Restaurant Spotlight: Café de SeoulOctober 23, 2018
- Mikka WeeWords
If you spend a lot of time in Taft (near where the girls and boys in green usually gather), there is a big chance that you already know all about Café de Seoul. A travel-inspired Korean coffee shop located at One Archer’s Place, Café de Seoul is actually purely homegrown. Hard as it is to believe, it’s really not from any preexisting Korean franchise.
While most modern cafés in Metro Manila tend to take a minimalist approach in their interior design choices, Café de Seoul has managed to find a balance among simplicity, being quirky, and imaginative.
“The concept and design is inspired by an airport feature. Since Café de Seoul came from Korea and arrived in Manila, Just Arrived has been used as the tagline for the first shop,” Jeon Woong, owner of Café de Seoul, tells us. According to him, the design was conceptualized by the creative minds of Design A Works, a design/architectural firm partner of Samsung in Korea.
Café de Seoul’s branding is very distinct. Almost everything—from their cups to their sugar packets—is labeled with the Café de Seoul logo. Jeon Woong tells us that the unique features of Cafe de Seoul’s menu, design, and concept were formulated over a long period of time. It required comprehensive research, conceptualization, experimentation, and development. They even carried out surveys and ran trials. It was clearly a lot of work.
Being a coffee shop that caters to both the Korean and Filipino palates, Café de Seoul has an extensive array of coffee drinks to choose from. One interesting example is the tangy-sweet Blueberry White Chocolate Mocha, a drink reminiscent of the Meiji fruity chocolates. “Basically, we tried to find the perfect balance between the taste preference of two different cultures, resulting to our unique and one of a kind food and beverage offerings,” Jeon Woong explains.
“We personally prepare our coffee beans from Seoul, South Korea. Café de Seoul uses coffee beans of the highest quality from various countries: Brazil Santos No.2, Guatemala SHB, Costa Rica SHB, Tanzania AA, and Kenya AA,” says Jeon Woong. “Our coffee beans are roasted to perfection. We pursue the best, high-end quality and coffee taste, so we make sure the beans are perfectly blended. Our Roast Master has had 20 years of study and experience in roasting and blending,” he adds.
Jeong Woong says that one of the best features of Café de Seoul is its exceptional service to its customers. The store’s guests can take advantage of the numerous tech resources the store offers such as free WiFi, free use of Samsung Galaxy Tabs, free printing services, and free charging stations. “These amenities make our café unique and superb, so that everyone would love to come back and have the best coffee service,” he tells us.
Aside from coffee, Café de Seoul also offers a variety of other drinks such as mocktails and tea mixes. For first-time Café de Seoul visitors, Jeon Woong recommends that you try out the Ddalgi Sonagi because of its refreshing taste, but what he really wants to introduce to local customers is the Bing-Soo, which is a very popular Korean delicacy.
He served us some of Café de Seoul’s best-tasting items and gave us the scoop on each one.
“With the extreme summer heat, Ddalgi Sonagi, which literally translates to strawberry rain in Korean, is the perfect refreshing drink,” he says. “It consists of green kiwi and strawberries that will help you quench your thirst from the scorching summer season.”
A mixture of tropical fruit juices like coconut, pineapple, and orange, Jeon Woong tells us that Mirinae is the Korean word for river. “The Han River played a very important role in the economic growth of Korea. It is popularly known among Seoul citizens as a place for recreation and leisurely activities such as windsurfing and jet skiing,” he explains.
Jeon Woong tells us that the Honey Yuja is a very healthy drink that’s known to help in digestion and relive hangovers. It also has a higher amount Vitamin C compared to oranges, which helps prevent colds and fatigue. Its calcium content is 10 times more than apples’, which builds bones and prevents osteoporosis. He also adds that the Honey Yuja contains an ingredient that keeps the veins healthy and regulates blood pressure. Its taste is clean, fresh, and comparable to that of a lemon or an orange.
Café de Seoul’s rice cakes are similar to mochi, and are their modern take on traditional Korean rice cakes. They have ten fruit flavors, and they are baked and tailored to “tickle their customer’s taste buds,” according to Jeon Woong.
Sikhae is a traditional Korean rice beverage that is often served as a dessert. Aside from its liquid ingredients, sikhae also contains grains of cooked rice. Café de Seoul’s Chocolate Lava Cake, on the other hand, is “a popular dessert that combines the elements of a flourless chocolate cake and a soufflé,” says Jeon Woong.
Bing-Soo is a popular shaved ice dessert in Korea, and is often served during the summer season. Jeon Woong tells us that it’s a mouth-watering medley of gelato, red beans, Korean rice cake, sliced almonds, and many other things that are imported from Korea.
Jeon Woong tells us that Brussel Waffles are a popular Korean snack. “They are lighter, crisper, and have larger pockets compared to other European waffle varieties. The Brussel Sausage Waffle is a combination of freshly-made waffle batter topped off with luscious imported cheesy Frankfurters and Hungarian sausages.”
The version with fruits comes with gelato and three kinds of dip: chocolate, white chocolate, and strawberry sauce. “It’s perfect with coffee,” Jeon Woong recommends.
As Jeon Woong and his team are currently in the process of creating new products (such as more savory offerings that cater to their customers tastes while at the same time highlighting their Korean branding), they are also seriously thinking about expanding and opening more branches around Metro Manila. Some locations that are under their consideration include Robinson’s Malls, SM Malls, Ayala Land, ETON properties, and other prime areas.
“We aim to share the authentic Korean café culture to the Filipinos. We always make sure that we highly considered the art, appearance, and procedure in our offerings to capture the attention of our Filipino customers who are very artistic by nature.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Café de Seoul
Unit 12, 2/F One Archer’s Building
Store Hours: M-TH from 8:00 am – 1:00 am; F-Sun from 9:00 am – 12:30 am
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