*found in Former Kyoto Cafes
the exterior and interior
my favorite items on the menu
Mason and I met in Kyoto after we both got off work to have dinner in mid-May of this year. Mason agreed to trying 喫茶 la madrague マドラグ (my second time to try) only to discover that it wasn’t open (yet again). I had the July 2012 Leaf on me and saw that huku cafe, which opened in mid-April last year, is close by on 新町通Shinmachi Street, so we opted for going there instead.
huku cafe is on the second floor of the BOXHOUSE building; at night the white sign with black lettering (not shown in the picture) is lit up like a beacon for the café.
the area near the front with luxuriously comfortable seats that look outside…I could definitely see myself relaxing here alone.
Mason and I sat in the area further in (across from the kitchen) that provided sofa seating just as luxuriously comfortable…all the chairs and sofas are from カリモクKarimoku 60+.
Monochrome colors with a dash of vibrant color here and there made for a stylish look coupled with sensible feminine touches (it was easy to tell that women were in charge here). I can understand how one would be tempted to spend hours here chatting, enjoying the nourishment supplied by the café and/or just relaxing, even alone.
The menu was full of healthy and hearty dishes, so it was hard making a decision…finally, Mason and I both ended up getting the 黒米入 チーズリゾットkokumai-iri chiizu rizotto (black-rice cheese risotto), ￥850.
With the cheese on top, the risotto seemed more like a doria but I’m not complaining because the combination was delicious with a sauce base of Western-Japanese fusion…and filling, that’s all our stomachs could afford to hold that night.
(I’m sorry to say that the risotto is no longer available.)
Today, I finally got to go back after almost half a year…actually I tried to go recently and found out Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cafe’s holidays (that’s the day I finally got to experience la madrague). I beat the lunch rush, so it was quiet and I was the only customer except for someone who seemed to be a friend or regular at a counter seat. The waitress on hand was different from the one who had served Mason and me when I first went.
I chose the seat next to the counter seat by the window which gave me a good view of the place during the day.
I had wanted to try the green curry before, so that’s what I ordered, グリーンカレーとスモールサラダgreen curry & small salad, ￥900, and the huku cafe house blended coffee for an additional ￥200.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this curry was the green version of the yellow curry that I had loved so much at another cafe that closed its doors a couple months before, except better because it came with multi-grain rice☺…the salad was good, too, topped with carrot rappé and sweet potato salad. Even the blended coffee reminded me of my favorite blend at the cafe mentioned above. By the time that I finished my meal, I knew I’d be coming back REALLY soon.
And they do take-out coffee, too, which I opted out of this time…next time, next time for sure.
Katalin told me that she’s asked the owner what “huku” meant: “huku” means 福fuku (good fortune)…I hope that’s what is in store for this café. ☺
Update: My craving for huku cafe’s green curry came sooner than expected: three days later, I walked over there from work, only to find out that they had run out of green curry for the day! I don’t think I’ve been so depressed about not getting what I want for a long while! But I was hungry and since I didn’t have time to go elsewhere until meeting Mason at Kyoto Station for some Starbucks, I opted for the モロッコごはん、オリーブとクリームチーズマリネ付Morokko gohan, oriibu to kuriimu chiizu marine-dzuke (“Moroccan” rice with olive & cream cheese mariné), ￥950.
I quote “Moroccan” because I found out later that the dish is based on the owner’s image of Moroccan cuisine using spices in it like coriander; the owner has actually never been to Morocco.
I must have looked so disappointed about the curry because they gave me soup on the house. The combination of olives, cream cheese and carrot rappé for the mariné was scrumptious, I would love to have it again! I ate everything (a tomato-based vegetable mix, a chick-pea mix and omelette with multi-grain rice) separately but next time I’m going to try mixing everything, I’m sure it’ll still be just as delicious (who cares if the owner hasn’t ever been to Morocco?)…the spiciness of the sides actually made me forget that I had originally come for the curry. ☺
(Sorry, the “Moroccan” rice is no longer available.)
