Tag: Cafe

Mal Car

My neighbourhood of Gyeongridan is a treasure trove of unique and one of kind shops, bars, and restaurants. And one of its most hidden gems is my new favourite coffee shop Mal Car. Mal Car is a vintage automobile themed cafe, which is set over three floors and is full of quiet nooks and crannies to sit in. The place is festooned with all sorts of car themed knickknacks, even the outside tables are made from what looks like old bus doors. It is certainly a quirky place, and like no where else I have been before. It is located up on the Hyatt hill in a hidden residential alley, if it wasn’t for the sign on the main street you’d never find it, luckily I was invited so had the address.

It being a coffee shop and all, we thought we should start with a coffee. After placing our order we were given the most adorable shopping basket to help carry everything upstairs which I thought was a nice touch. I went for their signature Cloud Coffee (6,500), which is their version of the Vienna style, probably the coolest coffee in the city right now. I love creamy coffees so this was perfect for me, my only complaint is that I wish it had been sweeter, I would probably add a shot of vanilla syrup next time, but overall it was nice drink and coffee lovers should be impressed. My assistant Elizabeth ordered herself a refreshing Sunset Ade (6,500) to beat the heat. The colourful ade was super refreshing and had an almost sherberty fruity taste. We both really enjoyed it, but I thought it could be even better with a shot of vodka!

The Cinnamon Rolls are a speciality at Mal Car, so we had to give one a try. They have several different variations but we opted for the Original (4,600). Just looking at it, it was easy to tell why they are famous for them and boy were they good. Warm in the middle so the frosting kinda melted and you could sop it all up like a sweet and buttery gravy. The texture of the bun itself was super soft, and it had a good blend of spices without being over powering. Honestly I don’t think I have stopped thinking about these big bountiful buns ever since, they are addictively good, and not to be missed.

Besides the buns, Mal Car also offers a whole range of baked breads and cakes. After gazing over their dazzling array of desserts we decided to try the Humming Bird (6,600), as it was too pretty to resist. The banana and pineapple spiced cake was topped with a nice thick layer of cream cheese frosting and an adorable pineapple flower. The sponge had a lovely hint of pineapple, though I didn’t get much of the banana coming through. We both enjoyed the lovely creamy cheese frosting, and appreciated that it wasn’t too sweet. Being two very greedy girls we also got a Carrot Cake (6,200) too! This was really incredible, so moist and had a really nice balance of spices with a hint of orange. The cake itself was the star here, but the frosting was also good too. I was green with envy when eating this because it was even better than my recipe which I have always considered to be one of the best around.

Overall I thought Mal Car was a gorgeous cafe with fabulous cakes, breads and coffees. The Cinnamon Rolls in particular were incredible and I’ve not tasted one as good as this in Seoul before. The theme really sets it apart and there is seating inside and out. In a city filled with big chain places, these are the small places I love to support, so I will definitely be going back again soon, especially as it is very close to my house.

Mal Car is located at 48-10 Hoenamu-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.  To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the stairs on the left hand side. Follow this road around passing the church and Paris Baguette, walk up the hill towards the Hyatt. Keep going up the hill and look out for the Mal Car sign after you pass the big GS, its in a small residential alley way just after passing Baskin Robbins. Go down the alleyway and you will see Mal Car on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-790-2310 or visit their facebook page. They are open from Tuesday – Sunday from 1pm – 11pm

Brooklyn Bagel Cafe

Last weekend I decided to embrace the spring weather and get my fat arse out for a workout. Much to his dismay I dragged TFB out with me too. After a bracing walk around the park and quick sop at the HBC Ogari fruit and veg lady we headed back down. For being so virtuous I thought we were both in need of reward so we stopped by Brooklyn Bagel cafe on the way home for a treat. The small store is located at the far end of the main drag of HBC almost opposite the CU. Up at the counter is a menu and a refrigerator full of different cream cheeses and 8 different flavours of bagels. The cute cafe has seating inside and out which is always a plus on a sunny day.

