Review: Café Bibliotic Hello! in Kyoto, Japan
Are you into the café culture but are also a night owl? Then Café Bibliotic Hello! is for you!
Named in the typical Japanese fashion of throwing scrabble pieces in a bag and shaking words out, Café Bibliotic Hello! is a charming converted machiya or traditional townhouse. It is located a few streets away from Kyoto’s busy downtown area and is an oasis of calm; an image strengthened by the presence of enormous banana trees surrounding the café exterior.
It is a beautiful building lovingly and carefully furnished by the owner who had an interest in interior design. In a way its mixture of wooden furnishings, changing room heights, old fashioned ceiling fan, greenery and sophisticated atmosphere reminded me of the Studio Ghibli Museum.
When we visited on a late evening the café was lit up with a charming yellow glow and was half empty aside from a few fashionably dressed people. The clientele definitely skewed young in the teens to 20s when we were there and it wasn’t surprising as the place was beautiful in that way where practicality was a secondary concern; as evidenced by the one pretty toilet serving the whole two-storey café. The building was segregated into several areas with a mixture of seating and tables to cater for groups of all sizes and creating many small pockets of space for private conversations.
For the avid instagrammers the highlight would definitely be the wall high shelves of carefully curated design books reaching the ceiling; the books could be read which always gets brownie points from me. Unfortunately the connecting gallery and bakery next door was closed and I couldn’t take any photographs.
So the café was beautiful with a calming atmosphere perfect for working in, but how was the food?
I ordered a mango tart (700.00 JPY / 4.45 GBP) with a melon Cointreau smoothie (900.00 JPY / 5.72 GBP) whilst my boyfriend ordered a souffle cheese cake (500.00 JPY / 3.18 GBP) with an iced coffee (450.00 JPY / 2.86 GBP).
We then ordered two glasses of plum wine. Altogether the items came to around 4,500.00 JPY / 28.62 GBP which was pricey for Japan and reasonable for London, but we were definitely paying more for the atmosphere than the food. Aside from desserts there was a simple western style menu for more substantial meals and the group that came in after us appeared to really enjoy their savoury food.
Our order was beautifully presented and tasted delicious. The portions weren’t the biggest but the mangoes on the tart were fresh and the pastry had a good texture.
The souffle cheesecake was very soft and fluffy.
My smoothie was mildly sweet and very fresh with a distinct melon taste that wasn’t overpowering. It was a very different drink from the iced coffee which came with a separate jug of milk. I had it on good authority that it tasted pretty nice.
The plum wine ended our evening on a perfectly sweet note.
Café Bibliotic Hello! is a very beautiful café with a unique and calming atmosphere that I hadn’t experienced anywhere else in manic Kyoto. It is a little out of the way but definitely worth the journey if you fancy a breather from visiting downtown Kyoto and want to experience a very thoughtfully designed menu. Everything about Café Bibliotic Hello! showed that care was placed in every part of its design, so despite the westernised style of the café it is very much a quintessentially Japanese experience.
Café Bibliotic Hello!
Address: Japan, 〒604-0951 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 柳馬場東入ル晴明町650 Nijo Dori/〒604-0951 京都府京都市中京区 柳馬場東入ル晴明町650 二条通
Opening hours: 11:30 – 24:00 (Closed Mondays)