Three days later, I went back to huku hoping to have green curry this time; since I got there about half an hour before opening, I went and checked out nicotto & mam, running across しろはとベーカリーShirohato Bakery by chance…by the time I headed back, the café was opening. The staff member who was working was the same one who had served me when I had gone last; she said that green curry was available today. ☺
I got to talk to the gentle but warm and friendly owner, a pretty middle-aged woman, because I was the only customer for a while. I apologized for my apparent disappointment at there being no curry the other night but she said that she was very happy that someone liked it THAT much. Later when I showed her this blog, she was ecstatic to meet me because she had already read my post on the café; I was so thrilled to hear this!
If anyone is around the 御池通Oike Street area between 地下鉄東西線二条城前駅 Subway Tozai Line Nijo-jo Mae Station and 地下鉄烏丸線烏丸御池・東西線烏丸御池駅Subway Karasuma Line Karasuma Oike Station or Tozai Line Karasuma Oike Station, especially if you’re staying in a hotel around there, I recommend this café on Shinmachi Street (there’s a FRESCO Petit (grocery store) at the entrance to it from Oike Street) and not too far from 押小路通Oshikoji Street for its stylish yet cozy atmosphere and the healthy and hearty food and flavorful drinks made with care, not to mention the staff’s eagerness to accommodate you during your stay. Don’t let the construction down most of the street (which should finish within the year anyway) detain you from experiencing such a warm café visit; I myself am wishing that I had become a jouren of the place sooner. ☺
Update: Two days later, I went back to huku cafe to get some coffee and the French toast, for which I’ve never had room before, while getting some work done.
ホットカフェオレhot café au lait, ￥500, and チョコフレンチトーストchocolate French toast, ￥750
At first I thought the French toast was made with chocolate bread slices but it’s actually made soaking white bread slices in chocolate sauce before grilling them up and topping with chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream; the occasional crunchiness of the especially-grilled chocolate is irresistible! I recommend this French toast to any lover of French toast and chocolate! The café au lait was creamy with the rich flavor I like in coffee. It was definitely the ideal way to spend the afternoon/evening…yes, I could hardly tear myself away from my comfy chair at the counter area which looks out on the street, perfect for letting my mind and eyes take a break from that in front of me.
Update: About three weeks later I went to huku cafe to have the green curry after the 12:00-1:00pm rush…of course they had just run out of it when I came in and the owner was in the midst of the next batch. I was debating whether to wait half an hour to get some green curry or order something else when the owner recommended the 牛ひき肉と野菜のチリライスgyuu hiki-niku to yasai no chiri raisu (minced beef & vegetable chili rice), ￥950 (menu, bottom right picture is an example of what I had at this time), to which I immediately agreed.
The mix of the spiciness from red chili peppers and the natural sweetness of the vegetables in the chili made me forget that I had come for green curry; with the irresistible color of the black rice, it is one exotically colorful dish! To finish yet again another healthy and satisfying dish at huku, I had the delicious café au lait I had last time before hauling it off to work.
huku cafe will be serving a special 2013 Christmas set for ￥1500 during dinner hours the 24th and 25th…only 10 meals are available a day, so call in your reservation as soon as possible! The menu includes:
soup: にんじんとトマトのポタージュninjin to tomato no potahju (carrot & tomato potage)…yes, the menu in the picture says あんのう芋annou imo (one kind of Japanese sweet potato) potage but it turns out that the supplier was unable to come through with the order…anyway, carrot potage will be good, too.
salad: キャロットラペやサツマイモのハニーマスタードなどkyarotto rape ya satsumaimo no hanii masutahdo nado (carrot rappé, honey-mustard sweet potato salad, etc.)
main dish: ラタトゥユとソーセージのクスクスratatuyu to sohsehji no kusukusu (ratatouille & sausage over couscous)…it comes with rice or bread, please indicate which you prefer.
dessert: ちいさなワッフル～ピスタチオとショコラのアイスクリームとフルーツのせ～chiisa na waffuru ~pisutachio to shokora no aisu kurihmu to furuhtsu nose~ (small waffle topped with pistachio and chocolate ice cream and fruits)
drink: グラスワイン、コーヒー、オーガニックのぶどうジュース(微炭酸)、その他ドリンクgurasu wain, kohhi, ohganikku no budou juusu (bitansan), sono ta dorinku (glass of wine, coffee, organic grape juice and other drinks)
For anyone who wants to spend a quiet evening for Christmas in a cozy atmosphere with a healthy and filling meal made from the finest ingredients and served with the utmost care, I suggest making plans to spend it at huku cafe.☺
huku cafe will be on regular schedule until December 31st (although the 31st is a Tuesday, they’ll be open regular hours) and resume the regular schedule on the 4th. I myself plan to go a couple of times after my winter vacation when I can afford to spend ample time there.
