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le café japonais

le café japonais (Arles)

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The sign of this former butcher’s shop on Rue du 4-Septembre had the “rie” chopped off the end, so now it just reads “Bouche”… but it’s still a sight to behold! The new owner, Marina Otsuoka, a Japanese expat who used to live in Berlin, transformed this neighborhood shop into a Japanese café, which doubles as an art gallery and a shop for objects crafted by her artist partner Hervé Humbert – including the massive rice paper light fixture… On the very short menu: teas brought over from Japan (iconic sencha and genmaicha teas), mouthwatering cakes (like the delicious chestnut-coconut cake), very cute mini financiers, and best of all, traditional wagashi (stuffed rice flour confections), which are sculpted like little gems, and which pair perfectly with a moussey cup of matcha – like you’d have at an authentic Japanese tea ceremony. But all you diehard coffeeheads can take it easy, the house also serves their very own brew, roasted in Arles by Cafar. // Jean Pascal 

The hidden gem: The yuzu wagashi, shaped like a small purple plum (€12 with a cup of matcha). 

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