After much deliberation, I decided to go for one of the sandwich style bagels and settled on the Chicken Salad (4,000). The best thing about this sandwich is that they let you choose your bagel, and after looking at their selection I went for the everything bagel. The bagel was nice enough, and it came stuffed with a rather nice chicken mayo and a little bit of salad. For 4,000 it was definitely a bargain, you rarely find a sandwich that is under 5,000 these days and although it was small I think most people would be satisfied.

TFB true to form opted for the Salmon with cream cheese (6,000), probably because he knew I wouldn’t ask for a bite. He got his salmon on a jalapeno bagel which personally I thought an odd choice but each to their own. I didn’t actually try this, as you know my feelings about salmon well, especially stuff at the cheaper end of the scale. But he said it had a nice flavour, and there was plenty of salmon with a little bit of zing from the red onion. He agree that the bagel was decent for the price, though wouldn’t have noticed that it was jalapeño flavoured.

Overall I cant say its the best bagel I’ve ever had, or even the best one I have had in Seoul, so I wouldn’t go out of my way for it. However if you are in HBC and in need of a sandwich style snack on a budget or fancy picking up breakfast for you and your latest Tinder hook up then its worth swinging by especially if you are up early or on a walk of shame because it opens at 7am.

Brooklyn Bagel Cafe is located at 44 Sinheung-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong station (line 6). Walk straight out of exit 2 for about 200 meters and take the first left and walk straight along the road with all the kimchi pots. Keep walking straight along this street past Phillies and Casablanca, you will see Brooklyn Bagel Cafe up ahead on the right hand side next to 8 Piece. For more information you can visit their facebook page. They are open every day from 7am-8pm.

Root

I like to consider myself a healthy eater, (seriously lol). I believe in the ying-yang approach, super healthy followed by super unhealthy to create balance in an otherwise unstable world. Now while I spend most of my time looking for Seoul’s more fattening fair, and reserve the healthy stuff for home I do enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal out and about once in a while. For the past few months I have read dozens of good reviews for Root in Hannam-dong, so after putting on some serious weight due to sheer laziness on my part, I figured it was about time I got back on the wagon and gave salads another try.

The cafe is located at the Hannam end of Itaewon, an area I often fail to visit, but hosts a whole load of cute and quirky places. The restaurant is located just off the main drag on the second floor.  The place is very white, light and airy, and makes you feel virtuous just walking into it. It also has a mix of indoor and outdoor seating which is a real rarity in this city. I’m sure come summer this place will be a packed to the rafters with sun worshippers try to get their beach bodies in shape.

The menu is located up at the counter where you will need to order your food, and has a mix of salads, sandwiches and Korean inspired dishes. After much humming and hawing I decided to order the Avocado Toast (8,500), since both of my dining companions had ordered salads. I really liked this dish a lot, I mean avocado and poached eggs is always a winner, and it came served on a lovely thick slice of toast. The bacon added a nice saltiness, and the cherry tomatoes a little acidic zing. My only complaint is that I wish the portion was double the size, but if you are a light eater this is ideal. Slap a mimosa on the side and you’ve got brunch, although as Root doesn’t serve alcohol you will have to bring your own!

As well as my Avocado toast I thought I would treat myself to a smoothie. They have two on the menu and I went for Orange, Banana, and Greek Yogurt (6,500). This was really disappointing, first the way it was served was just quite sad. They make an extra effort to put their water in biodegradable cups then serve their rather expensive smoothies in cheap plastic cups. The whole thing was utterly tasteless too, I was so uninspired I could barely bring myself to take a photo of it. Be sure to give it a miss.

One of my dining companions went for the Green Bowl (12,500). A mix of chicken, kale, romaine, avocado, cherry tomato, Parmesan cheese, Parmesan chips, and Caesar dressing. Honestly this was alright, but nothing to write home about, it was a nice enough salad, with a good ratio of ingredients but it didn’t really have me longing for more. The dressing was a bit wishy-washy too, I like my Ceasar dressing to really sing to my taste buds.

My other gal pal about town ordered the Red Bowl (13,000) which consists of chicken, brown rice, romaine, avocado, corn, black bean, salsa, sour cream, mozzarella and cilantro chipotle dressing. This was definitely my favorite of the two. A little bit more flavour from the dressing but again not a salad I would go out of my way for. She also ordered a bowl of soup on the side, which looked good, and she seemed to enjoy.