Update: After calling in my last-minute reservation, on Christmas Eve I went for the huku cafe Christmas dinner after work; it seemed like the perfect way to unwind for the day on such a night relegated only to couples and families, at least that’s how it feels in Japan. There was only one other diner, a regular, who had just finished her meal when I arrived; her face was lit up with contentment, premonition enough for how I would look at the end of the meal. She left not too long after I had started my meal but not before raving a while about the meal and her time at the cafe.
(bottom left picture) I decided to have the organic (sparkling) grape juice which was served with the spicy and flavorful carrot & tomato potage served with sour cream; the bread I ordered with it appeared in the shape of a half-serving of pastrami sandwich which is also on the normal menu…I had underestimated this tasty and filling sandwich but no more! I plan to have it again during one of my future visits! ☺
When I finished, I was as satisfied as if I’d had a small meal but next was salad which wouldn’t take up too much room anyway, right? However, I was proved wrong with the salad plate with seven kinds of salad, plus cheese, which could have been another small meal itself as well; each dish with unique combinations of ingredients and flavors amazed me with their deliciousness, like strawberry & apple salad, a concoction of turnips and yellow carrots in non-sweet fresh cream and grilled carrots like grilled potatoes along with the regular huku cafe fare. (top left picture)
Now I was getting worried about getting through the entire course (such a small worry, no?☺). The main dish was Oxford sausage on a bed of couscous and Jeera rice (huku cafe-style with black rice) topped with ratatouille; the ratatouille is best paired with the couscous while the rice is the best match for the sausage. (bottom right picture)
(center right picture) I was officially full by dessert but managed to finish everything except the fresh cream. All this great food while enjoying the company of my two charming hosts whom I got to know even more…a girl all by her lonesome couldn’t have felt more warm-hearted at a café on Christmas Eve! Now I could understand that look of contentment that I saw on the other customer’s face☺! The café even gave a small gift of Godiva chocolate! (top right picture)
I ended up waddling all the way to Kyoto Station (I should have actually circled the city a couple of times considering all that I had!) with a full stomach and a full heart; would you believe me if I said that I was still full all the next day? ☺
Update: Less than a week later, Lars and I had dinner at huku cafe at my request. Since I had informed the staff two days earlier when I went in to get some nourishment and to write my 年賀状nengajoh (New Year postcards), they were expecting me. Lars finally decided on the chili rice that I’d had before while I chose the 牛すじのモロッコ風煮込みgyuu-suji no Morokko-fuu nikomi (Moroccan-style sinewy beef stew), ￥1400, something on the menu that Fumie-san (I know the owner’s name now☺) told me I should try the last time I was there; the stew went well with the grilled vegetables and black rice with which it came, a tasty and filling meal.
Although I was quite full, I decided to order a トーストベーグルtoasted bagel with cream cheese & jam, ￥650, with the cafe’s blended coffee, ￥350 (￥50 off with the bagel).
Needless to say, I had yet another gut-popping meal experience that made me decide to walk to Kyoto Station again! But before that, I wrote a few more nengajoh for my family and friends to mail at the Kyoto Central Post Office before heading home…however, without knowing I ended up staying after-hours; even Chieko-san (the other staff besides Fumie-san) went home before me! Fumie-san said I could stay as long as I like (I could tell she meant it) but figuring I’d just be in her hair, I decided to save the rest of the nengajoh for when I could get to it next.
Update: Having plenty to work on with the new year here, I went to huku cafe, my favorite place to get things done as well as grab a bite to eat, less than a week later after the New Year holiday. I was offered one of the tables in the back although I was alone, because it’s more spacious for getting work done.
I already knew what I wanted even though I still had a look at the menu: ビーフパストラミサンドイッチbeef pastrami sandwich, ￥1400 (menu, middle left picture is an example of what I had at this time)…I added かぶのクリームスープkabu no kuriimu suupu (creamy turnip soup) for an extra ￥200.
