*Found in Former Kyoto Cafes
When I go to cafés, I like to check the reading material, if they have any (but most do…I think it should be a must for cafés), and if there are magazines with information on cafés in Kyoto, that’s my amusement for my stay there (I can always use more suggestions). It was one of these times that I saw HACOBU KITCHEN in a magazine: the café got my attention with its healthy meals, food and drink at reasonable prices but being close to work for me (about five, ten minutes away by foot on 五条通Gojo Street) was even more appealing. It is run by a nutritionist who wants to give the public, from company workers to housewives to the elderly, an opportunity to enjoy her healthy and unique recipes in an atmosphere like that of a company cafeteria…I’m sure the workers of Jimukinoueda Building where the café is on the first floor take advantage of the café.
In mid-October of last year, I decided to have some lunch before going in to work. The front of the building is made of glass (center left picture) and when the door is open, it’s possible to see the situation inside. Upon entering, there is a staircase to the basement to the left; it didn’t seem to be in use. The dining area is an open area with the yellow kitchen further in (bottom left picture)…actually, the kitchen wall is painted in two colors: the wall seen from the bench seating along one wall (bottom right picture) is a vibrant blue…there are baked goods and other products on sale at the register in front of the kitchen. The cafe’s name is written on a green shelf to one side that served as a divider for that area of the room.
I didn’t want to sit at the tables with stools because I wanted support for my back when dining and the other tables were full or for a larger group (bottom center picture), so I chose one of the bench seats. There was a small shelf close by where water and tea were set for self-service as well as reading material for those who wish.
I had no doubt that I would get the 日替わりhaco膳: たらのトマトクリーム煮定食higawari hako-zen: tara no tomato kuriimu-ni teishoku (daily haco meal of tomato cream-stewed cod) which included コールスロー、 生姜おろしのあげだし豆腐、ぬか漬、ベーコンとゴロゴロの野菜スープkoorusuroo, shouga-oroshi no agedashi-doufu, nukadzuke, beekon to goro-goro no yasai suupu) (coleslaw, deep-fried tofu with grated ginger, brine & fermented rice bran pickles and bacon and chunky vegetable soup), ￥780 (top left picture). I was surprised at how flavorful and filling that the food was. However, that didn’t stop me from having the 甘酒とナッツの米粉ブラウニー:１カットamazake to nattsu no komeko buraunii: wan katto (one slice of rice sake & nut-filled rice-flour brownie), ￥200 (bottom center picture), and a ソイラテsoy rate (soy latte), ￥400, after the meal.
The coaster was made of leather and branded with the logo for the cafe. Both were pretty mild in taste but just the thing to end my meal. I was perfectly satisfied.
The cookies at the register were so cute that I decided to some: おからロッククッキー okara rokku kukkii (bean-curd “rock” cookie), ￥80, and 名種クッキーmeishu kukkii (HACOBU cookie), ￥60 (for an example of what they looked like look at the center right picture where they’re pictured with snowball cookies)…not too sweet and just the thing to curb one’s appetite for a short amount of time. And of course they’re healthier than most cookies. I need to go again to try out more of their healthy menu.
Update: Almost a year after the first time that I went, I decided at last-minute to have lunch at HACOBU before going into work, especially because the food wasn’t sold out today like the other times when I checked out the café.
Although I felt bad requesting the only four-seater open, the only open tables that were appropriate for a hitori-sama like me had stools for seats and I wanted to relax in a chair with a back; luckily, other seats opened up and no big parties came in while I had lunch, so I didn’t have to feel guilty at all.
The daily haco-zen was similar to what I had when I went last, so I chose the 自家製ライ麦ベーグルプレートjikasei rai-mugi beeguru pureeto (homemade rye bagel plate) which came with お汁物o-shirumono (soup), サラダsarada (salad), 自家製ピクルスjikasei pikurusu (homemade pickles), オムレツomuretsu (omelette) and ベーグル ジャム付beeguru jamu-tsuki (bagel with jam), ￥900 (center top picture)…notice the HACOBU KITCHEN emblem printed on the bagel and the tray?☺ The meal was spiced just enough to still enjoy the natural flavor of the ingredients used in each dish. The bagel, which I had last, was toasted perfectly and had a wonderful chewy texture better accented by the small amount of blueberry jam; I was sad when I finished that bagel. I went to work full and feeling very healthy.
Update: Over two weeks later, my co-worker and I had lunch at HACOBU at her request…she’s been there several times since its opening and was pleased with the well-rounded meals, especially the fish dishes in the haco-zen.
