I have a bread maker and often have leftover heels of bread, which are ideal for French toast. In theory. In my kitchen, my pain perdu, as the French rightly call it, is more often than not flat, dreary and sans raison d’etre. Which makes the French toast at Malebranche all the better, and mine all the more depressing.
Malebranche is a Kyoto patisserie going from strength to strength. The original shop is located Kitayama, Kyoto’s “cake shop quarter” in the north of the city. It has a shop and cafe in Kyoto Station’s Isetan department store, and now another cafe on the Hachijo side of the cavernous station. The bad news is it is always busy.
This being Kyoto, it makes much ado about matcha (green-tea powder). But I was there for the French toast: voluminous, coquettish, accompanied by a twirl of soft-serve ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup. The green-tea tart, despite its bar-of-soap-like appearance, is as delightful as it is subtle. One more reason to visit: the teapots; beautiful and colorful cast-iron pots from Morioka in Iwate Prefecture.
And even if you’re not in Kyoto, you can sample Malebranche’s selection of green-tea Langues de Chat butter cookies, goma (sesame) caramel pies and baumkuchen layer cakes by ordering online for delivery anywhere in Japan.
Miyako Michi, Kyoto Station and various locations throughout Kyoto; 075-661-3808; www.malebranche.co.jp; open daily; no smoking; cake and drink set menu around ¥1,000; English menu; English spoken.