*Found in Former Kyoto Cafes
Té Concepción is a tea salon at the bottom of an apartment complex along 烏丸通Karasuma Street across from 東本願寺Higashi Hongan-ji Temple; the big teapot sign sporting its name outside was the first thing that caught my attention about the place when I first found it. Even from the outside, one can tell that the facility is quite spacious inside due to the windows looking out on the street (top right picture). I stopped by on a whim on my way to work in early October.
I was shown to a two-seater table in the back. From my seat I had a good view of a little bicycle up front, a possibility that the café is child-friendly despite its sophisticated design (top left picture). What I considered to be the main part of the dining area was a wide space with access to daylight coming through the windows; there were bookshelves in the middle with magazines, distraction for those who come alone (center picture).
Most of the lunch options were not available to my dismay and I even considered leaving but since I felt like I had lost my chance to leave, I ended up choosing the きのこのテリヤキソースハンバーグkinoko no teriyaki hanbaagu (hamburger steak in a teriyaki mushroom sauce) which I asked for with a piece of baguette (the other option was rice), hoping that it was better than it sounded (I’m not a fan of teriyaki flavor). It came with tea, of course, for which I chose アイスダージリン紅茶aisu Daajirin koucha (iced Darjeeling tea); my tea came first (sorry, no picture but it came in the same glass as the tea in the center left picture). The 前菜zensai (appetizers) which included salad, cabbage roll, potato slices, egg & grilled fish followed not too long after (bottom right picture); the hamburger steak came after that (bottom left picture). The meal ended with dessert plate that included custard cream cake and 洋梨younashi (pear) cake with fruit that day.
It was a filling meal, something that I hadn’t expected from a tea salon. The appetizer dish was nice, I like having a little of many things. I usually don’t like teriyaki sauce but this one was light in flavor and consistency and did the job of flavoring the hamburg, the way that I usually like my hamburg dishes. The cakes weren’t usually the type that I prefer but perfect for satisfying any sweet tooth that develops before finishing a meal. I’d like to go back and do a tea set sometime.
Update: About a year and eight months after the first time I went, I finally went back for a second time when I wanted to grab some dinner before heading home after an afternoon with Mason. I was greeted by a male staff who looked like either the owner or the manager; despite his looks being a bit intimidating (especially his intense eyes), he spoke very gently and softly…definitely my image of a tea person.☺
There were a few customers who ended up leaving not too long after I got there (not surprising since I arrived a little over an hour before closing time at 7:00pm), so I pretty much had the place to myself…I was shown to the table that was next to the one that I had last time I came; this time I had a better view of the place.
I decided to have the 和牛フィレ肉のステーキディナーwa-gyuu fire-niku no sutehki (Japanese beef-filet steak dinner), ￥1600, which came with appetizers of salad, potato salad & grilled vegetables, tomato sauce-marinated octopus and sweet-potato egg and tea for which I chose iced Earl Grey Darjeeling; bread also accompanied the steak which was over a small bed of mashed potatoes (top center picture). The steak was tasty although a little smaller than most I’ve had but I was really impressed with the creamy mashed potatoes under the steak. The appetizers were also a dainty size but delicious nonetheless…the potato salad was especially good (I would say this café does potato dishes well). I can’t believe I never mentioned the tea being excellent here before but I definitely felt so this time.
For an extra ￥300 I added dessert…I chose to have one of the seven cakes available, スコットzucotto. It was fantastic with mascarpone cheese mixed with chocolate shavings, lemon peel, pistachios and walnuts. Mason ended up meeting me at the café to go home together after her haircut and I let her have some of it; she also thought it was very good.
I need to come back more often to have some more dessert (or at least that zucotto) and some tea.☺
Update: I’m sorry to say that I walked past Té Concepción in late September 2015 to find it empty which means they closed. I haven’t heard of them moving, so maybe it’s for good.😢