Friday, March 18, 2011

Sarasa Pausa, Kyoto (サラサ麩屋町PAUSA)

We'll return to this theme repeatedly over the next couple reviews, but the neighborhood blocked out by the Kamo River and Karasuma Street on the east and west, then Oike Street and Shijo Street on the north and south, is probably the coolest in the world. It has all the old-fashioned, mildly touristy charms of Nishiki Market, Pontocho, and hundreds of well-preserved old houses now serving various purposes ranging from pickle shop to architect's office to (still) house...but it also has more French/Italian restaurants, used/hip clothing boutiques, craft stores, bike stores, hair salons and stylish cafes than you can responsibly shake a stick at. We spent hours walking around, just loving the quirky mix.

Hours of walking around breed deep desires for seating, and the Spanish-themed frontage and blatant cake display of Pausa were very welcoming.

It's uncanny how this neighborhood lets you walk past a 200-year old house and directly into a cafe that could have been gently extracted from Daikanyama, or more likely Shimokitazawa. Posters of bands and concerts and art exhibits, bright colors, plants.

Girls. Only girls. Places that attract mainly female clientele are usually good, aren't they? (Pink-themed cafes aside. I mean girls over a certain age.)

So a hot beverage and a snack is in order after a 7:30 train, 3 hours travel, and 3+ hours of walking up and down Kyoto's outlying hills. Pausa is nice in that their cake sets let you get whatever drink you want, even the fancy 'Moroccan Mint Tea'. It's a lot of fun to speculate on which elements are Moroccan - the pot, the water, the cup, the bowl, the mint? I'm not sure if pouring hot water on fresh mint and calling it tea will make you feel like you're 'riding the Marrakesh Express', but it's better than it sounds. Worth doing if you can grow mint on your balcony or in the garden.

Cakes at these places are much the same; this was a white chocolate cheesecake, and was serviceable. We serviced the hell out of it, I'll tell you that.

Good for a little break, a drink and cake, a pasta...

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, white chocolate cheesecake, just has to be better than what passes for cheesecake here in my neck o the woods (nr Lisbon). Seeing as I will be staying nearby in September this definitely sounds like it will be worth a visit, I am a sucker for cake.