Known for its single-origin coffee and French-Japanese dishes, Tokyo coffee shop Cafe Kitsune offers good eats and more at the Podium Mall.
There are many schools of thought when it comes to the food industry. Some prefer to take the purist approach by offering authentic versions of a country’s food. As for the other faction, they opt for fusion ideas as they take inspiration from different countries and concepts. Usually, the result for the latter is a unique concept of its own—one that brings together the best of both worlds.
The same case applies to Cafe Kitsune. Inspired by French elements and desserts, this Japanese coffee shop has firmly established itself as a cult favorite with its signature Paris-meets-Tokyo atmosphere and aesthetic. And 9 years after opening its first café in Tokyo, Cafe Kitsune finally lands in the Philippines—making itself at home in The Podium Mall, Mandaluyong City.
Cafe Kitsune: A Foxy Hangout Spot
Kitsune is the Japanese word for “fox”—an animal in Japanese folklore that has strong magical properties and intelligence. And while the cafe features fox motifs like its shortbread cookie, for example, Cafe Kitsune’s origins surprisingly go back to its beginnings as Maison Kitsune, a record label.
Established in 2002 by Gildas Loaëc, Masaya Kuroki, and the design company Åbäke, Maison Kitsune became a hip Japanese-French label that specialized in EDM (electronic dance music) and street fashion. In fact, known musical acts that were connected with the Kitsuné label include Phoenix, Parcels, La Roux, and Two Door Cinema Club at some point in their careers.
Soon after, Maison Kitsune ventured into the food industry—in the year 2013, to be specific. Modern and urban, with a unique savoir-faire, the ethos of Café Kitsuné echoes the elements of the record label by pairing Parisian elements with Japanese influences. The result is a warm, sensory dining experience—be it for coffee, afternoon tea, night cocktails, or even lunches and dinners among friends.
With its first cafe in the Aoyama neighborhood, Cafe Kitsune easily won over the hearts and stomachs of many. Since then, it has opened other locations in highly-coveted metropolitan cities like Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, New York, Shanghai, Jakarta, Bangkok, and now, Manila. Each spot maintains its signature modern Parisian cafe and wine bar look—while incorporating the local spirit of its iconic global location.
From Tokyo to Manila
A cult favorite among the locals of its many locations and travelers, Cafe Kitsune is foremost a creative coffee hub. And with coffee shops becoming a popular go-to for Filipinos, the Fredley Group of Companies, through Avin Ong, brought Cafe Kitsune to Manila.
While the Paris branch uses a grab-and-go approach, the local version allows guests to sit and dine in with ease. “They want every branch to tell a story of its own,” said Ong in an interview with Philstar L!fe. “There are two models: one that’s purely café and another one that’s a café plus restaurant. In our case, we’re also serving food, just like in Jakarta.”
Set up in such a way where there are tables and chairs for groups to sit and eat at their leisure, the local Cafe Kitsune allows you to imbibe the hip interiors that Chat Fores helped execute with the Kitsune specifications in mind. With a minimalist motif—set in whites and wooden decor—and gold accents, the resulting shop is a modern Parisian shop in the heart of the Podium Mall.
Aesthetics aside, highlights include its high-quality coffee. Known for full-bodied taste, Cafe Kitsune cultivates its single-origin coffee beans in Brazil and Guatemala, which are carefully roasted to achieve flavorsome notes. The result is a cup of espresso, cappuccino, cold brew, or nitro with hints of cherry and chocolate—prepared by a team of passionate and talented baristas.
Must-haves from Cafe Kitsune
Beyond decor and coffee, Cafe Kitsune’s diverse selection of food and drink include signatures from its Tokyo branch—from its signature burger, which is styled as a beef teriyaki tartare with bacon, fried egg, and comté to the classic croque-monsieur with tuna, lemongrass, and ginger, and the cafe’s specialty bechamel sauce.
Staying true to its roots, Japanese dishes also make an appearance at Cafe Kitsune with mochi made with seasonal fruits and a carpaccio served with Sichuan pepper and Thai basilic syrup, to name a few. What’s more, never-before-seen exclusives—available only in the Philippines—include flavored lattes in Coconut & Caramel, Banana & Caramel, and Mango, along with coolers like the Matcha & Yuzu Fizz and the Strawberry & Peach Fizz.
As for those who want to bring a piece of the Cafe Kitsune experience back with them, the shop offers a curated selection of merchandise—created in collaboration with known brands like Assiette Cafe Kitsune x Alix D. Reynis and Japanese tableware brand Kinto. These take life in Cafe Kitsune-branded tableware, mugs, tumblers, water bottles, and even apparel like sweaters, bags, and more.
Photos by PAM RODRIGUEZ