DO NOT MISS

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cafe De Seoul: Seoul Searching at Taft Avenue

Although I love Korean BBQ houses and bulgogi restaurants, there will always be a special spot for Korean cafes in my heart. Unlike the usual Western coffee shops, Korean cafes offer a unique experience not only with its drinks and snacks, but also with a lighter, hipper and more creative atmosphere. And this my friends is exactly what I loved about Cafe De Seoul -- a fairly new Korean cafe along Taft Avenue in Manila.
Cafe De Seoul Counter

More Good Eats at Vito Cruz, Taft Avenue:
Cafe De Seoul which opened just this March is located at the 2nd floor of One Archer's Place. It's right next to DLSU's Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall, which is a few blocks away from the Quirino LRT station (towards Vito Cruz). And while I was certainly surprised at the numerous food spots that opened right after I left the building (I used to rent a unit at One Archer's Place), I was sure excited to experience Cafe De Seoul's offerings.

And by offerings, I don't just pertain to Cafe De Seoul's own brew of coffees, teas and other concoctions. Aside from the usual f&b to go along with a nice relaxing stay in a Korean cafe, Cafe De Seoul also offers a creative space -- the perfect place for brainstorming, fun catch-up sessions, an energizing alone time while finishing up a project, or just a spot to draw inspiration from when you have the dreaded creative block.

Cafe De Seoul Entranceway Cafe De Seoul Photowall
Cafe De Seoul Window Seats
Cafe De Seoul Tablet Tables Cafe De Seoul Long Table

Don't you just love how fun, modern and invigorating the place looks like? Your eyes can roam endlessly inside Cafe De Seoul, and I'm sure you'll find yourself with the same dilemma I had. "Where do I sit?" It sounds petty, but believe me, Cafe De Seoul is spacious and almost every spot seems perfect. Whether you sit by the windows, at the long table, or by the couches, you'll never fail to feel like you're in an airport cafe in Seoul.

Cafe De Seoul Dutch Coffee Drip Cafe De Seoul Tablets
Would you believe, some tables are even equipped with Samsung Galaxy tablets?

There are even more awesome things you'll see when you check out the trinket-filled corners at Cafe De Seoul. They have a shelf full of cute merchandise, magazines you can read, and even a working Dutch coffee drip. But the most eye-catching feat I found were the table tops installed with Samsung Galaxy tablets! Of course, if you brought your own gadgets, fret not as Cafe De Seoul offers free Wi-Fi and even network sockets.

The Food and Drinks

Sorry if I became too giddy sharing the light, creative, modern and techie ambiance of Cafe De Seoul. It's not usual for me to gush over a cafe's interior, but this is an exception since the place is really my cup of tea. But of course, ambiance is not the entire selling point, so let us now move on to the food and drink offerings at the cafe.

Brussel Waffle P245
Brussel Waffle (P245)
I always get a waffle when I'm in cafes, so it's nice to have tried the Brussel Waffle which is a popular Korean snack that's lighter, crisper and has larger pockets than other European waffle variants. It's served with your choice of gelato, fruit slices and 3 kinds of sauces -- chocolate, white chocolate and strawberry. I know price is a little steep, but this serving is indeed one of the best waffles I've had. Even without the sauces, I can actually enjoy every forkful (and finish the whole thing) with just fruits and a dollop of gelato. Yum!

Chocolate Lava Cake P130
Chocolate Lava Cake
Chocolate Lava Cake (P130)
Chocoholics shouldn't miss the Chocolate Lava Cake. It's one of the cafe's best-sellers combining elements of a moist chocolate cake, and a creamy soufflé. Flavor-wise, I loved that this serving is rich and super chocolatey. Normally, I can finish chocolate desserts instantly. But since this cake has intense chocolatey goodness, it helps to have a companion to share this with. Personally though, I would've preferred if it has oozing molten chocolate. But this dessert's moist, almost-molten center is a good consolation.

Rice Cake P50 each
✓ Rice Cake (P50 each; P400 set of 10)
Available flavors include melon, mango, green apple, strawberry, wild strawberry, blueberry,
orange, banana, peach and grape.
The prettiest dessert we had were the Rice Cakes which are called tteok in Korean. Unlike traditional tteok, this modern take is quite similar to Japanese rice cakes called mochi. Outside every bundle is a casing of pounded glutinous rice. The inside on the other hand, is a mix of fruit flavors and sweet bean paste perfect to pair with the cafe's teas. For this trip, I was fortunate to have sampled 9 with the exception of the peach flavor. And for someone who has tried quite a number of Japanese mochi, I can say that these colorful treats far surpass the ones I've had in terms of flavor, texture and appearance. Honestly, I loved every flavor equally, and that has never happened before!