Overall I’m not really sure if Root lived up to its hype. I’m certainly happy to see more of this style of restaurant opening in our neighbourhood, though I don’t think the salads here were as good as the ones at nearby What A Salad.  I did however enjoy my dish, and I’d be happy to give a few of their sandwiches a try. I’d certainly be open to eating here again if i was making an extra effort to be healthy.

Root is located at 2F 741-19, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hangangjin Station (line 6) and come out of exit 1. Walk straight along this road, then take the second right. Walk straight along this road and you will see Root on the second floor in the right hand corner above Bistro Al Li. For more information you can call them on 02-797-9505. They are open everyday except Tuesday from 11:30-9pm with a break between 3:30 and 5pm on weekdays.

Cafe L’Assemblage

I love a good natter over a cake and a coffee. It’s one of life’s greatest joys. Luckily for us gossip girls, Seoul is filled to the brim with lovely coffee shops, and you are never more than a stones throw away from the nearest one. Before Christmas I was lucky enough to be invited to Cafe L’Assemblage for a meeting. I had walked past this Garosugil cafe dozens of times in the past and looked longingly at the beautiful pastries in the window, but always feared it was far too fancy for the likes of me so never ventured inside. If I had ever had the balls to walk in, I would have noted that the inside is just as fancy as the outside. The whole cafe exudes an opulence that is ten a penny in Europe but not so much in the ultra modern and sleek cafes in Korea.The cafe has been part of the local landscape since the 90s, but has changed hands several times over the last few years. It now belongs to the original owner’s daughter, which I thought to be an utterly enchanting story.

Since I was meeting with the owner on a separate project we decided to make the most of her generosity and try as many of their cakes as we could fit in our bellies. One of which was their signature Golden Cheese Tarts. My god are these babies addictively good. You may remember that towards the end of last year I had a give away of the golden cheese tarts, and this was where I was first lucky enough to try them. They are a touch pricier at (3,000) each rather than 2,800 for the take out stores, but I think you’ll agree it is certainly worth the 200 won extra to sit and enjoy your tart in such a beautiful cafe. If you have yet to try one yet, the cheese tart is made up of a very crumbly and biscuity pastry which melts in the mouth and has a very similar texture to a graham cracker crust you usually find on a cheesecake. The filling is rich and creamy thanks to the French soft cheese and has just a slightly sour note at the end. If you are a baked cheesecake fan then you need to try this delightful mini tart version asap because they are absolutely scrumptious.

As well as the exceptionally yummy golden cheese tarts, we also tried The Earl Gray Crepe Cake (7,000). I do love a good crepe cake, even more so when I haven’t had to spend hours over a hot stove making one myself. This English tea version was absolutely lighter than air with a delicious flavour of Earl Gray swirled in at the end. I always thought that crepe cakes would be too filling with their many layers but I’m always amazed by how many pieces I can eat. You can’t really tell from the picture, but this crepe cake was topped with a sweet and flavourful layer of earl grey frosting which really intensified the cakes overall flavour.

Lastly we tried the Orange and and White Chocolate Tart (8,500). Orange and chocolate is always a classic combination, just think about a Jaffa Cake or a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. But white chocolate and orange are a match made in heaven that often gets overlooked in favour of milk or dark. The tart itself was exquisite, in the way that only French pastries can be. The pastry was crisp and biscuity. While the orange topping was juicy and sweet with just a hint of citrus sour. It paired well with the rich and creamy filling underneath. I loved this tart so much and could eat a slice every day for the rest of my life, it was sinfully good.

Overall I found Cafe L’Assemblage to be the most delightful of spaces. It is the perfect spot to to fritter away an afternoon gossiping with your friends. The cakes and pastries were exceedingly good, and very well priced for the area. Unlike many dessert cafes in the city, they tasted as good as they looked, and I wouldn’t hesitate to pop in for another dessert next time I am in Sinsa.

