One of the things gained from all this rainy weather is an excuse to visit the kisaten (coffee shop). This particular coffee shop isn’t particularly on my way home though so I hadn’t been to eager to stop in. It’s hidden away in the cut, an eerie walk down the alley way (right before entering Mikasa Tunnel) and, depending on which way you’re coming from around the corner. A black and white awning overshadows the face of the building.
I reached out my hand to pull back the metallic handle that held onto the door, below the hanging tin doorknocker of a sign with the letters C-A-F-E A-N-T-I-Q cradled in the crescent of a moon as the four legged animal jumps over . On the other side of door handle was the set of that 70’s show. Okay, not really, but I spent too much time trying to think of a more accurate screen production. Maybe my Great Grandmother’s dining room. A whisper of light from the variety of low hanging and standing lamps, the tick of the lighting range, the trickle of the faucet, the exhale of shifting floorboards and aging chairs, scattered antique books, luggage and vases.
A menu scribbled in chalk hung from a chain, to the left of the mirror that was encircled by the floral filigree, below the stained ceiling on the roughly exposed sheetrock, nail scarred walls. As you would expect, the menu offered coffee, tea, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, a few desserts, and even lunch specials- roast pork, roast chicken, tandoori chicken, salmon salad, and a couple others.
I thought my Japanese was getting better but as I nibbled away at the rich morsel of creamy cheesecake with its chewy cookie crust, I had to ask myself, didn’t I order a hazelnut latte? But I was to prideful to turn away the small bowl of soup that arrived to the table adorned with a crouton to its side on the soup plate. Instead, I decided to give it a try.
After one spoonful my face tightened in contemplation, soon giving way to silent smirk. The soup was… creamy, a bit sweet and nutty, with the warming spice of fall and winter. The soup was- it was, MY LATTE!!! But in a bowl?! Why? I continued to sip from the spoon, until my arm grew tired. My bowing head swung to the left and right before finally sneaking sips straight from the bowl. And that suspicious crouton? A short bread cookie, buttery and rich like the golden treasures that hide in the white frilled tissue cups under the blue tin lid of the Danish butter cookie pan of my childhood.
The first time I visited, I was almost sure I read or heard “no pictures”. But recently, I didn’t find nor did I want to find evidence of that rule so snuck you this one. Black Coffee
This place has something going for it. But I couldn’t help but think of Mori-San, from Café Continue. Had a betrayed him? I had to go! I’ll have to try the lunch some other time. Kaikei onegaishimasu!
Open Wed-Sun from 12pm to 9pm