A few days after publishing my first Café Correspondent article, I found a message in my mailbox:
Hi Cafe Scout,
This morning I read your piece about Cake Friends - I look forward to reading more. I, too, am a foreigner in Zurich, graced with too much spare time.
Do you have your next cafe in mind? If you thought Cake Friends was cute, I have a cafe for you. It's cute, but in a punk-asian-chic way: www.miyuko.ch
I had been to Les gourmandises de Miyuko once. I remembered it as a place filled with wonders: manga-like paintings on the walls, original pastries, a great selection of teas and an attention to every little detail in the decoration.
Kelly's email had triggered my curiosity. I hadn't expected to receive recommendations from random people, but I would soon run out of options if I only counted on my friends to be my café-hunt partners. I decided that I would meet every person who would message me with a suggestion.
Miyuko is a hidden treasure. A bit tricky to find, but worth the hunt. I thought I remembered the way to get there but after biking frantically in the wrong direction, I finally checked google maps on my phone to find the place. It's only 2 tram stops away from Zürich main station with the tram 11 or 14. When you get off at the right stop, Beckeranlage, walk down the street a bit (and not up, as I did, me and directions...) and then turn left on Beckerhofstrasse to find Miyuko hidden a few metres away.
I arrived at Miuko to meet Kelly half an hour late, breathless from the bike-ride up hill, and mortified. She still welcomed me with a warm smile and a "Don't worry, I have time today." Kelly was as lovely as the place. I wanted to take a photo of ever little detail but decided to sit down to catch my breath again and started talking with Kelly.
Kelly is from New York and she followed her Swiss boyfriend to Zürich. I felt like I was just meeting an old friend. She enthusiastically showed me the menus and its 8 pages selection of teas and then took me to the front of the café where the pastries are.
I was in such a hurry upon arriving that I hadn't noticed the cakes displayed in the shop window. They looked artistic and colorful and I bet people stop by the window just to have a look at them. I wanted to try them all. We stared at the options on display for about 10 minutes, unable to decide between a dark-chocolate cheesecake, a rose macaron, or a chocolate-pear pastry. We finally decided to order them all to try.
"The Chai tea latte is great here, with lots of cinamon in it," suggested Kelly. I love a good Chai but hadn't found one as good as the one from Starbucks. So I ordered one and the pastries. Kelly ordered green tea in perfect German. The service was a bit slow but friendly.
"Coming from New-York, it must be very different to live in Zürich," I started.
"Yes. It is a cultural shock. I've heard from fellow American expats that a year is needed to adjust to life in Switzerland. And I've just been here for a year now. I feel more comfortable but I can't imagine living the rest of my life in Zürich."
"What is it that you miss from home?" I asked.
"In New York, some people are busy and walk straight through the city, head-phones in ear and not even looking at anyone. But when you go out in a bar or sit somewhere in the park, it is so easy to start talking to people and make connections. Here, even making eye-contact seems difficult. It's really hard to make friends with the Swiss," she sighed.
"Yeah I lived in New York for a year, and I remember going out with a friend and ending up spending the evening on the rooftop of some people who just invited us to their parties randomly. I haven't experienced such friendliness and spontaneity anywhere else in the world."
"Exactly! So I guess this is what I miss the most. But I like the space we have here, the proximity of the nature, the comfort. And sometimes I am surprised, like when I found this place by accident, just walking down the street. When I saw the pastries on the shop-window, I got excited at this explosion of creativity," she smiled.
I realised I had never seen a café like Miyuko anywhere else. The name might be French and the decoration manga-like, its founder is purely Swiss. Not only does she create the artistic pastries, she also painted the walls and she even has her own hair-accessories line. A real proof of Zürich's active creative scene.
Our order finally arrived, causing us to make noises such as "Oooh!" "Aaah!" and "Wow!". I wasn't disappointed by my Chai. It was rich and spicy, even better than the one at Starbucks. The pastries looked so beautiful that we had to admire them for a moment before starting eating them. They were as delicate and enjoyable as French pastries, which is something I've rarely encountered in Switzerland.
"Where do you like to go out in Zürich?" I asked.
"Good question, I just started a challenge to make my time in Zürich go by faster and to get to know the city better: I want to go to 100 different bars to have 100 different drinks in a year!"
"Hey, that's a good idea, and also a good way to meet people," I smiled.
The conversation went on easily, only interrupted by our amazement at every little cute detail the place offered to our eyes: the delicate pale-blue plates, the polka dots tea-pots, the artworks all over the place...
Les gourmandises de Miyuko is really the perfect place for a chat between girls. We paid about 40.- for a Chai tea latte, a full kettle of green tea, a chocolate-pear pastry, a rose macaron, a cheese-cake and a cappuccino. It is a bit pricey but justified by the quality of the products. You might want to go there when you have enough time in front of you to enjoy every detail in the place, and of course your pastries!
We left Miyuko with happy bellies and eyes, inspired for our own projects.
Kelly works at Fork and Bottle, a new restaurant near Brunau train station.
Check out my blog: Trying to be conscious
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