サラサSarasa3, part of the さらさSarasa chain which started out as a renovated machiya cafe and now consists of six establishments, including a bakery, is a renovated machiya shop that used to sell tobacco on 三条商店街Sanjo Shopping Street. It’s a great place for people of all ages to hang out and enjoy great food (mostly Italian-based) and drinks (from coffee and tea to soft drinks and beer) and a charming and cozy atmosphere. For those who come alone, there are counter seats that give one a view right into the kitchen.
I first went to Sarasa3 with Ogawa-san and her daughter in late January 2010 when we decided to meet up for dinner. I hadn’t really seen Ogawa-san since I quit working in Kameoka in 2005 although we had managed to keep in touch through texting and 年賀状nengajou (New Year greeting postcards). When I told her that I was working close to her house in Kyoto (at the time), she quickly arranged a reservation for dinner at Sarasa3 (she’s a major foodie and knows a lot of great places to dine).
Since she was afraid of her daughter bothering the other customers, she reserved the outhouse for more privacy and plenty of room for her daughter to play when she got bored.
the view of the main part of the café from the outhouse (that’s the restroom to the left)
Besides dessert and drinks, we shared some dishes.
ゆでエビ、アボカド、半熟玉子のタルタルサラダyude-ebi, abokado, han-juku tamago no tarutaru sarada (boiled shrimp and avocado salad with half-boiled egg tartar sauce), ￥780
タコライスtako raisu (taco rice)
本日の気まぐれスコーン：アールグレー＆オレンジ(honjitsu no ki-magure sukoon: Aaru Guree & orenji) (today’s scone “on a whim”: Earl Grey & orange), ￥400
Everything tasted as good as it sounds; I was hooked!
Imai-sensei left with her husband (who took on a job there) and their family for three years in Brazil; I didn’t know that she had come back until I ran into her at the 亀岡光秀祭Kameoka Mitsuhide Matsuri (Kameoka Mitsuhide Festival) in May 2010. We exchanged information and finally met up for lunch in mid-November. She thought the JR 二条駅Nijo Station area would be a good location, so I suggested Sarasa3.
our view of the outhouse, garden and restroom area (with saloon doors) at our table next to the window
We both got the パスタAランチpasuta A ranchi (pasta A lunch) which came with サラダsarada (salad), 前菜２類zensai ni-rui (two appetizers), フォカッチャfokaccha (forcaccia),
本日のパスタhonjitsu no pasuta (today’s pasta, we chose from two options
柚子シャーベットyuzu shaabetto (yuzu sherbet) and drinks…I had アイス紅茶aisu koucha (iced tea) while Imai-sensei had ホットコーヒーhotto koohii (hot coffee).
All this for ￥1050 a head. Once again, I had no complaints.
After some café time in the city last week, I took Mason through the Sanjo Shopping Street and of course I pointed out Sarasa3. After we walked through the whole street and ended up close to Nijo Station, we decided to backtrack to Sarasa3 for dinner.
out in front
Near the entrance is where they make pizzas, behind the display case with baked sweets from さらさ御供焼菓子工房Sarasa Ontomo Baked Sweets Workshop (yes, the Sarasa chain’s bakery) only a couple of shops away on the Sanjo Shopping Street.
the counter seating in front of the kitchen
the area close to the exit to the restroom and outhouse
We chose a two-seater in the middle and after checking out the menu, Mason decided on the 鶏肉とブロッコリーのトマトクリームリゾットtori-niku to burokkori no tomato kuriimu rizotto (chicken & broccoli risotto in a tomato cream sauce) ￥1100.
The 生ハムとクルミ、たっぷりチーズのピッツァビアンコnama-hamu to kurumi, tappuri chiizu no pittsa bianko (dry-cured ham & walnut pizza bianco topped with plenty of cheese), ￥1300, appealed to me the most.
The food was delicious (we each tried some of the other’s order) and filling; Mason didn’t finish her risotto only because there was so much of it. My pizza’s crust was chewy, just the way that I like crusts (reminded me of the one that I had at よーじやYojiya cafe (三条Sanjo)). It was good with or without the honey that I was provided. Another thing to put on my list of cravings.☺
Update: After a year and nine months, I went back to Sarasa3 with my co-worker when we were in the area around lunch time…there were mostly young mothers with children, so there wasn’t any smoking going on while we were there.
We both chose the rice lunch of 鶏モモ肉とアボカド、ブロッコリーの梅だれ焼き～お野菜のさっぱりピックルズ添え～ゆかりごはんtori momo-niku to abokado, burokkorii no umedare-yaki ~o-yasai no sappari pikkuruzu-zoe~ yukari-gohan (chicken, avocado & broccoli stir-fry in a plum sauce and with fresh vegetable pickles and plum-flake rice. My co-worker is on a diet and didn’t want any rice, so the thoughtful waiter (I thought he was either the owner or the manager) offered focaccia until she realized that she was staying away from carbohydrates and obliged to giving her more salad.
The meal came with a drink; I ordered アイス紅茶aisu kohcha (iced tea) and my co-worker had ホットコーヒーhot coffee. Because my co-worker was in the mood for cake, too, she ordered an アップルクランブルケーキapple crumble cake.
Anything with avocado has to be good, at least in my opinion, and the chicken was no exception…the meal overall was delicious, light yet filling. The cake with large chunks of apple inside and plenty of crumble was the perfect way to finish the meal. I really need to go back more often.☺
Update: Almost three months later, I was back at Sarasa 3 with Mason for a break from shopping. Although the front of the café with sofa seating was available, we were seated at a two-seater in the middle toward the back to our disappointment…well, at least the doors were open and let in a nice breeze.
We both ended up ordering chai…Mason got the regular chai, ￥520, while I had the butter one, ￥560 (can you see the piece of butter floating in the chai in the picture?).
We were provided honey to sweeten our chai. As one might guess, the butter made my chai quite rich and more savory, not too bad but I think I would prefer it without the butter unless I was hungry and wanted a more filling chai.
Update: Sarasa3 closed temporarily in late November 2016 and reopened next-door to Sarasa Ontomo in a location which used to be a former tobacco shop…although it’s a shame that it’s no longer a machiya café, the cleanly stylish and natural café is still as popular as ever.