My first Les Frères Moutaux experience was about 10 years ago when Mr. Man took me to buy bread at the first shop which opened in 2000; I don’t know if he looked up the bakery as he was often apt to do or if we just came upon it on our drive around the city but it quickly became one of my favorite places to buy bread. Its original location on the first floor of a small building off of 宝ヶ池通Takaragaike Street had about two or three parking spaces for its customers, not including the one in front of the shop taken up by the shop’s car as well as brief, but illegal, parking along the street; when the spaces were taken, we had no choice to drive past with the options of coming back or finding another bakery. The exterior was a warm pink color with the frames for the glass doors and windows made of wood, welcoming anyone in. Although the exterior makes one think the bakery to look small, inside it would have felt spacious on a slow day, which I rarely experienced. The first thing to catch one’s eyes would probably be the display case of lovely cakes and sweets that took up a good part of the shop and behind which our orders were taken or rung up; the walls were lined with more baked sweets as well as bread and sandwiches. The back was a brick-lined area beyond which the kitchen was and where customers often waited while their buys are prepared to be taken home.
I was a bit disappointed when in January 2008 the shop moved to its current location which although in a more spacious area of 岩倉Iwakura (meaning more parking space for its customers) was quite a hassle to get to when one doesn’t have means of a car. The exterior and the sign although simpler in style and color was a nice refreshing change and the interior and the selection wasn’t too much different from the former shop to my delight.
a shot of the outside in early May 2009
It wasn’t until about five years later, in late September last year, that I stepped foot in to a Les Frères Moutaux again, the Aburakoji Street油小路通店 one (opened in 2003) this time. I had been on my way to cafe de Corazón along Aburakoji Street when I chanced upon it.
Maki had been suggesting Les Frères Moutaux for one of our lunch dates but with all the places that we wanted to try, we had been putting it off for a while. Within the time that it took me to cross the small street, I decided to drop in and give myself up to the natural proceeding of the situation.
the left side of the shop upon entering, with goodies wrapped up to go (nice ideas for gifts)
the display of bread for the day in the middle with the display of sweets, register and kitchen in the back
a closer look at the display of sweets
more bread, baked sweets and accessories by a local artist on sale to the right side of the shop, beyond which there is a small café space for those dining in
As tempting as it was to sit down and try something in the café, I finally decided to stick to my original plan and settle for bread to go and come back for a meal another time. I came away with a バイエルンBayern, ￥181 (without tax) and a 天然酵母チョコレートとオレンジピールtennen-kohbo (natural yeast) chocolate & orange peel bread, ￥152 (without tax), that I had for dinner later that night.
I dropped by five months later to get bread to go for dinner again, this time choosing a ビェノワ(ハーフ)Viennois (half), ￥119, and a エトルタÉtretat, ￥216.
What I’ve always loved about Les Frères Moutaux’s bread is that many are of the wonderful combination of hard and chewy that I adore; I also like the softer but still chewy versions. Osaka-born owner pâtissier, 武藤康司Kouji Mutou’s, reason for opening Les Frères Moutaux was to provide bread thought to be delicious by most and addictive enough for one to eat every day using as much natural ingredients in their natural state. Once in a while there will be an item with much impact like the squid-ink Viennois above but the combination of ingredients like the bacon and mustard in the Viennois, bacon and olive in the Bayern and chocolate and orange peel are timeless and sure to appeal to anyone who sets his eyes on them. Definitely a recommendation when it comes to good bread in Kyoto.☺