Submitted for the approval of Hiroshima Morning Club, I hereby give you one of oldest kissaten in Hiroshima City, the great Zwei G-sen, known mostly as G-sen. Founded in 1967, she is the epitome of all things Showa and all things coffeehouse. Walking through the wood and glass door, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped backwards in time: from the low plush red velvet chairs, ashtrays at every table, and the walls yellowed with 50 plus years of nicotine, coffee, and coffeehouse fare, the entire place is coated in history. Even the master, the proprietor of the venerable establishment, was smoking when I walked in, which I know is internationally frowned upon, but personally? In a place like G-sen? It’s not only forgivable, but almost charming, hearkening back to the Showa days of yore, to the heyday of kissaten. [日本語]
The moment I step inside, the master turns to me and smiles, cheerfully calling out Irasshaimase! as he artfully tends to coffee bubbling away in a siphon. I take my seat and order the Sandwich Morning, one of four different morning menus that they generously serve from 7 am to noon. At the counter, the master makes conversation with the regulars. It’s 10 am on a bright and sunny Tuesday morning and around me, patrons are enjoying a late breakfast, shuffling newspapers. Chill doesn’t even begin to describe the atmosphere; I feel like I’m in an old movie, the kind where color just became popular and the edges of everything are a little bit blurry.
The waiter first brings me an empty mug, thick-lipped and heavy, into which he pours fresh, siphon-brewed coffee. Those who have tried it can attest, brewing coffee in a siphon is anything but simple. It requires a degree of finesse, perfect temperature regulation, and patience. The finished product is robust with just the right amount of punch to get you going. And these kissaten hefty and solid ceramic mugs. I cannot stress how much joy they bring me, and how great they are at keeping your coffee at the ideal drinking temperature.
Shortly after, breakfast is served. A three-piece ham and cucumber sandwich, green salad with a light, oil-based dressing, and eggs scrambled with pieces of bacon and garnished with a flick of ketchup. While I do wish the bread had been toasted, the sandwich lived up to the quintessential kissaten standards I have come to know and love. Crisp cucumbers and shredded cabbage add a nice texture contrast to the pillowy bread, and the zingy mustard-mayo combo ties it all together. There is something very familial, very homey about the meal. It’s comforting, like something your grandparents might fix you when your parents were out of town. Tasty without being too filling, and for less than the cost of some worldwide brand of coffee (who we shall not name here)’s latest trendy whipped-cream-not-really-coffee drink, it’s the perfect beginning for your day whether you’re headed to work or looking for a casual brunch.
Until next time, Hiroshima Morning Club adjourned.
Address: Otemachi 1-4-30, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City
Address in Japanese:</strong 〒730-0051 広島県広島市中区大手町１丁目４−30
Opening hours: 07:00-23:00 (Mon-Sat), 07:00-22:00 (Sun & Nat Holidays)
“Morning” Breakfast Hours: 07:00-12:00
Closed: Open Year Round