We sat at the four-seater next to the wall and were given hot tea after sitting down (there was a pot on the table so that we could help ourselves). We both ended up getting the haco-zen which included 鮭とキノコのホイル焼きsake to kinoko no hoiru-yaki (salmon & mushroom baked in foil), さつまいもと赤リアスの胡麻和えサラダsatsumaimo to aka-riasu no goma-ae sarada (sweet potato & red Rias salad with sesame dressing), 四角豆と南瓜の鶏そぼろ炒めshikaku-mame to kabocha no tori-soboro itame (winged bean, pumpkin & minced chicken stir-fry) and 大根と株の葉の味噌汁daikon to kabu no ha no miso-shiru (radish & turnip leaf miso soup). The meal was surprisingly flavorful for something so healthy; if you asked me to pick which dish with which I was most pleased, I wouldn’t be able to answer, that’s how well-balanced and delicious the meal was.
Since my co-worker didn’t have rice with her meal, she had room for dessert and coffee, so I joined her in getting the クッキープレートcookie plate, ￥200, of bean-curd “rock” cookie, 白猫の甘酒クッキーshiro-neko no amazake kukkii (white-cat cookie made from sweet fermented-rice drink ) and two ドライ苺のスノーボールdorai ichigo no sunohbohl (dried strawberry snowballs) and アイスオーガニック珈琲iced organic coffee, ￥380 (center right picture). Without being overly sweet because the natural flavors made up for that, the cookies were the perfect accompaniment to the coffee; even though I was full, I probably could have eaten another plate or two. ☺
Update: About three weeks later, I stopped by HACOBU to have a quick lunch before going into work…I decided to finally have the ひよこ豆のドライカレーhiyoko mame no dorai kareh (chickpea dry curry), ￥800, which came with homemade pickles and (tofu & sweet potato miso) soup (top right picture). With minced pork and sweet potato as well as the chickpeas, the curry was on the sweet side, definitely could have eaten it alone; the miso soup was delicious, too. It made me feel a little better about the funk that I was going through.
Update: Over a week later, I went to HACOBU KITCHEN and had the haco-zen which consisted of 豚とキャベツの生姜餡炒めbuta to kyabetsu no shouga-an itame (pork & cabbage stirfry in thick ginger sauce), 紅芯大根の中華サラダkoushin-daikon no chuuka sarada (watermelon radish Chinese salad), さつま芋甘酢炒めsatsumaimo amazu itame (sweet & sour sweet potato stirfry) and ナスとおふの赤出汁nasu to o-fu no akadashi jiru (eggplant & light wheat gluten bread red miso soup). I’m not really a fan of red miso because it’s incredibly salty, nor o-fu (lifeless mush in soup) for that matter, but everything else made up for it going down in my book as a very satisfying meal, especially the pork & cabbage stirfry which was absolutely delicious.
Update: Two months later, I had some time for lunch before going into work, so I decided to go to HACOBU KITCHEN for something healthy. Although I wasn’t in the mood for fish, I still ordered the haco-zen of 鯵の開きaji no hiraki (dried mackerel), ブロッコリーと厚揚げのごまドレッシングサラダburokkori to atsu-age no goma doresshingu sarada (broccoli & thick fried tofu salad with sesame dressing), お揚げと小松菜の辛子味噌和えo-age to komatsuna no karashi-miso-ae (fried tofu & Japanese mustard spinach dressed in mustard-miso sauce) and さつま芋の粕汁satsumaimo no kasu-jiru (sweet potato sake lees-based soup).
A dry and opened fish, I feel like this is as Japanese as it gets. ☺ Although fish wasn’t what I had in mind when I got to the café, I still enjoyed my meal thoroughly, including the fish, because everything was flavored to perfection.
The great thing about such a great meal being ￥780 is that I don’t feel guilty about indulging in dessert and a drink, both pretty reasonable, too; I had the バナナのもちもち米粉パウンドケーキbanana no mochi-mochi kome-ko paundo kehki (banana rice-flour pound cake), ￥200, and ホットカフェラテhot caffè latte, ￥400.
The cake was mochi-mochi in every sense of the word: it really tasted and felt like I was eating mochi! The outer part was like the texture of a chewy brownie; I wish there had been more of that! The taste of the caffè latte was subtle. It was the perfect way to start the work day. ☺
Update: Three months after the last time I updated, I went to HACOBU KITCHEN post-renovation. The interior didn’t look like it had changed much but the menu had some changes, including increase in prices. The pretty taller female staff member that I assumed to be the owner wasn’t there but the cute little female staff member who always waited on me before was on hand working in the kitchen this time while a new waitress took orders and worked the dining area. The whole time that I was there, the tables were pretty much full with a good flow of coming and leaving customers.
