Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kobe - Kyukyoryuchi Cafe 旧居留地珈啡庵

One of the many things I love about visiting Japan is the coffee.  For a nation of predominant tea drinkers, they take their coffee seriously.  And Kobe is no different.  In fact, its significance historically as an international port means that it has a very credible heritage with cafes, patisseries and could pass off as any cool European city, only much cleaner.  

We went in search of the alternative to Kobe's Nishimura since we like supporting the underdog from time to time.  From what little information we could find, Kyukyoryuchi has been around since 1971 roasting beans everyday.  Its motto of “being better, not bigger” certainly resonates with me, so off we went, in search of it, literally, since we were not well equipped with a good map and google maps was just not doing its thing.

The silver lining to getting lost is appreciating the city and its architecture, a thing that's easy to do when you're not trying to rush for a meeting.  

Stained glass inside a mall

An old temple right in the old settlement area

Old buildings in old European colors and style

Turns out that the building Kyukyoryuchi Cafe is in is a pretty new commercial building with swanky shops.  But tucked away in the basement, it manages to retain its old world charm with old wooden furniture, and very dim yellow lighting that French cafes from days gone by boast.

My Brazilian
I order a Brazilian at the recommendation of our smiley server and like any good Japanese cafe, it is served in fine porcelain (don't think this was bone china) with a little muglet of cream on the side.  A well balanced cuppa with just the right amount of acidity and has a smooth, almost sweet finish.

French Toast
But the biggest surprise was the French toast.  This is easily the best French toast I've ever had in my life.  The use of a Danish-like bread that was fluffy yet dense (almost scientifically at odds with each other) was a wonder in itself.  The egg coat was gorgeous with a light glaze and strawberries with icing was exactly what they were - icing on the cake (bread).  It's been 3 weeks and I still think of it and when I will get another chance to eat it.

Kobe city has a really good vibe to it and 6 hours just didn't cut it.  Will definitely have to make plans to visit and stay in the city next time.

Kobe Chuo-ku Akashi-cho 31-1 
Kyukyoryuchi Building, B1F
Tel: +81-78-3311070

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