Baking the Daily Bread

MTLe Pain Quotidien's rustic style suits its prime Garden Ring location.
The Le Pain Quotidien chain certainly has lots of buns in the oven. In less than a year, it has expanded across Moscow, opening bakery cafes not only in new shopping centers, but also in more appealing locations, such as the pedestrian-only Kamergersky Pereulok. The latest addition to the stable of eateries is also a free-standing one, this time located on the corner of Novy Arbat and the Garden Ring. It takes good advantage of its corner setting with huge windows allowing for lots of natural light and great views out to the busy urban goings-on just outside.

While its location might be ultra urban, the interior is thoroughly rustic. The raw-wood furnishings are heavyset and chalkboards display the specials of the day. The collection of condiments on the tables extends beyond salt and pepper to include jams and preserves.

The menu features mainly baked goods, and the specials of the day change regularly. There is a large selection of gourmet breads -- rye (45 rubles), wheat (45 rubles), nut (85 rubles) and five-grain (85 rubles) and various other rolls and buns. A basket with a selection of the different breads costs 250 rubles. Toppings to go with bread include roast beef (120 rubles), Italian prosciutto (120 rubles), Greek olives (120 rubles) and Norwegian smoked salmon (140 rubles) among other options. There is a large variety of tartine open sandwiches, such as the hot vegetarian zucchini, eggplant and mozzarella (235 rubles) and chicken breast with tomato and mozzarella (295 rubles). For those with a sweet tooth, there is also a large range of French pastries, such as croissants (75 rubles).

Le Pain Quotidien sells alcoholic beverages, which can't be said of every bakery-cum-cafe around town. There are two bottled beers, Hoegaarden (155 rubles for 330 milliliters) and Stella Artois (145 rubles for 330 milliliters). Wine by the glass starts from 150 rubles or 650 rubles a bottle.

Le Pain Quotidien: 7 Novinsky Bulvar, 229-6674, 7 a.m.-11 p.m., M. Smolenskaya.