Although one would think that this is too much to pay for a sandwich at a cafe, I came to understand how rightfully priced it was: there was no skimping on the meat which went well with the fresh cream sauce and the perfectly-toasted buckwheat bread, plus it came with the huku cafe salad sides that I love! And the soup was absolutely delicious, well flavored and creamy; I was sad when it came to an end.
After my meal I switched to my favorite seat at the counter at the front. Between getting to work over some café au lait I chatted with the staff. They are serving a new dish now, spicy minced meat over pilaf and topped with omelette…I can’t wait to try it soon!
Update: A week later I went back to huku cafe to get caught up after the week but mostly to try the new dish I couldn’t try last time. Chieko-san was participating in a handicraft market (she makes bags, hair accessories ), so an acquaintance of Fumie-san was waiting the tables. However, Fumie-san came to take my order during which we greeted each other.
The spicy minced meat over cumin-flavored black rice with a big omelette on the side was as delicious as I’d expected, the meat going well with the rice and omelette which were flavored to accentuate the meat; despite its modest look, I got full halfway. I was the first to order this, so Fumie-san wanted my opinion on it before finalizing the name and price, so sorry but no picture this time.
Although I was stuffed, I still ordered a half-size waffle to have with café au lait (see below for picture of an example). I was expecting it to be more mediocre than it turned out to be; with a crispy exterior and somewhat chewy interior and perfectly grilled with maple syrup and butter, it was my right up my alley! I ended up ordering another, swearing that I was done eating for the day.
Update: Two weeks later, I went to huku cafe to have the plate I did last time, now finalized in name and price: ジーラライス&スパイシーミートオムレツのプレートJeera rice & spicy-meat omelette plate, ￥1200 (menu, top right picture). The spicy minced meat was now enveloped by the omelette and topping the now Jeera black rice which had an even more irresistible texture mixed with cumin seeds and grated ginger…an indescribably incredible experience of flavors.
I ordered the ハーフサイズワッフルhalf-size waffle, ￥350, from last time with café au lait which came with a sample of the new ハーフサイズキャラメルワッフルhalf-size caramel waffle, also the same price.
The caramel taste was richer and more subtle than I’d thought, probably because of the butter mixed with the caramel sauce…since I didn’t know about it until receiving the sample, I’ll order it next time.
(Unfortunately, these half-size waffles are no longer available.)
Chieko-san was away at another handicraft fair and the same acquaintance from last time was helping again.
Update: I’m so hooked on huku cafe that I go about once a week now when possible. Today, about three weeks after the last time I wrote, and last week I had green curry when I went during lunch hours and there was an extra deli item with the salad and a sampling of Fumie-san’s dessert experiments each time: last week was an apple and cottage cheese concoction and msemmen and today was a small piece of quiche and olives and a unique version of the Japanese “スイートポテトsweet potato” sweet based on the cafe’s sweet potato salad.
Since I have a cold, I thought I’d finally try the スパイスミルクティーspice milk tea, ￥650; I asked for it in a to-go cup since I had to go to work soon. Fumie-san recommends adding lots of sugar, so I added about two teaspoonful. Made with Mariage Frères’s KAISER tea, spices such as cinnamon, clove and ginger and plenty of milk, it tasted quite like chai and was the soothing drink for which I was hoping.
Fumie-san is now manning the café alone on weekdays during lunch hours, so it may take time for the orders to get out but I think it’s totally worth the healthy and filling meals and the warm and cozy atmosphere to enjoy them.☺
Update: Less than a week later, I went to huku cafe for lunch and to get caught up on things and just relax, taking advantage of yet another two days off in a row. Chieko-san was there because it was a national holiday; it had been a while, so I was glad to see her. Also, to my surprise and delight, Ryo, came for the first time after I recommended the café to him! I hadn’t seen him for almost half a year, so we filled each other in. Ryo is 10 years younger than me but he is probably more mature than I am. One of the many reasons I appreciate him is because he feels the same way about cafés as I do.
We both had the new item on the menu, ポークと野菜のクリームシチューpohku to yasai no kuriimu shichuu (pork & vegetable cream stew), ￥1200, which came with barley bread…I’ve been wanting to try it since hearing about it from Fumie-san. Besides the fresh cream used in the soup, the rest of the creaminess came from the chunky vegetables. All the ingredients were stewed to perfection and the bread, also used in the sandwiches, was a great complement for the stew, not losing its crispy and chewy texture even when soaked with stew…I found out today that it’s from Flip up!, a bakery close by on Oshikoji Street. Although the stew isn’t on the regular menu, it’s still worth coming to see if it’s available, especially with the cold days we’ve been having (Ryo was pleased with it, too).