Gangnam Balls P145
Gangam Balls inside
Gangnam Balls (P145)
Available in beef, tuna and kimchi.
For savory rice lovers, you can try the Gangnam Balls which are a variation of Korean rice balls called jumuk bap. Served with 2 kinds of sauces, these savory bundles of rice are perfect for people on the go, or for those who just want an easy-to-eat meal while studying or working in the cafe. I got to try both the beef and tuna variants, and they were quite good. The next time I visit Cafe De Seoul, I'll be sure to order the kimchi flavor.

Seoul Bing-Soo ECO P210 BIZ P260 Seoul Bing-Soo
✓ Seoul Bing-Soo (ECO P210; BIZ P260)
The ECO size is good for about 2-3, while BIZ is good for about 3-4 persons.
My most-awaited dessert for the trip was the Seoul Bing-Soo which is the Korean equivalent of our halo-halo. While our local summer dessert is certainly more colorful, there's no doubt that this bowl looks as enticing. Every serving has finely-shaved ice, red beans, sliced almonds, peanuts, tteok (Korean rice cakes), and a scoop of vanilla gelato drizzled with chocolate syrup. Although our own halo-halo is more elaborate, I can't deny that the medley of all the flavors in this Korean dessert is just addictingly good! Every spoonful is refreshing, with a warm and earthy hint from the nuts and red beans.

Green Tea Bing-Soo Green Tea Bing-Soo ECO P200 BIZ P250
✓ Green Tea Bing-Soo (ECO P200; BIZ P250)
The ECO size is good for about 2-3, while BIZ is good for about 3-4 persons.
Another variant of this refreshing summer treat is the Green Tea Bing-Soo. It has almost the same combination of ingredients, except that there's green tea syrup in the mix and is topped with green tea powder. While both bing-soo variants brought me to shaved ice heaven, I'll only recommend this flavor to the exciting folks who love matcha as it might be too much for those who don't really fancy the taste of matcha green tea. Oh, and just a tip, make sure to mix all the ingredients thoroughly so you can enjoy every dimension (flavor and texture) of this refreshing Korean shaved ice dessert.

Ddalgi Sonagi ECO P155 BIZ P165 Honey Yuja ECO P130 BIZ P145
Ddalgi Sonagi (ECO P155; BIZ P165) and ✓ Honey Citron/Yuja (ECO P130; BIZ P145)
For drinks, we got to enjoy the Ddalgi Sonagi which literally translates to "strawberry rain" in Korean. Like what its name implies, it's a mixture of ice-blended green kiwi and strawberries sure to quench your thirst from the scorching summer heat. It was humid outside when we got to Cafe De Seoul, so we really appreciated this refreshing and not overly-sweet concoction. However, I have to admit that the Honey Citron/Yuja won me over. Its appearance had instantly refreshed my senses, and more so when I took a sip. It had hints of honey and sharp citron, perfect to both invigorate and provide comfort.

Blueberry White Choco Mocha (Blended) ECO P130 BIZ P145 Honey Schisandra Omija ECO P130 BIZ P145
✓ White Choco Mocha (ECO P130; BIZ P145) with Blueberry Syrup (P20)
and ✓ Honey Schisandra/Omija (ECO P130; BIZ P145)
On another trip, I got to take a sip from my friend's ice-blended White Choco Mocha with Blueberry Syrup. Although it was my first time to have tasted blueberry-infused coffee, I actually liked it. It was creamy and has fragrant and sharp notes of blueberry, yet the coffee taste is still there. On my next visit, I'll be sure to try its hot coffee counterpart. As for my order, I had a hot Honey Schisandra/Omija Tea which was super comforting and tasted a little similar to the Honey Citron/Yuja, except that the sharpness was more evident here. Every sip was very comforting though, the perfect cup for a rainy day.

Cafe De Seoul One Archers Place Green Podium
You can easily spot Cafe De Seoul if you enter the rear entrance of One Archer's Place.

THE VERDICT

My visits to Cafe De Seoul have left me impressed not just with its food and drink offerings, but more because of its ambiance and great service. While I already have a list of my favorite Cafe De Seoul items, as well as another list of my next-to-try drinks and pastries, it's the unwavering charm of the place that pulls me to come back. It's not often that you come across cafes exuding creative atmosphere capable of invigorating and inspiring its patrons. Even if the price tags are leaning more toward the steeper side, the overall value I got not just from the food and drinks at Cafe De Seoul, but from the whole experience, is definitely worth it. So if you're a cafe lover who's not just after the flavors but also for a holistic experience, then try Seoul-searching at Cafe De Seoul.

