When Moulin Bistro opened in 2014 in Newport Beach, its très authentique cuisine and atmosphere—even the furnishings were brought straight from France, personally collected by owner Laurent Vrignaud—made it an instant hit with Orange County’s considerable French expat population. Moulin’s also a draw for O.C. Francophiles from casual to serious—not to mention regular, garden-variety customers looking for great food, bread, and pastries.
In September, Vrignaud opened his second Moulin, this time in downtown Laguna Beach. The day Moulin le deuxième debuted, locals were lined up outside waiting for the door to be unlocked. You get an idea of how bereft they were at the loss of Scandia, the beloved neighborhood bakery that for years occupied the space. I’m sure they find Moulin a more-than-worthy successor.
Chef Jeoffrey Offer is in charge of the kitchens at both locations, and Benjamin Sévin is boulanger-pâtissier. The Laguna Moulin has a couple of items not found in Newport, suitable for takeaway, befitting its pedestrian-friendly sidewalk location: Belgian-style, yeast-raised waffles ($5), and crepes ($6) with various fillings, including the classic lemon-sugar combo.
A seasonal pastry note: Is there a more perfect place to get your bûche de Noël than Moulin? Sévin is making the traditional rolled, bark-pattern-buttercream-iced French Christmas cake in flavors from praline and coffee to white chocolate and vanilla passion fruit. Priced from $25 to $50 depending on size and filling, there are some bûches available in the case each day, but ordering ahead is suggested. Available at both locations—call 949-474-0920 by Tuesday, Dec. 20 for Dec. 23 or Christmas Eve pickup.