Ryo had the blended coffee for an extra ￥200 with lunch while I had my usual café au lait. I went to (my usual?) seat at the counter so we could both take advantage of our café experience as planned.
Although I was full, yes, I got dessert not too long after ordering my drink, the dessert of the day, ホットチョコデニッシュ、アイスクリーム添えhotto choko denisshu, aisu kuriimu-zoe (hot chocolate danish with ice cream), ￥750, which also comes with fresh cream and grilled banana slices; it comes with vanilla ice cream, too, but I just wanted the pistachio one. I don’t like danish but this was soft and moist, not as flaky as I attribute danish to be, and chocolatey without being too sweet. I shared a bit with Ryo who was immersed in a book at that time and he also was impressed.
And this was supposed to be the satisfying end to the day, except I stayed long enough to crave a bit of dinner. When I asked for suggestions on what to order, Chieko-san recommended the ベーコンと黒大根のスパイシーサンドbehkon to kuro-daikon no supaishii sando (spicy bacon & black radish sandwich), ￥900, which came with carrot rappé and sweet potato salad. Although I wasn’t starving, I went through that sandwich fast, it was so good! The rich flavoring, a sensational mix of Japanese and Western flavors, of the contents of the sandwich blew me! Now I could see why Chieko-san had raved about it. Just another reason for me to be drawn to huku cafe!
However, with winter ending, a lot of root vegetables will be unavailable, so Fumie-san is thinking of other vegetables to replace the ones already in use…for this sandwich, maybe zucchini? There’s also a sweeter version of a sandwich with bacon.
Update: Five days later, when Rika and I had planned to meet, I suggested having dinner at huku cafe to which she agreed immediately…she had been curious about the place since I started posting pictures of the fare I’ve had there on Facebook. I had time after getting off work, so when I arrived in the area I browsed a bit in the nearby 大垣書店Ogaki Bookstore a bit and stopped in at Flip up! and bought some bread…I still got to huku cafe half an hour before we were supposed to meet, so I took the liberty of procuring us the four-seater right in front of the kitchen; just when I thought that she’d be coming through the door, I noticed a text from Rika saying that she was running an hour late, at which I ordered the caramel half-size waffle and a café au lait to tide me over (I’d had a small lunch so that I could eat a lot at the café) until she arrived…the magazines at the café kept me entertained, one of my favorite ways to spend time at a café.
I also talked with Fumie-san and Chieko-san when they were free; Fumie-san even let me taste the sauce she was contemplating using for a possible “huku-style” Eggs Benedict that Chieko-san had for lunch which Chieko-san raved about the whole time that she was eating it. I was able to ask Fumie-san why she named the café “huku cafe”: since her parents were her two biggest supporters in opening the café, she decided to take the first part of her mother’s name and changed the “f” to an “h”, the first letter of her father’s name, in naming the café.
When Rika finally arrived, it took time for her to go over the menu, because everything just sounded so good. Since she’d snacked a bit before coming, she chose one of the lighter dishes, a recent addition to the menu that I’ve yet to try, にんじんとさつまいものグラタンninjin to satsumaimo no guratan (carrot & sweet potato gratin), ￥850 (sorry, no picture this time), so she could have the chocolate French toast about which I’d posted before for dessert afterward (I ordered Jeera rice and spicy-meat omelette again). Rika gave me a taste of her gratin: naturally sweet from the vegetables used and rich due to a sauce that comprises also of tomatoes, it was a wise choice for such a cold, rainy day and worth the 20 minutes that it takes to bake it.
To my surprise near the end of our meal Fumie-san said that we could try a tentative huku cafe風エッグベネディクトhuku cafe-fuu (-style) Eggs Benedict for a tentative price of ￥800; of course we didn’t pass up the opportunity.☺ Thickly sliced bacon and poached egg on butter-sautéed toast topped with a delectable sauce made with carrots and mascarpone cheese, not your usual Eggs Benedict at all but I think I may like this one better. What accompanies the dish and the price will probably change in the near future but I think our reactions after sharing one prompted Fumie-san to immediately put it on the menu.
