Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Cafe Karirenge 火裏蓮花 : Best Matcha Milk Cake?

There is some places that I would like to keep it a secret. This is one of them. 

That said, the location is quite hidden so it doesn't really matter if I share them here. If you can find it, good for you. If not, then better luck next time :P
Tucked somewhere near Oike-dori is a tiny cafe which is renovated from a machiya. Hence, you feel as if you are stepping into someone's house with a garden in the backyard, except that there is a small counter that serves as a station for making coffee and cashier, as well as tables that are cramped side by side. Trust that the Japanese are clever at utilizing the space. 

The menu isn't extensive but there are two reasons why I came here. First, the quirky blue cheese cheesecake (¥700). Blue Cheese? Yes, the thought of blue cheese into a cake perked my curiosity and I would not leave Kyoto without trying this. Served cold from the chiller with some funky sake-spiked orange peel sauce, this is not icy at all but extremely dense. 
Yet it isn't as rich as a New York Cheesecake because I didn't taste as creaminess of that sort. It feels like eating cheese, a very pungent one, but its unique character is what makes me fall in love with it. With a walnut base and chewy figs mixed into the batter, this cheesecake oozed so much charm and left me speechless. 
In fact, most people come here for another signature item; the Matcha Milk Cake (¥650). Aesthetically, it reminded me of a half baked castella cake that contains a semi-liquid center. As such the taste turned out predictably similar to the one from Zen Kashoin with respect to the honey-like sweetness. 
It was good but did not have any impressive element that left me dazzled. I like the idea of mopping the cake with the bitter matcha sauce and the crunchy rice cracker balls that lent a savoury touch to this dessert. 

Be prepared to wait for your food but it's a good opportunity to put away your phones, admire the beauty of the architecture and rest your weary minds.

Cafe Karirenge 火裏蓮花
Japan, 〒604-8101 京都府京都市 中京区柳八幡町74-3
Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Yanagihachimancho 74-3
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm
Sat/Sun/PH 11.30am-6pm
No fixed holiday

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