マホラ ヌイMahola nui, which means “thank you” in Hawaiian, is a small Hawaiian-style sandwich shop and bakery on 柳馬場通Yanaginobanba Street south of 三条通Sanjo Street. Since it’s usually the way that I go to work when I come into the city early, I often passed it without a chance to go in (usually I’m pressed to get to work on time). At the beginning of this month, I went to get some take-out from 三条パクチーSanjo PACUCHI but they weren’t open for dinner yet, so I slowly made my way to Kyoto Station while considering what would make up for not having green curry that night. I soon found myself on Yanaginobanba and was near Mahola nui, so I decided it was time to go on in.
There was bread on display for the dinner crowd and since no one was there yet, I pretty much got first pick. After much deliberation, I chose (from clockwise in the picture) the ハムとチーズサワーブレッドサンドhamu to chiizu sawaabureddo sando (ham & cheese sourdough bread sandwich), ￥380, the ツナときのこのタルティーヌtsuna to kinoko no tarutiinu (tuna & mushroom tartine), ￥250, and the クリームチーズベーグル(ブラックペッパー)kuriimu chiizu beeguru (bagel with black-pepper cream cheese), ￥180.
I talked a bit with the reserved middle-aged owner, who was quite friendly to my delight, while he rang me up at the register: having worked as a baker until opening his own shop two years ago, he has a love for Hawaii and wants to share that interest with customers by serving Hawaiian-style sandwiches as well as his specialty, bread. He admitted to not having gone to Hawaii yet but he really wants to; I really hope that he gets to go someday, I’m sure he’d get more ideas for authentic Hawaiian/American baked goods although he’s done a good job for someone who’s never been! ☺
When I had the bread for dinner upon returning home, I was glad that I’d finally gone. Sourdough is still rare in Kyoto and I haven’t had it forever, so I was reminded of how good it is with the ham, (cheddar) cheese, lettuce and tomato. The tartine was filling on its own, a slice of graham bread topped generously with tuna, mushrooms and bell peppers.
Since I was full, I thought I’d have the bagel in the morning but I ended up having it later that night, I just couldn’t wait. ☺ If you’re into soft and chewy breads, I definitely recommend this place. I can’t wait to go back and try more!
Update: Over three weeks later, I went back to Mahola nui to see what other breads I could buy…there wasn’t much to choose from as before but I managed to find two I wanted to try:
クリームチーズベーグル(ラスベリー＆チョコチップ) chocolate-chip bagel with raspberry cream cheese, ￥190, and チーズサワーブレッドcheese sourdough bread, ￥140
Pretty much what I got last time, so I wasn’t surprised that I was pleased with my choices again. ☺
The next day, I was around the area due to a dinner date with Mason at omo cafe, so I decided to introduce Mahola nui to Mason and see if the tartine was available again. There was a bigger selection this time and I got everything I got the first time that I went except the cream-cheese bagel which was the クリームチーズベーグル(ブルーベリー) bagel with blueberry cream cheese, ￥180, this time.
The tartine was on a Danish-style bread this time to my disappointment but it was still delicious.
Unlike the two times before when I went alone, speaking English with Mason was a dead giveaway that I’m not Japanese…the owner asked us where we were from when I told him we were American. I also mentioned that I’d been to the shop before and just as I’d thought, he didn’t remember…it’s cool, he doesn’t have to remember me as long as he continues making bread I like. ☺