LINE messages when I did have access. However, before that an elderly couple arrived and sat in the two-seater table next to me. The wife looked around before calling someone: turns out that she called the owner (the mother) to report (quite loudly since the other customers mostly being alone were quiet) that she was there. From what I could tell from the customer’s side of the conversation, the owner was off and elsewhere today. When the daughter arrived at the table with water, the wife customer announced that she was a friend at which the daughter politely replied although it seemed that she didn’t know who this friend of her mother’s was. I watched the scene from the corner of my eye quite amusedly. On my other side, two guys who I assumed were Japanese arrived just before Melissa did. I couldn’t help overhearing their conversation and I noticed that one of them had a slight accent to his Japanese and pronounced English words quite well; I assumed that he was a non-Japanese. When Melissa arrived, I think that he was also surprised to realize that a fellow foreigner(?) was in the same environment. Thus is the life of an Asian non-Japanese.☺ Anyway, the moral of the story is that it was another satisfying visit to Kissa ROKKA.