(Unfortunately, the Eggs Benedict is no longer available for ordering.)
Rika was impressed with how healthy, tasty AND filling the meals are at huku cafe and plans to come again…another fan is born.☺
Update Two weeks later when I went for some nourishment and relaxation before reuniting with Margaret with Mason and some JET friends, I had Chieko-san’s recommendation from last time: ロースポークとオレンジマーマレードのホットサンドrohsu-pohku to orenji mahmarehdo no hotto sando (hot pork-loin & orange-marmalade sandwich), ￥950, to whichI added soup. Instead of being pressed with a sandwich press, Fumie-san grilled it up with butter in the frying pan to which the golden color attests. The combination of pork loin and orange marmalade made for quite a gorgeous sandwich, the sweet flavor of the marmalade toning down the richness of the meat…another satisfying sandwich experience.
Before I left, Fumie-san relayed Chieko-san’s (she wasn’t working that day) next recommendation…I’m starting to see a pattern here…
Update: A week later, I was back for lunch to take it easy before meeting Rika to go to the 東山花灯路Higashiyama Hanatouro. Chieko-san was here this time and although she recommended the new vegetable & herb rice bowl, I ordered her recommendation from last time, フレンチトーストFrench toast, ￥750, which I got with my latest huku cafe addiction, the spice milk tea (the cup that the tea comes in reminds me of the cup that my café au lait comes in at 月と六ペンスTsukitorokupensu).
I started feeling hungry some time before meeting Rika, so I thought I’d have the lightest meal on the menu, the タマゴトーストサンドtamago tohsuto sando (toasted egg sandwich), ￥750. Using two thick slices of bread and three eggs to make the fluggy fried egg inside, it was not light at all considering it also came with three little sides of deli; the condiment spread on the toast was a tomato-based sauce that could even be used as the sauce for some good spaghetti. Now I’ve tried all the sandwiches here and I have found them all satisfying in their own unique way.
Fumie-san is thinking of starting a huku cafe page at Facebook in the near future, so please be on the look out; of course I’ll try to let everyone know when I do, though.☺
Update: Less than two weeks later, I headed to huku cafe to finally try the 豆鼓とやさい、ハーブの黒米丼tohchi to yasai, hahbu no kuromai-don (fermented black beans, vegetable & herb rice bowl), ￥1100, which has been popular with female customers since joining the menu. A unique fusion of Western (due to basil, dill and olive oil) and Asian tastes (due to 豆鼓tohchi (fermented black beans), 豆板醤tohbanjan (a Chinese broad-bean chili paste) and sesame oil), it was fragrant and tasty as well as healthy and filling. Fumie-san recommends having a mouthful with basil before having another mouthful, this time with dill, first before enjoying the dish in any combination desired. Although it usually doesn’t come with this dish, Fumie-san gave me some turnip soup on the house.
Fumie-san made tentative scones today and let me try one which I decided to have with spice milk tea.
It wasn’t sweet but I liked it that way (it reminded me of biscuits in the States, yum!). It comes with fresh cream for those who like scones sweeter. Anyway, this and muffins are possibilities for the near future, some changes to look forward to.
Update: Two days later I went to huku cafe although I had a headache but that’s because I knew their wholesome food would make me feel better.
I finally had the デリープレートdeli plate, ￥1400, which came with the buckwheat-flour bread I love. Along with the usual huku cafe salad fare (green salad, honey-mustard sweet potatoes, spicy chick peas), there were four deli items, two of which I’ve had before (potato quiche, ratatouille), a curried cauliflower concoction and lotus-root & cottage-cheese concoction. Each deli was unique and tasty in its own way; I’m not exaggerating when I say I can’t express how satisfied and happy I was to have ordered it…my headache was pretty much gone when I left.
When I got up to pay after also having spice milk tea, Fumie-san remembered that she was going to let me try one of the biscuits she made last night (because of my opinion?)…of course I sat down again to try it!
I would consider what I had an American-style biscuit with a crispy outside and rich soft layers inside…I preferred the blueberry jam with it rather than the fresh cream with which it came, though; maybe honey or syrup would be even better. This biscuit will probably be served as part of a drink set with any drink they serve for ￥700; I can’t wait to try it when it finally appears on the menu complete.
