Opened in early July this year, knot café is a small establishment close to 北野天満宮Kitano Tenmangu Shrine that serves coffee and drinks, including alcohol, and sweets, also available for take-out. The drinks and sweets, however, are interesting fusions of New York (they import coffee beans from Cafe Grumpy and chocolate from nunu chocolates there) and Kyoto (coffee beans from ガルーダコーヒーGARUDA COFFEE and tea from 一保堂Ippodo as well as sweets on behalf of 長五郎餅本舗Chogoromochi-honpo and 千本玉壽軒Senbon Tamajuken) .The café gets its name from its desire to be used to tie 人hito (people), ものmono (things/objects) and ことkoto (matters)…at times they serve as a café and at times they may (k)not.☺
I first learned of knot café through Eriko-san whose Instagram account I follow and since it’s in the area I’ve been frequenting of late, I decided to stop by at the end of last month before heading to ひだまりHidamari close by.
a stylish Western-style exterior that blends in with the Kyoto neighborhood scene
When I walked in, there was only one male customer who might have been an acquaintance since he appeared to be on friendly terms with the two female staff members but he left soon after I ordered. I took a seat at a two-seater table in the middle of the dining area with tables (the sliding door to the restroom was right behind me).
the kitchen area
There is also counter seating, pretty ideal for watching the scene outside (what little there is of it since the café is on a small road off of 今出川通Imadegawa Street, across from residential houses☺) and for plenty of daylight.
The inside is a wonderful fusion of Japanese and Western taste; it reminded me of a sophisticated country house. With the calming atmosphere and the comfortable chairs, I could see myself wanting to stay for a long time and the staff definitely welcomes that.
After conferring with one of the staff members who seems to be the owner or at least the one in charge and remembering what Eriko-san had ordered, I decided on a カフェ・グランピー エスプレッソ・トニックCafé Grumpy espresso tonic, ￥600, with nunu chocolates×長五郎餅本舗Chogoromochi-honpo チョコレート大福chocolate daifuku, or chocolate bean paste covered with a thin layer of rice cake, ￥350, and nunu chocolates×千本玉壽軒Senbon Tamajuken kitano brownie, ￥400.
The light-roast espresso and the lime-flavored tonic made for a coffee experience that I’ve honestly never had; although I’m not a fan of fruity coffee, this was delicious and refreshing…it’s available for only the summer but if there happens to be a request off-season, the staff said they might oblige.☺ The daifuku was fantastic with the perfect mix of New York chocolate and Japanese bean paste that went so well with the rice cake which actually sparkled, I kid you not! Also, a mix of New York and Japanese goodness, the brownie was softer than my image of a brownie and more like a mix between bread and rice cake but it was a treat nonetheless. I definitely want to have these two sweets again!
I ended up staying a lot longer than I’d planned and since I still had some espresso tonic left, I ordered the nunu chocolates×千本玉壽軒Senbon Tamajuken choco bouro, ￥250.
The bouro is basically a buckwheat cookie stick covered with chocolate. And it was delicious, too, great for having with coffee.
So basically I tried everything except the 生蜂蜜・ジェラートnama-hachimitsu, or raw-honey gelato but I’m sure that’s only a matter of time, though.☺
I got to talk to both of the staff members, but especially the one who I thought was the owner, before leaving, about private matters as well as the café. Actually, they were sweet to every customer and went the extra mile to make everyone’s stay pleasant. They plan to add light meals to the menu eventually as well as other sweet…can’t wait to try them!☺
FYI: The prices stated don’t include tax.
Update: Almost a month later, I was back at knot café to have the だし巻きサンドdashimaki sando (Japanese rolled-omelette sandwich), あんバターサンドan-batah sando (bean-paste & butter sandwich) and カフェグランピー水出しアイス・コーヒーCafe Guranpii mizudashi aisu kohhii (Cafe Grumpy cold-brew coffee) new that I had seen on their Facebook page. The sandwiches are made with Le Petit Mec bread and are perfect sizes for a snack rather than a meal unless you don’t need much to fill your stomach. The flavors of the egg and the bean paste are subtle but tasty and the bread is soft but crispy on the outside. The iced coffee was light and refreshing and a pretty color like that of dark tea.
I sat at the same table as I did before, the one closest to the entrance, and there was one other female customer who seemed to be a friend of one of the staff members for most of the time. The staff member who I had taken as the owner is actually the manager in charge; the owner is male and comes in every once in a while to check on things. I got to talk some more with her; she mentioned seeing my blog entry on the café and thanked me for my support. I look forward to seeing what other goodies they have coming up on their menu.☺
Other things to be had:
Address: 〒602-8387 京都市上京区今小路通七本松西入東今小路町Kyoto-shi. Kamigyo-ku. Imakoji-dori. Shichihonmatsu Nishi-hairu. Imakoji-cho 758-1
Telephone number: 075-496-5123
Access: 京福電鉄 北野白梅町駅から徒歩10分minutes by foot from Keifuku Railways Kitano Hakubaicho Station
Business hours: 10:00am-6:00pm
Café holiday: Tuesday
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/knotcafe.kyoto