Organic Café Choice.

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DSC_0690The waitress’ smile wides in recognition as we step out of the Kyoto night and into the restaurant. This is our second visit today alone. Not because choice (pun intended) is limited for the kyotan vegan. In fact, the city is a bit of a haven for veg grub in Japan and that is just what sets the scene for places like Choice to flourish.

So what is it then that makes us return for dinner mere hours after we have left from brunch? What makes Choice stick out among the crowd?

Well, first and foremost – by making and offering their own range of vegan cheeses! *angels singing*

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The backstory

With an increased interest for plant based foods and  particularly ways to make vegan cheese, the café founder set out to meet Miyoko Schinner in California back in 2011. Schinner, about to become somewhat of a “health food superstar”, had namely just succeeded in making a fermented cheese out of plants.

Applying the techniques taught by Schinner, albeit adjusted to suit the Japanese climate, soon resulted in the variety of (nutritious yet delicous) nut- & soy cheeses that are served at the café today. Plenty are being used along dishes from the menu, but may I suggest the cheese platter to try a select few?
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It is a full concept

Choice is formed as an open space that invites for conversation between its visitors. The interiors are bright, woodsy and contains plentiful of beautifully printed chalk boards revealing the daily specialities. On the menu you will find veggie burgers, risotto and pancakes along with freshly pressed juices and raw cakes.

One thing I am a big fan of is when chosen coffeeshop or restaurant has spent some time on their menus. A neat layout and something to read while awaiting the food. Choice does this brilliantly with little booklets for anyone to grab. (Even providing me with facts to use in this blog post!). To any café owner out there: do this! This gives customers a chance to be impressed by your particular story, and gives you a chance to brag and boost your efforts, ingredients, awards or whatever you please.


Choice Café & Restaurant
Where |89-1 Suzukikeiseigeka Bldg. 1F,
Ohashi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Subway | Sanjo-Keihan, Exit 2
Website
Cuisine | Vegan, Gluten Free

Le Coccole | A must for any Vegan in Osaka.

DSC_0826Have you ever stepped into a cafe or restaurant so cosy you have been immediately struck by a strong urge to move right in?

That is Le Coccole for you.

It is, undoubtly, also an urge that is massively enhanced after having spent a good half hour trying to navigate yourself around the rain filled streets of Osaka before sundown. Looking up from google maps felt like a right blessing when Le Coccole appeared in front of us.

Because surely Paradise too would be decorated with light bulbs as many.
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Where French Bistro meets the Traditional Japanese

The owner, who singlehandedly runs the place this very April eve, appears a little whimsical (but who would not be on such a multitasking job; seating guests, taking orders and cooking the food fresh simultaneously) but oh-so-lovely!

Having studied the culinary arts in La Belle France she speaks a bit of French alongside her English. Nonetheless, she is a very skillful chef. You can tell the time in France comes through in the style of cooking. Albeit ingredients quentissentally Japanese, there are items typically French, such as quiches and creamed cabbage, to be found on the menu.
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No GMO’s here, no thanks!

Le Coccole prides itself on using locally grown and organic produce to the extent possible. With Japan being one of the world’s largest importers of GM crops, it is ravishing to hear that for most part of the year, the veggies used at this green space are provided by the owner’s own brother and his farm some umpteen kilometres away. (In Nara, where we had just spent the morning — felt like the day had come to a full circle!)

There were a little bit of confusion in regards to the menu. Like Fried Rice around the one thousand yen mark seemed a little over the top. That is, until you realize what a hell of a fried rice it is! I have never in my near 24 years tasted anything like it. Creamy, peanutty undertones and roasted veg.

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We also had a deli plate consisting of hummus stuffed capsicum, a selection of pickled, pureed and cremed vegetables and a tofu quiche. So many delightful flavour combinations! Unfortunately we were in too much of a rush to get back to Kyoto to have time for dessert. There is a version of the menu available in English here.

Plants, light bulbs and mismatched kitchen tiles

Last but not least… the interiors. Oh, we have to talk about the interiors! The deep colours of orange and brown bringing a funky 70’s vibe, knick-knacks like retro coffee tins and souvernirs in shape of fancy hot air baloons (same as I saw in Copenhagen last summer!) from her many travels fill up the space. Plants, light bulbs and mismatched kitchen tiles. There is simply not a dull corner in within this wee gem!


Le Coccole
Where |3-4-1 Kitakyuhojimachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Subway | Hommachi Station
Website
Cuisine | Vegan, Traditional Japanese-French Bistro infusion