Update: Two weeks later I was back to try the latest sandwich, マンチェゴ(羊乳チーズ)とわさび菜のサンドイッチスープセットmanchego (yohnyuu chiizu) to wasabina no sandoicchi suupu setto (Manchego (goat cheese) & wasabi-leaf sandwich soup set), ￥1200. Today’s soup was full of vegetables and satisfying. And the sandwich, which came with the usual huku cafe deli, was better than I’d expected: the melted savory cheese and lightly-sautéed wasabi leaves were an ideal combination, another addictive menu item.
Today I just wanted to sit and stare out the window…of course I ended up chatting with Fumie-san and Chieko-san between customers and work, too…when I got tired, they encouraged me to close my eyes for a bit…gosh, it’s so easy to make myself at home here! I ended up staying long enough to have 野菜とひき肉のセミドライカレーyasai to hiki-niku no dorai kareh (vegetable & minced-meat semi-dry curry), ￥1150, which came with lotus-root pickles, for dinner…a deliciously spicy and thick concoction chock full of vegetables and meat that tasted like American chili over irresistibly bubbly rice that is black rice, I was happy to make this the last meal of the day.
The day before (April 11, 2014) was huku cafe’s second anniversary…Fumie-san prepared Hershey’s Kisses for the occasion. Here’s to another year of adventures at huku cafe!
Update: Less than three weeks later, when I went to huku cafe, I had the オックスフォードソーセージのソテーとサラダのプレートOkkusufohdo sohsehji no soteh to sarada no purehto (sautéed Oxford sausage & salad plate), ￥1300, which came with soup and a choice of black rice or buckwheat-flour bread (I chose bread); I also ordered a 水出しコーヒーmizu-dashi kohhii (Fumie-san called it ダッチコーヒーDutch coffee), or cold brew coffee, for an extra ￥200 (only during lunch). I haven’t had the sausage since Christmas but it was as flavorful and juicy as I remembered…of course the usual huku cafe fare and grilled vegetables were the same tastiness. The coffee had a deep and aromatic flavor and was refreshing for such a warm day…I may be order this quite a few times until fall.☺
I stayed long enough to have a waffle with honey, ￥400 normally, ￥200 when you order lunch before…very much like the half-size waffle that I used to often order.
There are now six kinds of drip-brewed coffee available at huku cafe: ケニアキリマヒガKenya Kirimahiga AA, ブラジル キャラメラードBrazil Caramelado , ペルー クスコ オーガニックPeru Cusco Organic, エチオピア シダモEthiopia Sidamo, エルサルバドル エル・マドリアードEl Salvador El Madriado and the ハウスブレンドhouse blended coffee.
huku cafe has started a Facebook page (see below); you might see some of my pictures which I gave Fumie-san to use☺. Although most of the information will be announced in Japanese, please check it out for up-to-date information…for information in English, check out the Hitori Kyoto Facebook page.
Update: Two weeks later, I was back to have the オリーブごはんとデリープレート、スープセットoriibu gohan to delii purehto, suupu setto (olive rice & deli plate soup set), ￥1250. All the goodness of the deli plate plus a small plate of flavorful olive rice (with bits of pork mixed in) for ￥150 less than the price of the deli plate…what an unbelieveable deal! Fumie-san and Chieko-san laughed when I said they’d lost their minds. It’s not available every day, so check the huku cafe Facebook page for when it’s available).
Update: Less than a week later, I went to huku cafe after work (dropped by 栞栞カフェShiori Shiori Cafe before that, though) to have the latest dish, 野菜とケイジャンポークライスyasai to Keijan-pohku raisu (vegetable & Cajun-pork rice), ￥1200. A bed of lettuce over black rice with a good amount of sautéed vegetables and pork over that, it was the same hearty huku-cafe portion. The flavoring was fantastic; one has to try himself to know what I’m talking about! “You’re finished faster than usual!”…the staff was amused but that’s just how good this dish was.
I also had the carrot & tomato potage (see the Christmas dinner above for a picture), ￥650.
