Is Le Moulin the patisserie Frentishtowners have been waiting for?

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With plenty of excitement at the prospect of a new bakery in the heart of K-Town, we dropped in to sample the first batch


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Organic, artesanal and hand baked in-store - all boxes ticked at newcomer Le Moulin. Photos: Sally Lyall Grant
Organic, artisanal and hand-baked in store – all boxes ticked at newcomer Le Moulin. Pics: Sally Lyall-Grant
Kentish Town Road is an ever-morphing creature, and thankfully so; constant change is why there’s still a ‘proper’ high street in NW5 at all. So while there were a fair few misty eyes at the all-too-inevitable demise of magazine emporium Planet News, its replacement has been the topic of much breathless and expectant gossip. Well, in certain quarters anyway.

Over recent weeks, the groaning racks of unsold glossies have vanished and a fully-fledged bakery has been painstakingly installed. It’s run by the accomplished and much-loved team behind neighbouring Mediterranean indie supermarket Phoenicia. And with a name like Le Moulin, it’s blindingly obvious which local demographic they are hoping to tap into.

Loads of super-sweet chocs
Loads of super-sweet chocs

We joined a steady throng of early morning customers (all of whom were most complimentary), and tucked into some dangerously affordable pastries, and pleasingly crusty fresh organic rolls.

A range of cute mini stone-baked rolls start at a most bargainsome 39p a pop, with a chausson aux pommes pastry only a few pence more. A selection of rather more standard savoury nibbles are similarly priced, although the main attraction on the marbletop counters is clearly the baskets of artisanal breads.

All baked on the premises, these are at the other end of the price scale, with the magnificent, dark and crunchy baguette cereals au levain at £5.89. Yet the quality of ingredients and traditional baking process is exactly the kind of thing local bread-heads will no doubt be keenly seeking out.

There’s also a vast cabinet of hand-made, fruit-infused chocolates, mirroring Phoenicia’s carefully built towers of Middle Eastern sweets, and even – for now – a few of the same biscuits, however brand new types are promised in the coming weeks.

The new signage. Any thoughts on the font front?
The new signage. Any thoughts on the font front?

We enjoyed the punchy 100% Arabica Busonero Italian coffee: dark, rich espresso of the kind Doppio regulars will lap up. Already there are plans for more seating, as customers have already been eager to linger in the wood-clad interior.

One observation? It doesn’t feel particularly French though. The vibe is more Green Lanes or Edgware Rd than Champs-Elysees. That’s still great news for the high street, particularly following the disappointing demise of E.Mono offshoot Mike, and this buzzy new opening is well on course to be a huge hit.

But we await the all-important verdict of the Frentishtowners. Does Le Moulin finally mark the arrival of the kind of local bakery everyone has been banging on about?

This is box title
Le Moulin patisserie and bakery, 182 Kentish Town Rd, NW5 2AE. Open at 7am till about 6pm.

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  • Julianator

    I went on Monday and really wanted to like the place – a proper bakery would be a great addition to the area. Have to admit I was slightly disappointed – the bread selection wasn’t huge and a large amount of the produce looked bought in rather than produced on site. And given it’s billed as a French baker and patisserie I’d have expected top see much more tasty pastries: eclairs, religueuses etc. The biggest issue however were the prices: nearly £4 for a rather boring white bloomer is outrageous, organic or not.

    I may be being a bit harsh – after all it was the first day and I suspect my high expectations may have had something to do with my reaction. I’ll certainly be popping in a few more times to see how the place evolves. Hopefully they’ll get the formula and atmosphere right and the place will be a roaring success.

    • Julianator

      Oops – just remembered that it was Tuesday, not Monday, that I dropped in – but my comments about it being opening day are not far off the mark.

  • Highstreet Ken

    Don’t like the interior and I’m not a fan of places pretending to be something they are not…so expectations were not high, however I sampled the croissants and can say they are absolutely delicious…looking forward to trying some of those baguettes asap.

  • Gerry

    Oh feck. I was hoping for a Greggs.