I had come with the intention of having a haco-zen, now ￥850, but there were two choices for the main dish now as well as another croquette haco-zen…I chose the 鮭と新ジャガのチーズクリーム煮sake to shin-jaga no chiizu kuriimu-ni (salmon & new potato stewed in cheese cream) one …this was the most filling haco-zen yet! I don’t know if the cook changed but the food tasted a little different than what I had before, I can’t really explain, though. The food was still tasty, though, so I’m not complaining at all. Rather than stewed the salmon dish seemed more like it had been baked, resembling a gratin, probably due to the cheese cream.
Although I was very full before finishing, I couldn’t resist ordering a new dessert, 豆腐と酒粕チーズケーキ風tohfu to sakekasu chiizukehki-fuu (tofu & sake lees “cheesecake”, ￥350, with ホットオーガニック珈琲hotto ohganikku kohhii (hot organic coffee), ￥300 (￥100 off with a dessert). The coffee came in a smaller cup than I remember it in coming in but it was delicious. The reason why there are quotation marks around “cheesecake” is because it only has the shape and texture of cheesecake. To be honest the cake was quite sour for the most part; the fruit and walnuts near the edge gave it the sweetness that it needed but that was only a small part of the cake…if I order this again, I’d proabably order a sweeter drink.
Update: Almost a week later, I was back with my co-worker when our plans to lunch at NU-VO was foiled by them being a full house; although I had feared that HACOBU KITCHEN would be full as well, there were enough tables open to guarantee us seats. I chose one of the two-seaters by the wall although I would have liked to have taken one of the four-seaters, especially because both were open, but I saw them making parties of two take the two-seaters last time.
We both ordered the ころっけhaco膳korokke hako-zen (croquette haco-zen), ￥900, of かぼちゃとクリームチーズのコロッケとチキンと野菜のコロッケkabocha to kuriimu-chiizu corokke to chikin to yasai no korokke (pumpkin & cheese-cream croquette and chicken & vegetable croquette) which included 新ごぼうサラダ、ミートソース卵焼き、新じゃがゴロっと野菜のポトフ、五穀米shin-goboh sarada, miito-sohsu tamago-yaki, shin-jaga gorotto yasai no potofu, gokoku-mai (new-burdock salad, meat sauce-filled rolled egg and new-potato chunky vegetable pot-au-feu, or soup, and five-grain rice). We both enjoyed the healthy yet hearty meal; besides the soup and the chicken & vegetable croquette, everything was well-flavored. My favorite was the pumpkin & cream-cheese croquette; lightly-breaded and -fried yet crispy, this was my kind of croquette (and I usually don’t like croquette).
My co-worker asked me to share the リンゴと黒糖の米粉パウンドケーキringo to kokutoh no komeko paundo kehki (apple & brown-sugar rice-flour pound cake), ￥280. The pound cake had a subtly delicious apple and brown-sugar flavor and because it was made with rice-flour, it was a bit more springy than the usual pound cake. It came to us warm but I think it would have been more enjoyable cold; next time, I’ll ask for it that way.
Update: Almost two months after the last time I went, I dropped by HACOBU KITCHEN to grab a quick lunch before work. It was almost a full house again but I was able to get one of the two-seater seats along the wall.
I immediately ordered the ニラ卵チキンnira-tamago-chikin (garlic-chive & chicken topped with egg) haco-zen which came with ズッキーニのスライスサラダ･カツオふりかけ・スナップエンドウの白和え小鉢･キャベツとお揚げの中華スープ・五穀米zukkiini no suraisu sarada, katsuo furikake, snappu endoh no shiro-ae kobachi, kyabetsu to o-age no chuuka suupu, gokoku-mai (zucchini slice-topped salad, flavored bonito flakes (to have with the rice), snap-pea dressed with white dressing, cabbage & fried-tofu Chinese soup and five-grain rice). Although at first glance it looked a bit meager compared to what I’ve had before at the café, the meal was very tasty overall…definitely went away content.
Although I hadn’t planned to get dessert, the two new ice cream on the dessert menu were quite intriguing…I finally decided on the そら豆豆乳アイスクリームsora-mame tohnyuu aisu kuriimu (broad-bean soy-milk ice cream), ￥380, as well as an old favorite of 酒粕の白猫クッキーsake-kasu no shiro-neko kukkii (sake-lees white-cat cookie), ￥80. I was even more impressed with the dessert…the sweet yet savory soft cookie was as good as always but the ice cream with its subtle sweetness and an interesting texture created by the crunchiness of the ice and the pieces of beans throughout made for an appropriate end to a pleasant meal.
