In early February I went to mement mori after work for lunch only to find the place full upon arrival…I was told that it might be at least a 30-minute wait and although I knew I would probably be settled in another establishment by the time they contacted me, I still gave them my name and number…they ended up calling me an hour later when I had already ordered at & noma CAFE.
Well, I had learned my lesson: when I made plans to lunch with Maki exactly a week later and suggested mement mori (Maki was okay with the decision), I called in a reservation for two at noon. I was told that if we were more than 15 minutes late, they would give our seat to whoever was waiting, so after work, I jetted it there by foot and arrived just before noon.
Although the exterior looked chic, one establishment in a row of establishments,
the inside was more natural with stone-like walls and wooden furniture.
Most of the seats were full of customers by then. I was shown to the two-seater with a view of 冷泉通Reisen Street closest to the door.
I took some pictures upon being seated.
the simple kitchen close to the entrance
the corner with the two-seater next to ours (I took this picture after the customers left)
I went to the restroom to wash my hands and tidy up after my walk there and when I came back, I sat down to take another look the place, not knowing there was a glass of water right where my left elbow would go (the shadow cast from the window sill didn’t help at all)..my glass of water fell into the basket with the coat of the woman sitting next to me. The whole café became quiet at the happening. Of course I apologized sincerely and at first the woman seemed annoyed enough to ignore it, so I expressed my regret until she said it was okay. And Maki was a little late (happens quite a bit with her) which meant I was stuck in that situation without any release.
Well, that incident pretty much ruined my visit because although I was sorry for accidentally spilling water on the lady’s coat, especially in winter, I was a bit miffed that the situation was made to be entirely my fault due to the poor placement of water about which I was never apologized to.
Too bad because I really liked the atmosphere of the café and the meal and dessert we had.
今日のごはんプレートkyou no gohan purehto (today’s meal plate), ￥1100, which included 鶏つくねの酒粕煮tori-tsukune no sake-kasu-ni (chicken meatballs stewed in sake lees), ひじきコロッケhijiki no korokke (black seaweed croquette), 菜の花と山芋の白和えnanohana to yamaimo no shiro-ae (rape blossoms & yam dressed with tofu, white sesame and white miso), 赤大根と白菜の煮浸しaka-daikon to hakusai no nibitashi (stewed red radish & Chinese cabbage)・キャベツのオムレツkyabetsu no omuretsu (cabbage omelette), サラダsarada (salad), and 玄米genmai (brown rice).
For ￥200 more, Maki chose アイスティーiced tea while I chose ブレンドコーヒーblended coffee for after the meal to have with 「はなかご」パンのハニートーストhanakago pan no hanii tohsuto (honey toast made with hanakago (a Kyoto bakery) bread), ￥430 (Maki chose to have ice cream with hers for ￥50 more)…the drinks came with button-shaped cookies.
(My button cookies can’t be seen from this angle.)
When I explained to Iori-san about my experience there, he said we must go again so that I can rid myself of that unpleasant experience (mement mori is one of his favorite cafes for light meals)…that day came earlier this month when I was given the afternoon off from work and I contacted Iori-san about doing some café runs to which he agreed.
I arrived before Iori-san so I had plenty of time to enjoy the cherry blossoms lining the canal across the way from my seat while waiting…I was surprised there weren’t as many customers as the first two times I came but then again, it wasn’t the weekend.
the big table in the middle where a few parties may share if not taken up by one big party
Iori-san arrived in outstanding military-style gear and before he joined me, he presented Ai-san, the owner, with gifts from Tokyo (he had just come back that very morning) to share with the staff and me…all these (green-tea & white-chocolate scones and chocolate-chip cake), he arranged on plates provided by the café to get the best photo take.
Iori-san ordered the スフレチーズケーキsoufflé cheesecake, ￥500, and 抹茶ラテmaccha (green tea) latte, ￥500, while I got the しっとりのカトーショコラshittori no (moist) gâteau au chocolat, ￥500 and カフェラテcaffè latte, ￥500…Iori-san’s green-tea latte was served in his very own cup, kept at the café for use when he visits.
The caffè latte was beautiful and delicious but it was the gâteau au chocolat that blew me away: it was definitely moist, especially the part that was the middle of the whole cake which is better described as gooey, with a rich chocolate taste…I tried to make it last as long as possible.
Needless to say, I went away a fan of mement mori, especially because I got to talk a bit to Ai-san (thanks to Iori-san initiating conversation between us)…she seemed to remember the water-spilling incident and apologized for the water; I guess they were just too busy that day to deal with the matter more carefully. Maybe I’ll try to make it on a weekday from now on.☺