branche (pronounced bran-cheh) is a café and zakka shop down a small street off 四条通Shijo Street, one street west of 西小路通Nishikoji Street (the closest station is 阪急西院駅Hankyu Saiin Station). Most of the maps say that the café is behind a CURRY HOUSE Coco 壱番屋Ichibanya (I’ve even been there in the past with Mr. Man) but Y! Mobile now occupies that building.
Yesterday I was in the area because Cafe kimidori is closing its doors the very day this will be posted and they have some yummy muffins for which I may regret not going back, so although I had planned to stay at home, I made it out to Kyoto; at last-minute I decided to finally check out branche (I’ve wanted to go since I saw it in the July 2012 Leaf) which was a bit more west of 二条駅Nijo Station from where I’d come.
The café occupies a reformed old home and looks more like the homes that surround it in the neighborhood than any café or shop.
A stroller park? The strollers took me by surprise a bit but I realized why they were better off outside once I entered…anyway, a hint that families or mothers with small children are welcome.☺
One takes off their shoes and puts them in the shoe boxes before putting on one of the slippers in the basket next to the shoe boxes.
the register area
The dining area and zakka shop coexist throughout the building…the view toward the back from the front
a closer look at area furthest back (the table I sat at is on the left)
the dining area seen to the side at the front (the kitchen is beyond the doors ahead)…there were two parties of housewives here when I arrived.
the tatami seating…this is where the young mothers (remember the strollers) and their infants were having lunch when I arrived.
the view of the front from the middle
branche sells 昭和Showa and old-fashioned home goods as well as handmade clothes to encourage a simple, more natural lifestyle. I looked around briefly this time; hopefully next time I’ll be able to stay longer and get a better look at everything.
The café serves meals with mainly a vegetable base as well as homemade desserts. There are three meals: a rice one, a sandwich one and a curry one; I chose the ごはんセットgohan setto, or rice set, ￥1050, which comes with a main dish, five side dishes, salad , soup and rice…the menu for the day was a main dish of 根菜ときのこのシチューkonsai to kinoko no shichuu (root-vegetable & mushroom stew), side dishes of やさい豆yasai-mame (bean mix), 根菜ごま和えkonsai goma-ae (root vegetables dressed in sesame), 切り干し大根kiriboshi-daikon (sliced & dried radish), さつまいもサラダsatsumaimo sarada (sweet-potato salad) and 冷奴hiyayakko (cold tofu), salad with sesame dressing, miso soup and 麦ごはんmugi gohan (barley rice) topped with black sesame seeds.
I’ve found yet another café that satisfies in taste and amount; I loved every dish, even the rice was the perfect texture…I seriously couldn’t see myself having dessert. However, when my after-meal drink (I got コーヒーcoffee) arrived, the presentation convinced me to get the デザートプレートdessert plate for an extra ￥250, quite a deal if you ask me.
When the young female staff who served me told me that dessert included シフォンケーキchiffon, or sponge, cake, チョコパウンドケーキchocolate pound cake and ももゼリーmomo zerii (peach jelly), I didn’t feel too inclined to order dessert to tell the truth but I ended up ordering it anyway because I though I might as well do a full course while I was there…upon tasting the coffee, however, I was more convinced that I’d made the right choice, I was soon to discover that the subtly sweet desserts would only enhance the aromatic, deep flavor of the coffee.
There was only one female staff waitressing when I arrived but by the time all the customers left, I realized there was another young female staff as well as a young male staff who appeared to be the owner (maybe the female staff who served me was his wife?) who rang me up when I left. I pretty much had the place to myself until a couple and their young son came (they chose a seat in the tatami area). I can’t wait to go back, whether it be alone or with another cafe-loving friend.☺