SHIN-SETSU is located in a small two-floored building in 寺町新京極商店街Teramachi-Shinkyogoku Shopping Street; although it’s in such an especially frequented spot of the bustling shopping arcade, it’s still easy to overlook the place. The restaurant, now cafe, is still on the second floor but the first floor which used to be a gift shop is now a cream soda cafe. Started in 1945 by Shigeru Komori, it is now run by the founder’s grandson and his wife (the cafe is owned by Komori-san’s widow).
For years, many 吉本新喜劇Yoshimoto Shinkigeki comedians have visited SHIN-SETSU in the hopes of being successful as legend has it about the comedians who have visited.
In magazines or books on Kyoto cafes and restaurants, SHIN-SETSU is noted especially for thick and fluffy pancakes grilled up and presented on iron plates; there are also old-fashioned grill meals reminiscent of when it was first founded as well as a substantial drink menu as well as the cream soda cafe.
My first attempt to go with Mason in early April of this year was a failure because we got there just when they had closed at 7:00pm. My next attempt was a week ago during lunch time; not only was I able to dine there, I was the first customer.
I chose a two-seater next to the window at the corner which afforded me a view of the cafe as well as the shopping arcade outside…despite the pop American decor, it felt very much like a traditional Japanese coffee shop.
Besides tables, there was counter seating by the window that looked out on the stairs.
the seating behind me
I chose the プレーンパンケーキとチェダーチーズバーグエッグplain pancake & cheddar-cheese/burg/egg, ￥1280, which I found out later is a popular order (great minds think alike☺), and アイスシナモンプラムティーiced cinnamon plum tea, ￥600.
For pictures of how the food looked inside, please refer to the Hitori Kyoto Facebook page. The cheese/burg/egg was a hamburg steak surrounded by omelette-style egg topped with spicy ketchup and topped with a slice of cheddar cheese…savory and delicious, I had it alone or sometimes with a mouthful of pancake. The pancake tasted more like a mix of pancake and hotcake and was grilled perfectly with a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior; the maple syrup that I was provided was the perfect complement, all I needed to make my pancake experience satsifactory. On my way out, I was presented a ￥50 discount coupon for the cream soda cafe below,
so yesterday, I was back to have a cream soda. When I arrived, there was a family of three in the middle of the cafe and a hitori-sama by the small window. I took the seat furthest away from the entrance next to the window.
Compared to the cafe above which has been around longer, the interior of the cream soda shop was more modern and pop while keeping some of the retro feel upstairs.
the three-seater next to the kitchen and register next to me
the wall behind
Although there was a wide variety of soda, enough to fill one page of the menu, I decided to go with ストリーベリークリームソーダstrawberry cream soda, ￥650.
To tell you the truth, I don’t like cream soda or floats because I’ve never understood the reasoning behind mixing soda and ice cream and would rather have them separately. But maybe Japan has cured my fickleness when it comes to nourishment, but I discovered it to not be so bad…at least strawberry soda was good with vanilla ice cream, the ice cream making the tartness of the soda milder. I look forward to trying other flavors in the near future.☺