Insider Tip: You can actually have your papers photocopied at Cafe De Seoul. Just inquire! *wink*

Taste - 4/5
Ambiance - 5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Novelty Factor - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Cafe De Seoul, One Archer's Place
2/F One Archer's Place, Taft Ave., Malate
Manila, Philippines
Facebook Page
Twitter


66 comments :

  1. I must must must visit the place! (You know I'm a sucker for anything related to Korea, haha. And those mochis/tteoks look really yummy!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're indeed yummy! :D I'm sure you'll enjoy your future visit to Cafe De Seoul ;)

      Delete
  2. Oh my God, I've been craving for waffles these past few days, I hope Cafe De Seoul has a branch here in Metro South. :P It's really cool that they have tablets on their tables, I've never seen a cafe that offers that kind of service/amenity. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Cafe De Seoul has plans of branching out. Let's hope they'll have one not just in the south, but in the north too para merong mas malapit samen :D

      Delete
  3. Ang nice ng place! Ganda! Must try that lava cake and those cute rice cakes! Parang i wanna try everything! Will definitely visit! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go Berylle! :D I'm sure you'll love the place as much as I did. Babalik nga ulit ako eh, tambay-tambay lang.. XD

      Delete
  4. Hey Sumi, OT: I was wondering if you're doing any group "bloggers" restaurant take over? Parang food bloggers will gather and go to a resto altogether to have fun and blog about them? :) I'm really interested to have a food adventure with you! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As of now, I haven't thought of organizing an event myself yet. But maybe some time soon, who knows? :D Will definitely let you know when I do, sis ^^ Thanks!

      Delete
  5. Le bf loves anything Korean too and his office is just in Leon Guinto. I like the Gangnam Balls and the Samsung Tablets. haha

    I really love your photos Sumi. What's your cam? ^-^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice! :D Then go with your bf soon! Anyway, I'm using a Canon EOS 550D ^^ Thanks sis!

      Delete
  6. So many cafes to visit in Taft noh? I wish I could frequent the place just like college years. :) I hope to try the Green Tea bing-soo, I've started to like anything with green tea. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love everything you featured here especially the strawberry rain. And yes, you are right about the interior, I would also feature it on my blog if ever I would visit the place. I think it's really cool!

    xoxo
    MrsMartinez

    ReplyDelete
  8. OMG!!! I love the place! it's sooo neat and prettyyyy!!! :D A place I would definitely love to hangout/date. hihihihi :D

    ReplyDelete
  9. I place looks awesome! It's been ages since I've been to that area... I'm a Lasallian myself and I've seen the Taft-Vito Cruz area transform over the years I was there. Now I guess it looks completely different.
    Everything looks good to eat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha.. I was actually surprised of the changes, and I haven't been in the area for just a year! >.< I wonder how much Taft-Vito Cruz would change in the next few years.

      Delete
  10. wow! good rating. I will try it then :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. hey! that's a really nice looking place. love the tree branch art installation on the wall! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow! I thought this is simply an ordinary cafe but the waffle and lava cake will not make me sleep. =p The cafe looks like it stepped out directly from a Koreanovela and it's so thoughtful of them to include tablets in the table especially when you're coming with bored kids. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sumi!! Your blog posts never failed to amaze me!
    Your pictures are awesome, it seriously makes me wanna fly there and try it out. The cafe looks so entertaining yet relaxing at the same time.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Whoa! I love the clean refreshing interior. Starting a day here definitely has a holiday feel. This cafe must be a gem for every city resident where we battle stress everyday.

    I had some crisp Belgian waffles this morning but i soo wish i had that strawberry rain to accompany it.

    Lovely photos as always, Sumi.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love the interior, it's so bright and I love how they tuck the Samsung tablets in the table.I'm sure it will be a popular hangout for students. If I'm there, I'll have the lava cake :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh I really hope they open somewhere near me! Everything looks so yummy and the tables equipped with galaxy tabs are so high tech!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Whoa sis! That place is super nice! Very creative :) I think aside from the food, the interior design would be their best asset :))

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love the presentation and the prices are really cheap!

    I never realized there are so much good places to eat in Vito Cruz!

    We should go and explore :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vito Cruz is now some kind of foodie haven :D Just in One Archer's Place, a lot of restos, cafes and eateries have opened up.

      Delete
  19. Wow, you're right. I'm loving the interior too! And the food looks great. Those colorful rice cakes caught my eye. My dad would love it there, I'm sure. I just wish Cafe De Seoul could open a branch near my place.

