I found !-foods (I was kind of confused at first about how to read this) in the July 2012 Leaf. This café, which opened in April of last year, caught my eye with pictures of various tarts and a green curry dish (I’ve been quite into green curry since last year) among others on a fairly unique menu. It’s part of !(Exclamation)-style, a joint enterprise by the incorporated nonprofit organization, !-style, and J.F.S Corporation. In early April of this year, Mason met me in Kyoto for dinner and after much deliberation, we decided to try the place, located on Shinmachi off of Sanjo…we only had a little trouble getting there. ☺
a former machiya, to my delight
There are food and general goods, domestic and foreign, on sale at the front.
the display case of the various tarts (meal or dessert) as well as deli, to be taken home as well as eaten in the café…the stairs lead to the second-floor dining area (I didn’t get to go up here, next time…).
one long table for the first-floor dining area with a view of the kitchen
the wall behind us: simple design and providing the customers the option to hang up outerwear
some reads for the customers…the path outside leads to the restroom.
Mason had a bit to snack on before meeting me in the city, so she just got the アボカドとナチュラルチーズサラダabokado to nachuraru chiizu sarada (avocado & natural cheese salad), ￥680.
I looked through the menu although I ended up getting what I had planned to order anyway: グリーンカレーのつけめんguriin karee no tsuke-men (udon with green curry dipping sauce), ￥860.
Do you see the bone-shaped chopstick rest in the picture above? This café is dog-friendly.
Mason was surprised that the avocado and cheese in her salad were warm but she seemed satisfied with it…she let me try it, it wasn’t bad at all. Besides the udon not being as strong in texture as I normally like udon, the green curry dipping sauce made up for it. I’d probably order it again and try to get the staff to provide me with noodles with a stronger texture. ☺
Update: About nine months later I went back to !-foods for lunch when I discovered huku cafe and 喫茶 la madrague マドラグ to be closed. I wanted to experience dining on the second floor but was told that it’s open only in the evenings…later, I saw that it was used by the employees to have lunch.
I chose the seat at the counter next to the self-serve area for soup (vegetable that day) available during lunch.
I eventually ordered the タンドリーチキン＆バターライスTandoori chicken & butter rice, ￥800; it came with all-you-can-eat soup. I also ordered a 自家製ゆずソーダjikasei yuzu sohda (homemade yuzu soda) for an additional ￥200; after all the wandering I did before getting to the café, I was craving something refreshing.
While I was waiting for my food to come, I went to check out the deli; グリーンカレーの唐揚げgureen kareh no karaage (green-curry Japanese-style fried chicken) for ￥260 caught my eye..I mentioned to the staff member on hand that I MIGHT want to take some to go and despite my “MIGHT”, she put in the order for me. Not only could I not sit on the second floor but I was being pressured to order more…was I wrong to be a bit perturbed?
The food overall was pretty good, especially the Tandoori chicken…although the rice tasted like it had been reheated before being “buttered up”, luckily I like rice that’s been burnt a bit, okoge-style. The soda was tart; I’d probably have it again once it gets warmer. The fried chicken that I was guilt-tripped into having was not bad although the breading was a little too thick for my liking and the green curry taste wasn’t so strong. I have to eventually try the tarts for which the café is known.