  • Meru

    Went on Monday, not very French beyond the name. Had a croissant neither good or bad. Not sure i ll go again.

  • kellyslhammond

    Le moulin, take note about comments on decor and variety. It’s either French and quaint or it’s Green Lane’s style and that will make a huge difference to your clientele. Phoenicia is okay, but if you’re trying to market something a little differently, get an interior designer in and check out le pain coitidienne for ideas 😉 good luck et nom nom 🙂

  • iOR

    Big disappointment. Shop front and interior is ugly. Not French in feeling or style. Limited range of pastries on offer on Friday 2nd May. I had high hopes and wanted to love this place but it’s fallen well short of my expectation of an authentic French bakery. I hope they can raise their game, KTR doesn’t need any more charity or kebab and chicken shops.

  • Carolyn

    Leaving around the corner I am a proper Frentishtowner!) My partner and I also being a baguette and croissant lovers we could not wait their opening. I stopped by today: the decor is miserably non-french and cold, the items look like everything and nothing – why couldnt they just concentrate on selling good bread? A quick glance at the little pizzas and other savoury things on offer and they looked like cheap frozen stuffs: I ran away. What a disappoitment!

    • Bart

      Completely agree – this doesn’t add anything that could otherwise be achieved by having a couple of baskets of bread in Phoenicia. It looks cold and uninviting and is really a missed opportunity.
      If they are really charging £5.89 for a baguette I think we can safely conclude they won’t be there got long
      BUT get the prices and ambiance right and replicate a real French bakery and they would be on to a winner

  • CN

    Good taste, as much in decor/signage and price points as in the croissants and baguettes is what will make a new bakery on KTR a success. Le Moulin seems to have missed the mark on all fronts, and feels like a transparent (and low quality) attempt to exploit the new Frentishneighbours. That leaves a bad taste any way you slice it.

  • gary king

    The bubblegum flavour chocolate pyramids are to die for – 50p each.

  • Hilary Freeman

    Very sadly disappointed. My French partner moved to Camden 2 months ago and has been missing his daily baguettes. But the baguettes – which we sampled this week – are not baguettes. They’re just run of the mill doughy white loaves in baguette shape. It’s really not authentically French in any way. Such a missed opportunity!

  • Mark Dunscombe

    We live on Lawford Rd and all love le moulin. My son loves the ice cream (£1 a scoop) and they always give him a bit extra. The baguettes are not 5.89 they are £1.20 and delicious, try the multiseed (£1.79) and you will be back again. I agree that the style of the shop is not to my taste but the food is good and baked fresh and thats the important thing and why I keep going back. (I ate half the multiseed baguette on the way home – ooops)

  • Robin

    Well, this isn’t South Kensington, it’s Kentish Town, and it’s no surprise that we get this mongrel effort. Of course the name and the shop-sign are lousy, and this week the breads are being put into paper bags that carry the name of Rochester Place (estate agents): a nice touch of recycling. Perhaps it’s not too late to change the name of the place.

    I think the rather dead ambience is caused by the space being too deep and too large. If it was all more compressed spatially, it would be much better. If it can evolve into more of a café, that could help. Maybe a table of newspapers & magazines to read while you sit and eat?

    Meanwhile the croissants are not bad (price is £1.09), and must be better than any other croissants made in NW5. (Earth’s croissants must come from outside the neighbourhood.)

  • Nicolette

    I went to le Moulin today to check it out after reading some of the comments here.
    I positively liked the fact that the interior is not chi-chi. What matters is the quality of the bread. This seems fine. Of course the baguettes aren’t like French baguettes. I have never tasted good baguettes outside France. You can go to France for that. What has been missing in KT is a bakery that sells good quality bread. Maybe the mistake is to have called it a French Bakery. Why not just ‘bakery’?
    I bought and ate a croissant. Not great and not bad. My main criticism is: not enough butter. But then in France they do make two different types of croissants: with and without butter.
    ( I am half French)

  • Micheal

    About as french as a french letter.

