This is not the typical kawaii cafe or bakery. In fact, La Boulangerie Pingouin has been here for 110 years. Formerly known as 精養堂, this neighbourhood bakery has renewed itself by adding a cafe space and making Penguin as the official new mascot for its shop. I'm not sure why but maybe the owner loves penguins very much.
While the signboard has changed, the bread is still made with the same traditional recipes and you can still find showa-era style breads like kuro-pan (black sugar steamed cake) and Siberia. Made with natural yeast, the breads are soft, fluffy and so fragrant. When I stepped into the bakery, I was greeted by the lovely aroma of fresh breads wafting out from the kitchen. So heavenly.
It seems that the renewal had been a success as the place sees more younger crowds with its cute penguin breads. But there is more than what meets the eye. The yellow penguin turns out to be a savoury curry bun while the green penguin is not matcha but yomogi paste with mochi. The original black penguin still won my heart with the creamy and sweet custard.
Most people usually think that French bakeries produce better croissants but the mini glazed croissants here are no less brilliant with its crispy and utterly fragrant butter layers. The Mentaiko is also another delicious French baguette roll slathered with irresistible cod roe. Dine-in is available at the cafe area where one can also enjoy lunch or afternoon tea sweets from 11am onwards. But if you want to catch all the different Penguin breads, it is best to arrive early.
ぱんやのパングワン La Boulangerie Pingouin
Tokyo 154-0024, Setagaya-ku Sangenchaya 1-36-15
Closed on Mondays and every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month