Cafe L’Assemblage is located at 118 Apgujeong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong Station (line 3) and come out of exit 5. Walk straight along this road. its located on the corner just after you pass Garosugil. For more information you can call them on 02-3477-2046.

Cre8 Cookies

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I’ve been known to enjoy a cookie or two from time to time, although I wouldn’t say I eat them that often. When it comes to sweet treats cookies are generally at the back of the line, I’d choose a brownie or slice of red velvet any day of the week. But after seeing the numerous photos of the Cre8 Cookies from friends and other bloggers, I couldn’t resist going to see what all the fuss was about.

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Cre8 cookies is located in one of the tiny alleyways off the main street in Gyeongridan, and is dangerously close to my home. When I was walking to get there I could smell the place a good few minutes before I saw it, it was heavenly. The shop itself is cute, pink, and totally adorable. I was lucky enough to arrive just as the cookies were being brought out of the oven, it was incredibly good timing on my part.

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There are currently nine different cookies on the menu, although seasonal specials seem to be added all the time. For those who want to sit in, there is also an array of hot drinks available. The cookies on the menu vary from 1,900 – 2,500 each. I oped for the Peanut Butter (1,900), Double Chocolate Chip (2,000), and a Red Velvet (3,000), which was a special for Halloween. The server also very kindly gave me an MnM cookie on the house because they didn’t have any of the stuffed cookies ready.

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All of the cookies were especially delicious, the peanut butter which was still warm from the oven just melted in mouth, while the double chocolate had a rich cocoa flavour which is sure to please all chocolate lovers. However my favourite of the bunch had to be the red velvet, oh my god was this good. I nearly killed TFB after I found he had eaten a rather large portion of it whilst I wasn’t looking. The cookie itself was studded with white chocolate cream cheese swirls that just danced upon the taste buds. It was so, so, good. I wish I had bought a dozen of them.

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Honestly I cant wait to go back and try more of these fantastic cookies especially the stuffed ones, I have certainly been converted into being a cookie lover, and I am thrilled it’s so close to my house. This is the perfect way to add on a few extra pounds to keep me warm this winter. One tip if you are coming from afar and want to avoid disappointment, you can pre-order your cookies via their facebook page. Some of the large stuffed cookies like the Nutella and coffee marshmallow ones need a little extra time to be made so have to be ordered in advance.

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Cre8 Cookies is located at 36 Hoenamuro, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the stairs on the left hand side. Follow this road around passing the church and Paris Baguette, walk up the hill towards the Hyatt and you will see Cre8 Cookies in an alleyway on your right. For more information you can call them on 02-792-8890 or check out their facebook page. They are open everyday from 11am -9pm.

Puro Juice

For the past year or so almost everyone I meet tends to ask me one question and one question alone, how did you lose so much weight? Fighting the flab has been pretty much been a constant battle in my life, and it wasn’t until I turned 30 that I finally reached a weight that was considered healthy for my height. I’ve tried every fad diet going over the years but the one thing that I have found works for me is eating a raw til 4 diet during the day and then eating whatever I fancy for dinner. There isn’t a morning that goes by that I don’t start my day with a delicious healthy fruit and veg smoothie and this along with regular working out it has allowed me to maintain my weight while still eating cake and pizza.

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As a girl who loves to cook, I make my delicious green or beet smoothies every morning myself, but I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have an expensive high powered blender at their disposal. I first fell in love with vibrant veggie juices and smoothies 10 years ago when I lived in Australia, and about a year ago the fad finally made its way to Korea.

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Personally I have always preferred smoothies to a juices, I just think it’s healthier and more filling to include the roughage. Ever since My Juice came on to the scene a few years back, fruit and vegetable juices have become incredibly popular, in fact it seems as though you can’t swing a dead cat without coming across a Juicy store these days. However not all juice stores are as healthy as they seem,  and the cheaper ones in particular have been adding cups and cups of sugar to their drinks to keep the cost down and the flavour up which means you might as well be drinking your favourite soda.

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Luckily a few weeks ago I came across Puro juice, which is located on churros street in Gyeongridan. They have fantastic menu of juices and smoothies that are all made with completely natural ingredients and are very reasonably priced at 2,500 for a small and 3,900 for a large They have a great mix of options including lots of lovely fresh veggies, fruits and  super foods, and not a bit of added sugar.

