I first heard of 喫茶ムギKissa Mugi, which opened in mid-June last year, from Hasegawa-san when we were comparing cafes to which we’ve been and since I trust Hasegawa-san’s taste in cafes, I was more than willing to go when she asked me to lunch with her there last weekend.
We met at 二条駅Nijo Station and walked there…it’s on the same street as 喫茶 雨林舎Kissa Urinsha, 姉小路通Aneyakoji Street, walking west. Kissa Mugi, which opened in mid-June 2013, is at the bottom of the owner’s house, so it’s easy to miss it with its subtle sign and exterior.
the area near the door which includes a little shop corner with goods from artists all around Japan all according to the owner’s tastes, from tableware to tea to cloths
I liked how the doors were blackboards.
the counter seating for hitori-samas (plan to sit here when I come alone)
Besides the counter seating there are two tables for two and a table for four…a small and cozy space, I’d say. We chose the two-seater in the middle. Hasegawa-san had researched the 今週の定食konshuu no teishoku (weekly meal), ￥800, before going: it was 春巻きharumaki (spring rolls), so Hasegawa-san wasn’t sure I’d like it since I’m not into all fried foods but I still wanted to try it anyway.
The meal included キャベツとそぼろの春巻きkyabetsuto soboro no harumaki (minced meat flavored with soy sauce), ふろふき大根furofuki daikon (boiled radish), 白菜とじゃこのさっぱり和えhakusai to jako no sappari ae (simply dressed Chinese cabbage & small fish, さつまいものレモンバター炒めsatsumaimo no remon-batah itame (lemon-butter sweet potato stir-fry), スープsoup and 五穀米gokoku-mai (five-grain rice).
The soup was simple but delicious like the rest of the items, o-banzai-style; if all the meals are this healthy and filling, I’m having the weekly meal again.
We decided to add dessert and drink for ￥400 more; Hasegawa-san got 豆乳とおからの焼きドーナツtohnyuu to okara no yaki-dohnatsu (soy milk & bean-curd lees) and coffee while I got ブラウニーbrownie and coffee.
Since I didn’t want ice cream with my brownie, the owner gave me some savory cookie sticks instead which turned out to be quite lovely. My brownie was rich and sweet, the perfect flavor, but not as moist and chewy as I’d been hoping (my search for a decent brownie in Japan continues) but I didn’t regret ordering it at all. The coffee had a deep, rich flavor and was surprisingly good; looks like I’ll be recommending Kissa Mugi as one option for good coffee from now.
It’s unfortunate that the café closes so early (5:00pm), otherwise I could drop by in the evening after work during the week. I definitely want to try the curry (and other sweets and drinks) sometime.
Update: A month later, I went to Kissa Mugi to finally try the curry but to my dismay it was unavailable, so I ordered the weekly meal of 豚肉のネギ巻き・キノコのオイルコンフィ・さつまいもと生姜のマリネ・キャベツとじゃこのさっぱり和え・スープ・五穀米buta-niku no negi-maki, kinoko no oiru konfi, satsumaimo to shohga no marine, kyabetsu to jako no sappari-ae, suupu, gokoku-mai (pork-wrapped spring onions, mushroom oil-confit, sweet-potato & ginger mariné, simply-dressed cabbage & small fish, soup and five-grain rice). Filling and healthy, the tasty meal made up for not being able to have curry.
I got ホットカフェオレhot café au lait with my meal for ￥200 as well as the café’s collaboration dessert with SAVVY in celebration of the magazine’s 30th anniversary, 豆乳とおからの焼きドーナツアイスのせSAVVYスペシルtohnyuu to okara no yaki-dohnatsu (SAVVY special soy-milk & bean-curd lees baked donut topped with ice cream), ￥350, ￥100 off with a meal or drink. I asked for the donut without ice cream but it was still pleasing to the eye topped with cheese cream, raspberry bits and accompanied by a おみそクッキーmiso cookie. The cheese cream and raspberry bits were fantastic complements to the slightly crispy and soft wholesome donut and the cookie that I’ve had before, just in a different form, was as savory and delicious as I remembered it.
I told the kind and gentle owner about my blog post and she thanked me saying she would check it out sometime.
Update: Three weeks later, I went back to Mugi to finally have the curry, especially because they were going to take a two-week holiday after three days. When I arrived, there were no customers, so it was no problem grabbing a seat at the counter, my first time…I think I’ll try to sit at the counter when I come alone because the tables for two are pretty uncomfortable for eating because the tables are so low; I can handle it if I was with a friend, though, but not when I have work to do or want to read while eating.
