Opened in early July 2010, 逃現郷Togenkyo is a machiya café that exuberates all the charm of an old-fashioned Japanese-style coffee shop that draws many a male customer but with sophisticated, artistic points throughout the establishment that appeals to female customers as well. When Hasegawa-san and I were discussing cafes in Kyoto at huku cafe earlier this month, she highly recommended it; I suggested we go together sometime, if I didn’t go alone before that.
Well, we made plans to go sooner than expected…since she knows I like to walk to my destinations in the city, she obliged to walk there with me. We met at 二条駅Nijo Station last weekend where I got off the train from Kameoka, and which is close to where she lives, and made our way to Togenkyo on foot.
the cafe’s beautiful teal noren covering half the door…loving the place already☺
Hasegawa-san always sits in the front at one of the tables along the wall with a long bench when she comes alone…I requested sitting at the four-seater table in the very back next to the then-open door out to the garden and restroom area because it was more comfortable seating for two and the circulation of fresh air was better there (smoking is allowed in Togenkyo).
the view of the café from our seat in the back…check out the charming goldfish basin at the front upon coming in or going out!
the wall across from our table with a curtained window to the kitchen
Upon exiting through this door, the restroom is the first door on the right while the garden is further back to the left…the sliding doors in the back are to rooms that can be rented or used for multiple purposes.
the cute little garden that the owner has taken great care to create
Hasegawa-san had recommended the 自家製スジカレーjikasei suji kareh (homemade sinewy beef curry) but since I felt like having toast, too, I got the half-size, ￥500; Hasegawa-san also ordered a half-size because she had breakfast not too long before we met.
The curry was Japanese-style and neither too soupy nor too heavy, not sweet but not too spicy, perfect for anyone to enjoy; the sinewy beef that they used was distributed evenly throughout the curry…the verdict: pretty good! According to Hasegawa-san, the half-size probably came about because quite a few people asked for less rice when ordering the regular size which comes in a substantial amount; quite a few items on the menu originate from private requests of the regulars…I like that, a café that adjusts to faithful customers☺. It’s one of the few curry dishes that came with more curry than rice, so I had could savor the curry in fullness until the last bite.
After my early lunch, I ended up getting the はちみつバタートーストhachimitsu batah tohsuto (honey-butter toast), ￥300, and ブラジルショコラBrazil Chocolat coffee, ￥400 (￥100 off with the toast), while Hasegawa-san just had her usual インドモンスーンIndian Monsoon coffee, ￥500.
The toast was amazing and its sweet and rich taste made it a good choice to have with my coffee which had a deep flavor with just a tad bit of tartness. Coffee comes with little snacks and chocolate (awesome!) but I didn’t get to have them this time because the toast was enough for me.
ハナコHanako (also called ハナちゃんHana-chan), the cafe’s mascot cat, came down near the end of our visit to check out the scene some before disappearing again.
Each table was occupied and there was only one person smoking at a time while we were there, so the smoke didn’t bother me at all; I just might not come late at night, though, that’s when people are more likely to smoke (too late for me to be out this far from a JR station anyway).
We got to chat with Iori-san, a very stylish and profound staff member who waited on us and served us our food, when he had a moment or two; he even gave me recommendations for cafes and restaurants in Kyoto, two of which I’ve already been before, kàtte and PETIT JAPONAIS…I guess we’ll be getting on well since it seems our tastes in cafes are similar. I also met the friendly, down-to-earth owner before he left for the day; he seemed very interesting, too, as can be guessed from his tastes seen throughout the establishment. I can’t wait to go back and try more food and coffee soon.☺
Update: About five months after my first visit, I dropped by Togenkyo after work and lunch with Masayo-san at Radio Bagel. I had dinner with Hasegawa-san a few days before and knew she would be training during my visit (Hasegawa-san will officially join the staff of Togenkyo in less than a month). Iori-san was also working and I was happy that he remembered me (it also appears that he checked out my blog, yay!). I chose a seat at the counter closest to the entrance and by the stairs…I figured it would be the best place to stay away from as much smoke as possible.
In a serious manner (how cute!) Hasegawa-san brought me my water and took my order…after conferring with Iori-san about coffee, I ordered a ホットアップルサンドhot apple sandwich, ￥600, and マンデリンMandheling coffee, ￥550. I know Iori-san made my coffee with one of the siphons at the counter because I saw him but later I found out that Hasegawa-san made my sandwich. Filled with with plenty of apple, cinnamon and raisin, it was a substantial and yummy eat…the bread was perfectly pressed and I enjoyed the crunchy parts and having the crust that was cut off with syrup and fresh cream, so glad that I could finally have it. The coffee was delicious, too, with a deep flavor and a nice aroma. If only it was a bit more closer and non-smoking…
Other things I’ve had since then:
* ミルクトーストmilk toast, ￥350, and アイスカフェオレiced café au lait, ￥550
Address: 〒602-8441 京都市上京区大宮通今出川上ル観世町Kyoto-shi. Kamigyo-ku. Omiya-dori. Imadegawa-agaru. Kanze-cho 127-1
Telephone number: 075-354-6866
Access: 地下鉄烏丸線今出川駅Subway Karasuma Line Imadegawa Station or 京都市バス停「今出川大宮」下車徒歩１分minute from Kyoto Municipal Bus Stop “Imadegawa Omiya”
Business hours: 10:00am-12:00am
Cafe holiday: Wednesday
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Q.sugahara?rf=414794301898628