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I have been steadily working my way through the menu, so far I have tried the Super Kale, a mix of kale, spinach, mango, pineapple, and apple juice. The Celery Go which is made of celery, yellow pepper, mango, pineapple, and fruit juice, and the Very Carrot, which is carrot, cabbage, blueberry, pineapple, and fruit juice. My favourite so far is the Super Kale, but there are so many more I still have to try. I love that I can always go for something different than I would make at home and get some different nutrients into my body.

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My only gripe about Puro Juice is that it does not open until lunchtime which is a shame as its the perfect thing to enjoy for breakfast, although on a hot afternoon it certainly makes a nice after work treat too. Overall I think this place is great, the juices are delicious and they are very reasonably priced. I really want to give them some support as it’s so nice to be able to have access to a sugar free smoothie you don’t have to make at home.

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Puro Juice is located at 564 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the stairs on the right hand side. Walk straight until you reach the churros place on the corner and go left. Puro Juice is about half way down on the right hand side. For more information you can check out their website.

Conversation

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Monsoon days are usually pretty damn crummy and depressing, however every cloud has a silver lining and I have just the post to turn that frown upside down. Cake! Lots and and lots of beautiful cakes! Conversation is the hottest little cake shop in town. It has only been open for just over two weeks but has already garnered quite the following as you can see from the picture below. At the moment there are no queues, but I can’t see that lasting too long once the Korean bloggers find out about it, so i suggest you pay a visit sooner rather than later. (more…)

Uncle Sam’s

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A few weeks ago one of my faithful readers emailed me and suggested I try this place as soon as possible. It being a stone’s throw away from my house, I had walked past on more than one occasion, but sheer laziness stopped me crossing the street to take a a look at the menu. I know that sounds woefully slothful, but I knew that if it was worth a try people would soon start to shout about it, which they did and I wouldn’t have exerted wasted energy crossing the street. (more…)

Gateaux De Voyage

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Life is a piece a of cake, and sometimes that cake is an exquisite French pastry that you get to eat for free. Or at least that was my recent experience when I was invited to Gateaux De Voyage. The French Patisserie in Nonhyeon has been open for the past six months. It’s owned and run by the handsome Julien Favario who has been making pastries for over 20 years. Early in the morning, or late at night for some of us, he wakes to create his decadent desserts. As a fairly avid baker myself, I was honestly blown away at the amount he can accomplish in a few short  hours. (more…)

Sambazon Acai Bowls

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It’s not often that fortune smiles upon me and I find exactly what I’m looking for, but very occasionally it does. I was mincing around Sinsa last week trying to while away an hour before a meeting and was desperate for something to eat. However I’ve been trying to be a bit healthier lately so I was trying to resist the delicious bagels I’d just picked up for TFB at Pick A Bagel. As luck would have it, my meeting was located opposite this wonderful smoothie bowl joint and I managed to fill myself up while still eating clean.

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The acai bowls are incredibly beautiful and almost look like a work of art. I’ve started making my own smoothie bowls ever since I came back from Bali, but never dreamed there would be anywhere in Seoul selling them, and I’ve since found out they have a branch in Itaewon too.

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The bowls come in thee sizes, handy, regular and large. I opted for the regular (7,500). The bowl was made up of an acai smoothie on the bottom which was deliciously moreish and made up of lots of lovely things like cacoa nibs. Then the bowl is topped with all of those beautiful fruits like banana, dragon fruit, blueberries, pineapple, kiwi, coconut and grapes. The mix of fruits were lovely and tasty and incredibly filing, I wouldn’t hesitate to come back. It’s the perfect meal for those who are trying to eat healthy.

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Sambazon Acai Bowls is located at 59, Nonhyeon-ro 161-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong Station (line 3) and come out of exit 5. Walk straight and take the 5th road on the right, the one before the main Garosugil Street. Walk straight along this road, Sambazon Acai Bowls is located just up ahead on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-516-3686 or check out their facebook page.