Opened in September 2011, 喫茶 la madrague マドラグ, a café on 押小路通Oshikoji Street between 西洞院通Nishinotoin Street and 釜座通Kamanza Street, occupies the building that was formerly 喫茶セブンSeven, a coffee shop founded in 1963 that closed after the owner passed away; not surprisingly, the customers range from Seven’s former regulars to university students who come in groups as well as alone. The sign for Seven is still outside, that’s how I recognized it from the street when I went yesterday. I’d actually been to check it out three times since this past spring but each time, regardless of it not being Sunday, the café’s regular holiday, it was closed! I decided to give up on la madrague for a while. However, when I went to huku cafe to have lunch yesterday, IT was closed (since when did they take off Tuesdays and Wednesdays?)…ironic, because the reason that I went to huku cafe for the first time was because la madrague was closed…anyway, since la madrague was close by, I went to check it out for the fourth time but without any expectations (it’s less disappointing that way).
The turquoise in the exterior adds some impact to the (true) retro look of the café, much of which is left over from the Seven days.
I’m glad that I didn’t give up on la madrague because it was a very nice café experience. The only seat available when I arrived was in the back and it gave me this great view of the place:
(I took this picture after eveyrone had left, hehe!)
The decor is 1960’s-style French chic with quite a bit of Brigitte Bardot memorabilia.
The lunch menu was reasonable and seemed to offer the same fare as 喫茶 GABOR ガボール; that’s because GABOR is la madrague’s sister café. I ordered オムレツのせのエビ入りケチャップライスランチomuretsu-nose no ebi-iri kechappu raisu ranchi (shrimp ketchup rice topped with omelette), ￥890, which came with soup and salad.
For an extra ￥100, I chose アイス紅茶aisu koucha (ice tea) for my drink.
but I regretted it after it was brought to me, because I had come to try the coffee which has been reputed to be good. And with my luck, the next time I tried to come it would be closed, so I ignored my already-full stomach and ordered the ブレンドコーヒーburendo kohhii (blended coffee), normally ￥400, with the ココナッツチョコレートケーキ(クリームチーズ入り)kokonattsu chokoreeto keeki (kuriimu chiizu-iri) (coconut, cream-cheese chocolate cake), ￥400.
I was very satisfied with my meal: the salad (dressed in salt-and-pepper oil dressing) and (consommé) soup were perfect compliments to my main dish and they sure know how to do omelette (fluffy and creamy) and rice (just the right texture which made me forget I don’t really like ketchup rice)! I’ll also never forget the fantastic plumpness of the shrimp, kind of hard to expect in a café meal at times.
Above all, the cake was what blew me away; it tasted just like my favorite cake from the さらさSarasa chain (see さらさ西陣Sarasa Nishijin and さらさ麩屋町Sarasa Fuyacho PAUSA), except that it was probably baken in bundt cake pan, plus shredded coconut mixed in with the cream cheese as well as frosting on top! I couldn’t help commenting on it when I went up to pay at the register…turns out that the staff member who made it was the one ringing me up, whom I also took to be the owner; she learned how to make it from the former baker of Sarasa who is now studying abroad in the U.S.! Although I’m not sure it’ll always be on the menu, at least I know there is a place in Kyoto that can give me that awesome cake!
Laid-back atmosphere with laid-back but friendly staff, comfortable seats, reading material (mostly Japanese, though) galore, it’s my kind of café!