Founded in 1971, La Voiture is in the first café book that I bought and I’ve been wanting to go there for over a year; Yuri had seen the café on TV before (not surprising since it was awarded a certificate from the Tarte Tatin Lovers Association in France in 2006) and had been wanting to go as well..make that people from all over Japan. La Voiture originally opened as a French restaurant but was renovated into the café that we know now in 1981 because the tarte Tatin that was served in the restaurant was such a hit; the owner, Yuri Matsunaga, who is now in her early 90’s and her husband’s encounter with tarte Tatin was upon a visit to France long ago. Since the tarte Tatin is made from scratch, the café could only produce two pies a day, so when a party of two or more would come in and one would order a tarte Tatin, Yuri-san would suggest the others order the くるみのタルトkurumi no taruto (walnut tart) which is also a recommendation.
The café is now run by their granddaughter, Maya, who inherited the recipes for the tarts (I think she’s able to churn out enough tarte Tatin to satisfy the daily demand) and cake served but Yuri-san is said to come in everyday to check out the situation (and possibly have some tarte Tatin? ☺).
In mid-November last year, Yuri (my friend, not the founder ☺) and I went to La Voiture while around the 平安神宮Heian Shrine area trying to get some 紅葉kouyou, or fall leaves-viewing, before getting busy with end-of-the-year engagements. It was no surprise that there was a line to be seated and although we had planned to do some more leaves-viewing before coming back (we had just finished lunch at cafe/gallery Rokujian), I convinced Yuri that we could work up our appetites while waiting for a seat.
the simple yet cute exterior which reminds one of a charming little country house
just as charming inside…that’s the founder, Yuri-san’s, personal table against the wall.
I was hoping to get that seat that looks out to the front of the café; the chaise looked so elegant.
the adorable pop-up menu that we were given to decide what to order when we could be seated
Were we in luck: we got that table that I was hoping to get! Although all the options for dessert on the menu looked promising, we ordered the famous タルトタタンtarte Tatin, ￥630, and some ホットコーヒーhot coffee, ￥420, too…things couldn’t be more perfect. ☺
Thickly layered with Fuji apples (because they’re the only ones that can withstand being boiled for five hours to become that caramel color) and topped with a yogurt sauce, the tarte Tatin was rich in a simply delicious way…I could have had another one.
When we finally finished and were preparing to head to the register to pay, a small little woman hobbled in slowly but with purpose; we let her pass first. When she sat at the table reserved for Yuri, we finally realized who she was; most of everyone in the café seemed a little stirred up from her arrival. While paying, we tried not to stare at her too much but once we got outside, Yuri and I gazed at her a bit (I guess you could say we were kind of starstruck ☺) before heading home…one of these days, if allowed, I’d love to exchange at least a few words with her!