Mumokuteki - Kyoto's Go-to Vegan Cafe
Kyoto is often mentioned as "one of the cities in the world best for Vegans". Yet, any Vegan that has actually visited Kyoto, knows this is heavily exaggerated. Luckily, however, options are becoming more and more available; And Mumokuteki is THE cafe to go for a delicious Vegan meal!
Kyoto is the former capital of Japan. It is a center of culture and history, famous for all its beautiful temples. Traditionally, Japanese Buddhists monks did not consume animal products - so one would expect part of this lifestyle remained in the area. Unfortunately, did is not true. The washoku (Japanese traditional food) is full of animal products, and the famous Matcha sweets almost all contain dairy.
So how about a temple stay? With food prepared by the monks? From experience, some temples do serve vegetarian (rarely vegan) food, but most of the time the food will either be mostly-veggies-but-using-bonito-dashi, or full on menus with fish.
The Vegan boom is definitely more evident in Tokyo, but high quality options are surfacing in the Kansai area too!
Mumokuteki has been a household name for the plantbased community in Kansai. They promise fresh, natural foods based on rice and veggies, and to, with their food, deliver a moment of happiness in your everyday life. The raving reviews on Happy Cow and other review sites all seem to agree: great quality food - and a little pricey.
Their Osaka branch unfortunately shut its doors early 2021, so hopefully the Kyoto cafe will have many more customers once COVID settles down.
My visit was a while back - but I do remember being overwhelmed by the choices, pleasantly surprised by the quality, and super excited with the delicious desserts.
Mumokuteki's menu has naturally evolved over the years, and they now offer even more mouthwatering options. My menu was as follows:
A main set with two types of rice, miso soup, karaage and vegan burgers, and an assortment of pickles and side dishes. A very satisfactory amount, with balanced flavors and a nice overall composition of flavors and textures.
Perhaps not overly exciting if you are looking for Western-style, heavily flavored Vegan burgers and pizza, but perfect if you care about ingredients, nutrition and a Japanese style, delicious meal.
As I went to Kyoto on a trip, and did not know when I would be able to visit again (well-anticipated, past-me!), I decided to indulge and pick both desserts that caught my eye.
The current menu seems to include heavily upgraded versions, for both the icecream (now parfaits) and cheesecake.
Perhaps based on some of the feedback that the cheesecake was a bit too mild?
The ice cream was absolutely delicious - so much so that I remember it vividly all this time later.
Me review is based on a visit a couple of years ago, and you will find that the cafe has implemented the feedback they have gotten, and have leveled up even more. The food was delicious back then, and based on the reviews of others, still is now.
As their Osaka branch recently closed, I wanted to draw some attention to their Kyoto cafe, and hope they survive these difficult times.
TIP: Mumokuteki also has an online shop with clothing, food and other items, including some delicious-looking sweets (NOT ALL VEGAN)
Address: 〒604-8061 京都府京都市中京区式部町261ヒューマンフォーラム本社ビル 2F
Access: A 20-minute bus ride from Kyoto Station Food: Healthy menu with veggies and rice, and currently more junkfood style options like ramen and fries. Scrumptious desserts.
Price: ￥900~ lunch, ￥1200~ dinner, ￥700~ desserts
Service: The cafe was packed (pre-covid), so they were very busy, but kind.
Location: Central. Lots of shops and eateries around.
Overall: Planning a trip to Kyoto? Mumokuteki has delicious vegan lunch-, dinner- and dessert menu's, in English, and with gluten free options! Don't take my word for it! Just look at the amazing online reviews, or better yet - go try for yourself!