Friday, July 1, 2016

Kayaba Coffee: Retro Coffeehouse Since 1938

While the cafe scene in Tokyo gets increasingly hot as new cafes continue to open by passionate young people, there is still many old, retro coffee house that continue to operate since Showa era. One of them is Kayaba Coffee, that still occupies the quaint old architecture at the cross-road junction of Ueno Sakuragi. 



Built as a machi-ya in Taisho 5 (1916), the building was turned into a coffee house by owner Kabaya Inosuke in Meiji 13 (1938) and ran later by his wife and daughter. It continued to be the symbolic spot of Yanesen for over 70 years but closed down in 2006 after the owner's wife passed away. 

Fortunately under the assistance of local NPOs, the space was revitalized and reopened in 2009. From the red leather sofas to the bright yellow signboard that says "Coffee 珈琲", nothing has quite changed from the good old days. 

Even the food menu hasn't quite evolved, there's the old-school tamago sando (egg sandwich) and Russian coffee that would make a perfect breakfast or afternoon tea. Even the Scrambled Eggs on thick toast looked and tasted better than any hotel versions I've had before. The pile of runny eggs was slightly salty but just the right match for the thick plain toast. 
Available from 8am-11am, the morning sets of toasts and a choice of drink is set at a reasonable price of ¥800, which is slightly cheaper than ordering by ala carte. Like most retro cafes, Kabaya also offers desserts like anmitsu or coffee parfait but what interests me was the Matcha Gateau Chocolate. It's dense and cakey like a brownie, but I don't see any problem to have that for breakfast. I love the quiet ambience during my visit on a weekday morning when the place isn't too crowded. 

Come by after 6pm and the menu expands to offer hearty omu rice, curry rice etc. One good thing is that you won't rub shoulders with too many tourists (and I hope it stays this way) 


Kayaba Coffee

〒110-0001 東京都台東区谷中6-1-29
Taito-Ku Yanaka 6-1-29
Mon-Sat 8am-11pm
Sun 8am-6pm 

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