I shared the chiffon cake that I got from Shiori Shiori Cafe with the staff and Fumie-san gave me coffee on the house to have with them…I asked for ペルー クスコ オーガニックPeru Cusco Organic in an espresso cup. It was light and easy to drink; I’ll definitely have the regular size next time.☺
Update: Over two weeks later, I went back to huku cafe to have the green curry after Fumie-san had announced that it was available on the huku cafe Facebook page. I was too full to have anything except a café au lait but I wanted to try it with one of the specialty coffee, Kenya Kirimahiga AA, at an extra ￥50…Fumie-san obliged to my request. And as I’d suspected, it was a stronger-flavored café au lait, just what I wanted.
No surprise that I stayed long enough to have dinner with all the organizing that I had to do…I ordered the newest sandwich, トマトとイタリア産のチャバタサンドtomato told Italia-san no chabata sando (tomato & mozzarella-cheese (from Italy) ciabatta sandwich), ￥900, which I had with ぶとうジュースbudoh juusu (grape juice) made from wine grapes. All ingredients I like (ciabatta, (especially sweet) tomato, mozzarella, basil, olive oil) and feel go well together, it was delicious and was the light dinner that I wanted on this especially warm day. And the grape juice, crisp and flavorful, more elegant than one’s image of grape juice, was a suitable complement…I went home content.
Actually over a week before this visit, huku cafe hosted its first event called オリーブオイルを食べませんか。食事会Oliibu oiru wo tabemasen ka? shokuji-kai (“Won’t you have some olive oil?” Party) for which Fumie-san prepared numerous delicacies that went well with seven kinds of olive oil of which she approved…it was pretty much a full house, many of the participants being regular customers who brought friends…the only people I knew were Ryo and Itsumi-san. Needless to say, everyone left stuffed but yet there was still SO MUCH food left in the end (I know because I was the last one to leave and even helped them to clear the tables)…￥2500 was a good deal for the spread and the fun time spent there. The next event (the theme is つくだ農園Tsukuda Plantation vegetables) is scheduled for July 20th and it’s already pretty much reserved!
Update: A week later, I was back for more green curry after seeing it announced on huku cafe’s Facebook page…there was a new dessert, 厚切りハニートースト～フロマージュブランのせatsugiri hanii tohsuto ~furomahju buran-nose (thick honey toast topped with fromage blanc), ￥700, that I couldn’t resist having (I had it with iced coffee). It goes without saying that honey and fromage blanc is a perfect match, setting this honey toast apart from other honey toasts. I definitely want to have this again!
(Unfortunately, this toast is no longer available.)
Update: huku cafe has been adding some changes to its exterior (more pictures and explanations at the entrance to entice passers-by to come in) as well as some changes to its interior to make it even more homey and ideal for relaxing, whether you come alone or with a friend. As for the menu, as one can see, there are often new rice dishes and sandwich options as well as new coffee and dessert which means some of the less popular items get the boot although everything is worth ordering; ingredients of certain permanent options are due to change based on the produce of the season which gives the usual plate an interesting twist.
Since I go so often, there is no end to updates to any changes I may encounter, so for future updates, please check out the Hitori Kyoto Facebook page.
Update: As of October 11, 2014, huku cafe closed its doors after two years of service due to circumstances but fortunately Fumie-san hasn’t given up on restarting huku cafe eventually, perhaps even in another area of the city, so please stay tuned at huku cafe’s Facebook page or here and the Hitori Kyoto Facebook page.☺
Update: Although huku cafe is still not ready to open its doors again, I had an opportunity to have huku cafe’s green curry and salad bowl again at an ideal collaboration with Sentido; about a month later, there was another collaboration event for chili rice…hope there are more plans for such events until huku cafe can reopen.☺
Address: 京都区新町通り押小路下る中之町 32 BOXHOUSE 2F Kyoto-fu. Kyoto-shi. Nakakyo-ku. Shinmachi-dori. Oshikoji-sagaru. Nakano-machi 32. BOXHOUSE 2F
Telephone number: 075-221-7566
Access: 地下鉄烏丸線烏丸御池・東西線烏丸御池駅から337m(徒歩５分) 337m (5 minutes by foot) from Subway Karasuma Line Karasuma Oike Station or Tozai Line Karasuma Oike Station or 地下鉄東西線二条城前駅から徒歩約5分5 minutes by foot from Subway Tozai Line Nijo-jo Mae Station…no parking available but there are several car parks nearby.
Business hours: Monday, Saturday 12:00-10:00pm
Sunday, national holiday 12:00-9:00pm
Café Holiday: Tuesday & Wednesday
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hukucafe/