Enjoy Portuguese food culture
Text: Keiko Nakamura / Photo: Yuki Sato
Castella do Paulo is a Portuguese cafe on the right side facing large tori-gate of Kitano Tenmangu. The former brewery now hangs up red and green flag of Portuguese.
The owner, Paulo Duarte, is from Lisbon. In Japan, castella cake is a famous Portuguese sweets. Paulo was the first foreign patissier to learn this Japanese-type castella at Shouoken in Nagasaki, one of the pioneer shop of castella in the nation. He opened Castella do Paulo initially in Lisbon in 1996, then moved to Kyoto in April 2015.
Castella had become what it is now in Japan after gradually changing from pão-de-ló, a sweet originally brought in by the missionaries. Japan's castella is very different from pão-de-ló, in shape and texture. 'Now that castella has become so popular in Japan, I wanted people to also enjoy this simple pão-de-ló' says Paulo's wife Tomoko who is a researcher of Portuguese sweets. This is why they decided to move to Japan, to Tomoko's hometown Kyoto.
They also serve a unique menu, food culture comparision experience plate (702 yen) to introduce more of Portuguese culture. It serves castella with three different pão-de-ló from different regions, with each having their own style reflecting the regional culture. Some baked soft, or each baked using different baking pans.
The cafe has a eating space on the ground floor, as well as an exhibition space on the upper floor that shows some classic wooden kitchen items. They also serve Portuguese style lunch, with a BGM of fado, a local music.
Sweets are available for take away. An egg string that is used for the sweets is very typical of Portuguese. Cakes are priced from around 270 yen, to an exclusive special castella (950 yen) using WABISUKE's special egg. Castella uses only egg, flour and sugar so it reflects the quality of each ingredients. This WABISUKE egg is rich in taste and has a great texture, explains Paulo. It is a rare egg so he only makes the special castella on the weekends. Do stop by after your visit to Amano Tenmangu to try the special taste.
ADDRESS: Kura A, 897 Onmae-dori Imakoji-agaru Bakuro-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto（map）
HOURS: 9:30-18:00 (Cafe until 17:00)
CLOSED: Wednesday, every third Thursday
WEB: http:// castelladopaulo.com/