In retrospect it was probably a very good thing that I only found this sweet cafe, situated just a stone’s throw from my apartment, a few weeks before I left Kyoto….
Having a cup of coffee and a wee cake (or two – after all how does one choose between the excellent regular items of “tiramisu” above, choux creme or cheesecake and the seasonal specials such as the cherry blossom dessert below) at Cafe Cheka is akin to attending your own private tea ceremony.
The coffee is great – which is not always easy to find in Japan and the cakes/desserts/cookies made on the premises are deeeelicious. (also available to take away) .
The cafe bit is hidden away up some stairs behind the counter of decadence. You select your treat then immediately head to the next level where you order your accompanying drink – confident in the knowledge that, as one of a possible 10 guests max, there is no chance they will bugger up your order.
The service is quiet, efficient and discreet – evocative of a traditional Japanese tea house – even though it is visually very different of course. The 2 waitstaff are simply charming and its the kind of place you can read a book or flick through magazines for hours without being disturbed. A delightful experience you would never imagine awaited you on simply walking past the nondescript shopfront – of course this scenario is fairly typical in Kyoto (and other parts of Japan).
You will find Cafe Cheka on the road that runs along the northern edge of the zoo ( doobutsuen) – a couple of blocks east of Okazaki dori. And only a few minutes walk from the Heian Jingu (shrine). Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.