Kokusei Satei Cafe

A Butterfly Waltz in Okazaki

By Bonson Lam    - 3 min read

It can be tricky making your own soufflé. First you have to make custard from scratch, and then you need to ensure the egg white meringue is fluffy and not over folded. After that you need to ensure the oven heat is just right, so it slowly rises, but not overdo it. Worse of all, it could collapse in the middle. As the cooking instructor said in the movie Sabrina, “The soufflé must be like 2 butterflies, dancing the waltz in the summer breeze.”

So when the opportunity came up to try some soufflé made by someone else in the heart of Kyoto’s Okazaki district, I jumped at it. There are actually two Rokusei establishments on the same block, but for soufflés, come to Satei which is a small thirty seat café.

Rokusei Satei is an institution amongst the food temples of Kyoto. Many aficionados rave about this place; however, a number of locals have never been here. As Kyoto has hundreds of good quality cafes, this is not a surprise, and if you come here late on a weekday afternoon, you can grab a seat quite easily. Don’t linger too long after closing time, or they will start escalating their hints to get you out of here.

For a city that is also known for fusion cuisine (think pasta with gingko nuts eaten with chopsticks, or soya milk donuts and cheesecake), Rokusei Satei keeps strictly to a European offering. Even the menu has a touch of French. For example, Soufflé de Myrtille au fromage blanc on the menu had me racing for my dictionary to work out that it means Cream Cheese Blueberry Souffle, while Soufflé de Courge ​loses its mystique when translated as pumpkin. Other flavors include Banana, Chocolate, and a summer favorite, Coconut & Mango Sauce. Here the key is to mix the sauce with the fluffy soufflé to create a molten sensation.

Like the movie Sabrina, there are detailed instructions. The twenty minute wait while the soufflé is baked allows you to study the 'How to eat our Souffle' instruction card, including warnings about not taking photos when you should be concentrating on when to put the sauce on the soufflé, as timing is everything. By the way, you are allowed to take photos here, and the little stone garden near the entrance is quite photogenic. It exudes a kind of elegance that is suited for “ladies who lunch”.

So, no, I still can’t make a perfectly formed soufflé, but at least I now know how to eat one.

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Bonson Lam

Bonson Lam @bonson.lam

I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric lane ways of Kyoto last century. From the skies above Sapporo to the old charm of Naha's alleyways, I have been enchanted by the beauty and variety on every island. I am humbled to have met many distinguished people in my role as Regional Partner, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperial Family. From sushi cooking classes to Ninja training grounds I welcome your ideas on what you like from JapanTravel.com. Please visit us in Kyoto or Osaka and have some green tea or sake with us. 

Join the discussion

Jeradyne Cheong 6 years ago
That soufflé looks really yum!
Olga 6 years ago
It is really difficult to make a souffle! I tried recently.
Laura Weaver 6 years ago
Brilliant article! Sounds delicious.
JapanTravel Guest
JapanTravel Guest 6 years ago
Wow nice flavours they have there.. I'm always interested in the cafe culture of other countries.
Bonson Lam Author 6 years ago
I would love to go back for their souffle again, you should try it!
Bonson Lam Author 6 years ago
I can imagine a perfect day for ladies who lunch... a ride in a horse drawn carriage on museum mile, and then high tea here! Hat and gloves optional....