    ReplyDelete
  20. wow! Im always in this area. Its an area full of very interesting places to eat. I would never had spotted this place if it werent for this blog. It's a place that Im definitely going to check out. The food looks delicious and you're right about ambiance. :) thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great looking cafe!!! It looks so nice and interesting. I understand your giddiness when talking about the place! It is very exciting! ;) The food too doesn't disappoint. That waffle looks sooo good! :D

    ReplyDelete
  22. Very impressive indeed! I want to try the molten choco cake! I may just drop by this place next week =)

    ReplyDelete
  23. something i would love to check out. I love everything korean and this one really look nice and festive, Did you finish all that foods, it would ruin my diet. he he he

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Believe it or not, we actually finished everything.. With the exception though of the 2 bing-soos XD We had to take it out na 'cause we were too full already XD

      Delete
  24. Wow! I'll visit this cafe shop soon with my friends. I wanna try their frap and cakes. <3 The place looks cozy and the ambiance is really relaxing. x, http://shekinahjoy.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. omg.. This is a must visit Cafe! The ambiance looks very relaxing. I want to try those cakes, it looks really yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I would love to visit this place! Looks so good :) The cakes looks so yummy :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wow. Ive never been in a korean cafe and their interior is so amazing. Their prices are just a little bit pricey but the desserts are unique especially the gangnam balls! Hahaha. Ill visit this place soon, oh hopefully!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow, would love to go there! :) It reminds me of Subspace Cafe but this is more spacious. Hope to check it out soon; it's so far, though.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Those gangnam balls look like cheese poppers too. Yum! :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. The brussel waffles looked delish! will make sure to drop by cafe de seoul one of these days.:)

    ReplyDelete
  31. wow,i would love to try all of the mouth watering desserts

    ReplyDelete
  32. Wow, I must try this resto coz it's just near from my place. The food, ambiance and experience look amazing based on your shots. Cool! :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wow! The place looks really nice. I love how clean and bookish it feels. I haven't tried dining at a Korean cafe yet, although I've heard so many good things about them. We don't one near our place din.

    Taft Avenue will most likely be the next foodie destination at the rate it's going. I studied at DLSU for my master's and regretfully, wasn't able to try out as many of the food places there while studying. Plus it wasn't as populated with unusual food outlets yet. Hoping they'll be the next Kapitolyo or something like that. Para naman sa mga nasa south. =)

    ReplyDelete
  34. ganda ng place! sun shiny day ang dating kasi daming illumination =P sarap kumain dito...

    ReplyDelete
  35. Oh wow! Taft is already becoming the next Maginhawa St. with the emergence of new restaurants. Anyway, I think I'm going to try this one out medyo malayo siya from my place pero I think the visit will be worth it naman.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Nice yummy foods! I heard the food are really good but quite pricey, specially for students.

    ReplyDelete
  37. hoe to visit this place very soon,the place looks cute and very inviting...

    ReplyDelete
  38. OMG! I would visit this place.. I can see that all the foods are delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  39. will definitelt go to this place with my kids and im sure they will love the ambiance and all the foodies

    ReplyDelete
  40. WOAH. I shall go there before 2013 ends.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Definitely a must visit place in my list. Thanks Sumi for this review :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. lahat ng food yummy Cafe De Seoul is a must visit place

    ReplyDelete
  43. Just read your post, and I must stay that Cafe De Seoul looks quaint. I like everything Korean, so I'll definitely visit this place soon and try their Ddalgi Sonagi! :D

    ReplyDelete
  44. OMG! The place is nice :) The food also looks delicious. I must visit this place soon.

    ReplyDelete
  45. yummyyyy i really want to try this

    ReplyDelete
  46. wow I like sweet treats!!! nice place too.

    ReplyDelete
  47. That choco lava cake looks scruptious! and a place that serves gangnam balls is sure to be a hit! I must come here with the pichi sometime... :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Food look so yummy, nice place, cute design too, feels like your in Korea.. <3 :) I want to try the food here.. will visit soon

    ReplyDelete
  49. I love this article. thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. Their dessert offering looks really enticing plus the tablets in the table is really so cool.

    ReplyDelete
  51. The place looks really nice and the food looks yummy. I will visit this place soon!

    ReplyDelete
  52. One of the best Korean Cafe I've ever been. Very cool place and I super love the interior. Too bad the Gangnam balls were unavailable when we went there. A nice and detailed review Miss Sumi. :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. yay,i really want to taste all of the food and the green tea!

    ReplyDelete
  54. This place is really awesome! A mix of Korean and Japanaese! I think i've heard of Cafe De Seoul at GMA news tv. And their place is really great. Very neat and has Samsung tablets! Perfect for tambayan!

    ReplyDelete
  55. i love that place so refershing and i want to go to that place and taste their specialtis love this place much hoping to have there :)

    ReplyDelete

 
Copyright © 2014 The Purple Doll. Customized by Sumi. Designed by OddThemes