September this year was a horrible time to go to PETIT JAPONAIS because it would happen to be their holiday when I decided to go (probably a post-お盆Obon holiday kind of thing, not to mention their holidays seem to be irregular anyway). I was starting to give up on ever experiencing the place but decided to give it one more chance in mid-October before going into work (it’s close by)…finally I got the timing right!
PETIT JAPONAIS is a pâtisserie on 仏光寺通Bukkoji Street, east of 東洞院通Higashinotoin Street, across from an elementary school. The pâtissière, Michie Kojima, who opened the pâtisserie with her husband, Keigo, used to work in an office before making a career move and working in a few pâtisseries in Kyoto. She studied abroad and worked in a pâtisserie in France as well before returning to Japan to open PETIT JAPONAIS (the original location was on 堺町通Sakaimachi Street) in 2003.
That’s the pâtissière calling up to the dining area from the pâtisserie to her husband who is in charge of meals and drinks to prepare a table for me on the second-floor café area.
goodies to go or have at the café
All the coloring of the sweets here are natural. For those who want to learn to make these delectable little goodies, they offer classes.
the view of the second floor while going up to the loft area where I was seated
the view of the staircase from the loft
I took the table closest to the stairs. After looking over the menu, I got the ミルワールカシスmirroir cassis, ￥450; since I had coffee earlier at 木と根kitone, I decided to have tea, kimono, ￥450 for a cup.
Layers of fruity mousse and chocolate cake, it was just what I expected. The aroma of kimono was a mix of peach and apricot and went surprisingly well with my cake.
Through the partially open window of the second floor I could hear the sounds of children and the bustle of life in the area…cozy like I was at home, and very peaceful, especially when one is so high up and away from everyone.
There were magazines under the table; I took the liberty to read one on Kyoto shops. Although the lighting was dim in the café, I angled my magazine toward the light from the window and everything was fine. The experience was worth the long wait leading up to it…hope I can get a loft seat again!
Update: A little less than three years late, I got the urge to drop by PETIT JAPONAIS for dinner and dessert before heading home since it was close to transport that would take me home if I chose to leave early. When I arrived, I expressed wanting to dine and have dessert to the pâtissière and chose a sweet before being asked to go upstairs after having confirmed my seating. I was the only customer, so I took the liberty to take some shots of the second floor.
the view of the kitchen from my seat by the window
the area by the staircase…the table there looked familiar, like the one I was at when I last came but that had been in the loft which was no longer used to seat customers.
Soon another hitori-sama, however, arrived to have cake and dessert…she sat next to me and we ate in silence together until she left in the middle of my dessert.
I got the クロックマダムcroque madame with salad, ￥800, with アイスアールグレイトリプレiced Earl Grey Triple tea for an additional ￥300. The croque madame was one of the best I’ve had; the bread was yummy and the sunny-side-up egg was perfect. The Earl Grey was an ideal profound flavor and very refreshing.
After conferring with the husband owner, I decided to have コーヒーcoffee, ￥500, with the sweet I chose, ミニォンMignon, ￥600. With a perfect base of tart crust and almond paste (firm but easily cut with a fork) and topped with possibly the best macaron I’ve ever had, sandwiching delectable berry cream and raspberries, it was love at first bite. I was told it is one of PETIT JAPONAIS’s signature sweets…no arguing with that.☺
There were no other customers until I left, so I got a chance to talk to the husband owner when he asked me where I was from…he said he knew I wasn’t Japanese from my pronunciation of “croque madame“, haha!☺ We talked about ネクタリンタルトnectarine tart, ￥550, available for another month and from his description of it, I decided to take one home at which he called my order down to his wife.
There’s so much to try, I can’t wait to come back!☺
Other lovely eats that I’ve had:
Address: 〒600-8096 京都市下京区高橋町605-2 （東洞院仏光寺東入る）Kyoto-shi. Shimogyo-ku. Takashashi-cho (east of Higashinotoin Street on Bukkoji Street)
Telephone number: 075-352-5326
Access: 地下鉄四条駅出入口5より徒歩3分minutes from Subway Shijo Station, Exit 5 or 阪急烏丸駅出口19より徒歩5分minutes from Hankyu Karasuma Station, Exit 19
Business hours: pâtisserie– 12:30-8:00pm; café- weekdays 2:00-7:00pm, weekend & national holidays 12:30-7:00pm
Café holiday: irregular (please check website, Facebook or Twitter…sorry, only Japanese)
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/petitjaponais/