  • OBoe Carter

    Picked up a croissant today – it was nice – fresh, crispy, buttery – but when I chose it the staff member picked it up with his bare hands to place it into a bag. He then took my money and made change. Get some tongs please! Despite the tasty croissant, the interior is depressing and I don’t like people touching my food. I will not go back.

    • danielly rizk

      thank you for your comment…
      I would like to add something here, that i’m the guy who serves and will always serve my lovely kentish towners, and hopefully more and more people everyday, that i never ever take my gloves of my hands as long as i’m in the bakery..never.

      thank you again.

      DANIELLY RIZK
      ( Le Moulin )

  • gingerbbm

    What a bunch of miserable, ungrateful, hoity-toity commenters!

    Someone mentioned up there that Le Moulin is an “attempt to exploit the new Frentishneighbours” as if that’s a bad thing. If a large population of French residents means good pastries and bread being available then that’s good for all of us. Or does it leave less of a bad taste if the bakery doing the exploiting is French-owned? Stupid comment.

    I had a few pastries today and they were very nice IMHO. So what if the interior design is not French? I see it as a good, cheeky addition to the high street.

    • danielly rizk

      I would like to thank you for you honest comments here, and i hope everyone feels the same way you..

      Danielly rizk
      ( Le Moulin )

  • Gilo

    A bitter bitter disappointment – horrible decor and vastly overpriced at £4 for a loaf of bread. The only consolation that I could find is that it was empty and prob won’t last long. A nasty cynical place. Hopefully someone else will take it over and create a proper bakery there before too long.

    If it’s run by the guys from phonecia that’s no surprise to me as I’ve always found that place really overrated

  • danielly rizk

    hi everyone who commented here…

    we thank you for all the comments,even the negative ones.It is almost impossible to start business and immediately get 100% right. We look hard at every aspect of what we are doing to see how we can do it better.The comments here help us do better.

    i just to respond quickly to some of the criticisms made here:

    1- Despite the name,we do not describe Le Moulin as a french bakery. We are general bakery,trying to serve the needs of the diverse Kentish Town community.

    2- We do not regard our bread prices as being unreasonable for artisanal products.
    Obviously some people do see them that way,but many others do not, as we are selling plenty of loaves everyday. This is a personal matter, needless to say.

    3- Decor too is a very personal matter. We tried to give Le Moulin an attractive look, and while so many people like it, other people do not. This is inevitable.

    4-To those who say our range is not very large, we have now over 30 different types of breads,and we are planing to enlarge it considerably very soon, and we hope you will come when we do.

    Thanks again to everyone who took the time and trouble to comment here. We hope we can go on improving what we do so that K-Towners feel they have the bakery they’ve been waiting for.

    by the way i always have gloves on to serve customers..

    DANIELLY RIZK
    ( LE MOULIN ).

  • OBoe Carter

    Danielly Rizk – maybe it wasn’t you who served the croissant? There were two people at the counter – the guy on the phone (the one who asked me if I spoke Arabic) picked up the croissant not wearing gloves. In either case, a better response would have been to say ‘yes I or whoever it was who served you made a mistake and did not wear gloves, but this is not our standard practice and it will not happen again,’ not accuse the customer of being a liar. If that was the case I would have gone back (as before I just assumed you touched the customers food). But now, in addition to hygiene issues, this just exemplifies bad customer service. Don’t touch the customers food, and don’t call the customer a liar.

    • danielly rizk

      Sorry Mr carter if you understood me wrong, but this not what i meant , i always been one of the most polite cashier in Kentish Town..all are very polite, but i always do my best to love and be loved by my lovely customers…didn’t mean to call you a liar or anyone else..except my apologie if this is what you understood..and i’m ready to apologise to you personaly..but since the 2nd week we had a meeting after we read the comments here and we worked on it..i hope that we can sort all the things that it happend wrongly..because we doing it of you and for you..Danielly..love to see you again

  • Edward Hadas

    The negative comments here are out of line! I have lived for years in France and hope I know the difference between good and bad bread! Le Moulin sells good bread. It also sells good croissant and so far, pretty much everything I have tried has been good to excellent. The decor is fine, the service is exceptionally friendly and the place is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.