I got to talk a bit to the current manager (who used to wait the tables for as long as I’ve been going) when I mentioned that I enjoyed the ice cream; she must have been quite confident of the invention because she seemed so happy with my opinion. She asked me where I was from; I also took the opportunity to tell her of my blog and how I wrote about HACOBU KITCHEN and she said she’d look into it.☺
Update: Almost two weeks later, I decided it was time to finally order a おhaco弁当o-haco bento, ￥750, so I called my order in to HACOBU KITCHEN while heading to work from Kyoto Station…the only choice I had was in the main dish and I chose meat over fish although I didn’t know exactly what meat and how it would be prepared.
When I arrived my obento was ready; it consisted of チキンとカボチャのトマトクリームソーテchikin to kabocha no tomato-kuriimu sohte (tomato-cream chicken & pumpkin sauté, 白菜のお揚げの卵とじhakusai no o-age no tamago-toji (fried Chinese cabbage with egg, コールスローサラダkohrusuroh sarada (coleslaw salad), five-grain rice and bonito flakes for the rice. Although the chicken was less creamy and seemed to be more in a sweet-and-sour sauce, every dish was tasty and the rice was my favorite texture (on the hard side)…it was a very satisfying meal, especially because it was freshly packed and I didn’t have far to go before having it.
Update: Less than two months later, I went to HACOBU KITCHEN for dessert…when I was there four days before with my co-worker and her daughter for lunch, I noticed a new ice cream that I want to try, and that’s what I ordered, the アボカド豆乳クリーミーアイスabokado tohnyuu kuriimii aisu (avocado-soy milk ice cream), ￥400, as well as the cookie plate (green-tea snowball cookies this time!) and はちみつレモン～ソーダ割りhachimitsu-remon~sohda-wari (honey-lemon soda), ￥450. The ice cream definitely met my expectation…the only thing about which I was surprised was that it was actually sweet (maybe due to there being bananas in it but it complemented the rich avocado flavor) and how it hardly melted even though I took my time to eat it which meant that I got most of that goodness in my mouth. Too bad HACOBU KITCHEN doesn’t do take-out for ice cream, I’d definitely want one to go!
Since about a month ago, a table for four has replaced two two-seaters in the middle of the dining area and this visit I noticed that the reading material and self-serve drinks have been moved by the shelf that held shop cards and leaflets…good idea, it makes the place look a bit more put-together.☺
Update: Over three months since the last time I wrote, I had time for a quick lunch before going into work, so I dropped in HACOBU KITCHEN. There was only one elderly gentleman who was sitting at a two-seater along the wall, so I took the two seater closest to the entrance, my favorite because there’s plenty of space and provides the most privacy.
I immediately ordered the チキンと大根のトマトクリーム煮chikin to daikon no tomato-kuriimu-ni (chicken & radish stewed in tomato-cream sauce) haco-zen…any main dish here with tomato-cream sauce has proved to be delicious, so I’m always convinced to get it; this time was no exception. The whole meal was balanced with light dishes to balance out the more rich ones.
I ordered an アップルシナモンチャイapple cinnamon chai, ￥400 (￥100 off with a meal), halfway through my meal because it sounded soothing for my throat…I asked the floor staff who was not so new to me anymore (she even noticed I had cut my bangs!) how she preferred it, with or without sugar, and she said she liked it without sugar, so I tried it that way…although I usually like my chai to be sweet, this day a non-sweet chai was just what I needed.
The manager and cook told me that they were no longer making the avocado ice cream knowing that I’d be disappointed but she assured me that it’ll make a comeback sometime soon. Upon paying, I gave them each an mikan orange that I had been hit up on the way to buy (the first time on my commute to work, guy has guts for a Japanese guy☺); although they were happy to receive it, I’m not sure if they would have found the orange as sweet as I’d been told they were when they actually had it, because it wasn’t very sweet at all to me.
Other meals I’ve had:
Address: 〒600-8191 京都市下京区五条通高倉角堺町21番地Kyoto-shi. Shimokyo-ku. Gojo-dori. Takakura Sakai-machi 21 jimukinoueda bldg. 1F
Telephone number: 075-343-5252
Access: 京都市営地下鉄 烏丸線五条駅 3番出口より東へ徒歩5分minutes by foot from Kyoto Subway Karasuma Line Gojo Station, Exit 3 or 京阪清水五条駅 3番出口より西へ徒歩10分minutes by foot from Keihan Kiyomizu Gojo Station, Exit 3…no parking but there are car parks nearby.
Business hours: weekdays 11:00am-8:00pm (orders stop at 7:30)
Saturday, Sunday & national holidays 12:00〜20:00ころ(orders stop at 7:30)
Cafe holiday: irregular
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hacobukitchen