The エビとココナッツミルクのカレーライス(ミニサラダ付)ebi to kokonattsu miruku no kareh raisu (mini sarada-tsuki) (shrimp & coconut-milk curry & rice with small salad), ￥800, was available to my delight. If I was to do a curry ranking, this would be in the top three…rich and spicy, I didn’t want it to end! Although few, the shrimp was a generous size and the green onions and cashew nut bits topping the curry made it even more delicious.
Of course I got a drink and dessert after this wonderful meal: カフェオレcafé au lait and レアチーズケーキrea chiizukehki (no-bake cheesecake topped with あんずジャムanzu jamu (apricot jam). Light and creamy with a yummy cookie crust, I would have this cheesecake again; the apricot was the perfect complement. The café au lait was easy to drink and soothing as when I’d ordered it last.
I stayed long enough to order a 豆乳とおからの焼ドーナツtohnyuu to okara no yaki-dohnatsu (soy-milk & bean-curd lees baked donut), ￥150; it came with fresh cream but I asked for very little.
Even without the cheese cream and raspberry bits from the SAVVY special version, it was still delicious; I like the grainy, crunchy parts that one comes upon every so often.
The owner had checked out my blog which I was thrilled to hear; she was surprised that I had been to so many cafes.. I can’t wait until their winter holiday is over, I’ll be craving the food for sure.
Update: Almost four months later, I was finally able to go to Mugi when I met Mason for the first time since she came back for a two-month language-immersion program. When I arrived, the big table and a couple of seats at the counter were open; I took the table. I told the owner that Mason would arrive about 30 minutes later and she said she’d wait to take my order then. Before Mason arrived, the place filled up; good thing I went early but it was torturous sitting there because I was hungry…I kept myself busy reading a magazine.
When Mason finally did arrive, we both ordered the weekly meal of ミートボールのトマト煮・もやしのカレー風味・じゃがいもの落花生オイル炒め・トマトときゅうりのマリネ・五穀米miitobohru no tomato-ni, moyashi no kareh-fuumi, jagaimo no rakkasei-oiru itame, tomato to kyuuri no marine, gokoku-mai (meatball tomato stew, curry-flavored bean sprouts, peanut-oil potato stir-fry, marinated tomatoes & cucumbers and five-grain rice.
The side dishes were subtly flavored but my favorite part of the meal were the meatballs: the ingredients that made up the meatball were coursely chopped making for a wonderful texture and the tomato stew was delicious; according to Mason’s idea, we both added rice to the stew to finish it.
Since it was raining, we decided to add dessert and drink to our meal: Mason ordered the no-bake cheesecake that I had last time with a café au lait while I ordered the 本日のスイーツ：バナナとくるみの焼きタルトhonjitsu no suiitsu: banana to kurumi no yaki-taruto (today’s sweet: baked banana & walnut tart).
The tart was yummy, topped with small chopped bananas and walnuts and with an almond-paste filling. The dark-roasted flavor of the coffee was delicious with milk; this is definitely a café au lait I’d order without dessert.
On my way out, I grabbed some rusk made from Mugi’s soy-milk & bean-curd lees baked donut, ￥200.
Mason enjoyed both the meal, dessert and coffee…I won’t be surprised if she makes it there, even alone, again.
Some other palatable orders I’ve had:
* 今週の定食：豚とアボカドの胡麻だれソース・新しょうがとみょうがの甘酢漬け・にんじんのピーナッツきんぴら・もやしのナムル・おみそ汁・五穀米this week’s meal: pork &avocado in sesame sauce, spring ginger & Japanese ginger pickled in sweet vinegar, finely-chopped carrot cooked with peanuts, bean-sprout 나물namul, miso soup and five-grain rice
* 今週の定食：チキンのローズマリー焼き・きゅうりのカリカリ漬け・さつま芋としょうがのマリネ・にんじんのナッツきんぴら・みそ汁・五穀米this week’s meal: grilled rosemary chicken, crunchy pickled cucumbers, marinated sweet potato & ginger, peanut kinpira carrots, miso soup and five-grain rice (when I had lunch with Maki)
Address: 〒604-8424 京都市中京区西ノ京樋ノ口町Kyoto-shi. Nakagyo-ku. Nishinokyo Hinokuchi-cho 105-1
Telephone/FAX number: 075-200-8283
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Access: JR嵯峨野線 二条駅/地下鉄東西線 二条駅から徒歩9分minutes by foot from JR Sagano Line Nijo Station/Subway Tozai Line Nijo Station or 地下鉄東西線西大路御池駅から徒歩9分minutes by foot from Subway Tozai Line Nishioji Oike Station
Business hours: 11:30am-5:00pm (L.O. 4:30)
Café holiday: Sunday & Monday, irregular holidays (please check the website or Facebook for details)
Facebook page: https://ja-jp.facebook.com/kissamugi/