  • Melusine

    Hallelujah! As a serious bread lover, I have been languishing for years in the English Desert of Bad Bread. Tasteless mushy inedible muck! I sometime bake my own (delicious) bread – but that takes a lot of time! Le Moulin makes wonderful bread, serious artisanal bread – bread as good as my own, as good as any I have had in France, where I lived for many years. I have been dreaming & hoping for a bakery like this. Not a place that does a thousand mediocre ‘pastries’ and whatever, just good honest nourishing fresh delicious BREAD. THANK YOU Danielly Rizk and the people at le Moulin for making my life in Kentish Town about 70% better! There is NO NEED for a big ‘selection’ – real bakeries or ‘boulangeries’, as found all over France and distinct from patisserries that sell fancy baked goods or pastry, usually only sell a few varieties of bread. Do one thing simple and well – our daily bread! That is a blessing for which I am truly grateful. The croissants form le Moulin are also delicious and much the best I have had this side of the channel, but it’s all about the BREAD, the staff of life. It is not about the decor (have any of those snide commenters ever purchase da heavenly loaf in a non-fashionable arrondissement of Paris, or in a small provincial Norman town where the decor is typicaly non-existent? You don’t actually EAT the wall, people? I don’t care if it looks like a Chinese bordello, so long as the bread tastes as good as it does at le Moulin, which, by the way, looks perfectly all right. Phoenician Market has long been a beacon of culinary light in the darkness of Albion, but le Moulin is what this hungry little exile has been praying for. Merci merci et Dieu vous béni!

  • melusine

    Oh and by the way – in France – especially in the small towns and villages, but also in those not at all fashionable parts of Paris – it is customary for the baker to ‘touch’ the bread, i.e. to pick it up with an UNGLOVED hand, wrap it loosely in paper if desired (paper is optional!) and hand it to you. What’s the problem? Do you not realise that good bread is a hand made product? The baker’s hands have been all over that loaf, kneading it and shaping it – it is not made by a machine in a factory but by a human being with hands. If you’re that worried, buy something ‘hygienic’ in a plastic bag, but I doubt you’ll be able to taste the difference between the so-called bread & the bag it comes in. I never once got sick from eating good bread. Silly.

  • OBoe Carter

    If the baker touches the bread it goes into a hot oven which will kill the germs, which is fine. Maybe I am OCD! No…wait, I admit, I am American. Whatever…hands off my croissant!

  • Bart

    I left an earlier comment when Le Moulin first opened which was perhaps a little premature. Sure the signage is still uninspiring and the interior space is difficult but I think the offering has improved significantly and the bread and croissants are now really rather good. The bread displayed in baskets is an attractive touch and I have always had excellent service.
    Great to see the business evolve and a fantastic addition to the High Street

  • Liz

    I love this place simply because they sell Movenpick ice cream which is far and away the nicest ice cream ever ever ever made. I wish I could buy the whole stall. Always smiley too. YOu MUST try the ice cream!!

  • Bishop the Cat

    Time has passed. Dust has settled (not in the shop of course). And, praise be, Le Moulin is still with us. I wasn’t after another coffee shop, or fancy patisserie, just decent bread, such as has been missing in KT for many, many years. And the bread really is good and not excessively priced (despite some earlier exaggerated comments) — I’ll bet the new offerings in Tufnell Park are at least as much. Design isn’t everything: Le Pain Quotidien may look good but the bread is deeply disappointing; and the same goes for Paul. I think Melusine above has got it right. And as for the huffy, thin-skinned Oboe man he really will have a tough time in France…

  • Emma, Camden

    Le Moulin sells THE most amazing walnut bread that I’ve ever tasted. I kind of don’t even want to say it in case it becomes one of those things you can’t get your hands on..

    As a Camden resident I would prefer an independent, family-run business that takes a little time to find its feet than a carbon copy chain any day of the week.

    Good on you Danielly for taking a risk, working incredibly hard and taking some pretty non-constructive criticism on board to improve what you are offering. Keep going!