One of my friends swears that things that are limited edition always taste better. I wonder if his thinking also extends to pop-up cafes. If that’s the case, he would immediately be smitten with Chotto café with its temporary nature and name, which means just for a little while.
This temporary café is tiny. It’s all clean white lines and minimalist wooden décor. As soon as you walk in your eyes are immediately drawn to the very impressive and changing ikebana arrangement in the centre of the communal table. The whole café only has seating for around 14 people. Bookings are recommended for groups larger than 4.
A few things were sold out on the day, such as the matcha latte which I had wanted to try. However, I was more than happy with the houjicha latte. This was slightly nutty and had a nice earthy taste, but was just a touch too sweet for my preferences. I completely adored the little tray that the latte was served in though!
Ryan opted for a filter coffee. I can’t remember exactly what blend this was but when I had a taste it was smooth and had a very mellow taste. He said that it was a well extracted filter coffee, and as he has much more experience with coffee than I do, I trust his judgement.
This wasn’t a traditional tamago kakegohan. As instead of a raw egg, there was an onsen tamago on top of the rice. To help add flavour to the bowl, it was complimented with a homemade seaweed furiakake and pickles. It also comes with a side of miso soup which was on the saltier side. We also ordered some chicken tsukene on the side to supplement the rice. The chicken meatballs were tender and juicy. Each bite was just packed with flavour from the grill and the mix of ginger and onion.
The don on the day. This was a duck don with a miso sauce. The serve of duck was incredibly generous. Each carefully slice piece of duck was fatty and juicy. It was actually a touch too fatty for me that morning, as I had a very heavy dinner the night before so I made Ryan finish it for me. Not that I think he minded.
The rice for both dishes hails from the region of Akita and is cooked in the traditional way in a clay pot. Precisely because of this each grain of rice is plump, slightly toothsome and incredibly delicious. I’m not a big fan of rice, having consumed it for much of my life and subsequently getting tired of it, but if I would sleep in a bed made out of this fluffy rice if I could.
Japanese pudding, or purin, is more flan than pudding, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of my favourite desserts. This was an excellent rendition. I generally think that purin, when served from small glass jars, is always better. This was no exception. The purin was melt in your mouth soft whilst the caramel had the slight bitter taste that is characteristic of purin.
The presentation of everything was immaculate. I was in love with wooden spoons and irregularly shaped bowls. I instantly knew that I was going to like chotto just from how amazing the whole place smelt when I walked in. It’s definitely on the expensive side, but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The worst thing about chotto is that it isn’t permanent!