by Michael Jones
Buam Dong (부암동) is quickly becoming one of my favorite places in Seoul. This small village, nestled between Bugaksan and Inwangsan, has some of the best restaurants, bakeries, and cafes in all of Seoul. It’s a little off the beaten path, but it’s a must visit. My favorite chicken restaurant in all of Seoul, Gyeyeolsa chicken (계열사), is in Buam Dong and after going there again on Saturday, I decided to explore some other places nearby. The first place we went to was called Scoff, a small bakery that claims to make British baked goods. I can’t claim if that is true, I’ve never been there, but the baked goods were delicious. I’m a brownie addict, so the first thing I gravitated towards was the brownies. We also decided to order a scone, and our friends ordered a scone and carrot cake. Most of the goods cost around (4,000) and I thought it was worth it. Everything was extremely delicious and the carrot cake was delicate, moist, and not overly sweet. The scone was also good, but not great. I think that’s because it was the end of the day though, and I look forward to trying the scone again. The real winner though, and I might be a bit biased since brownies are my favorite dessert on the planet, was the brownie. The brownie was good-sized, extremely moist, and incredibly rich. The chocolate mouthful was creamy and strong. It might be too rich for some people, but I like my brownies that way and it’s the best brownie I’ve had in Seoul. After the bakery, we decided to go to a café named Lumberjack. It’s basically next-door to the bakery and looked too inviting to pass up on a cold winter night. I’m glad we decided to check it out. The rustic interior was decked out in wood, earth tones, corrugated metal fixtures, and old books. The café is two stories and the atmosphere was great. It might be my favorite interior out of any café I’ve been to in Seoul, and I’ve been to a lot. The drinks were also spectacular. I had already ordered coffee earlier that day, so I decided to order an Iced Green Tea Latte (6,000) and my girlfriend ordered an Orange Ade (7,500). The Iced Green Tea Latte was one of the best I’ve had in Seoul and was just as good, if not better, than the expensive ones at O’sulloc Tea House. The Orange Ade was huge. I’m over six feet tall and weigh over 200 pounds, and the drink absolutely dwarfed my hand. I felt like a small child holding a gallon of milk. It was definitely worth it for the price. Two or three people could probably share it and still enjoy it. The drink was not overly sweet, I think they only used sparkling water, instead of cider, and they used four giant orange slices. I think they actually used the entire orange. Both drinks were incredible and I imagine the coffee is probably spectacular as well. I will have to go back soon and try the coffee. The prices were also good, around (5,000-6,000) for most drinks which is fairly standard pricing in Seoul. For the quality and quantity of the drinks the price was worth it. Scoff and Lumberjack are two wonderful places to visit and are a perfect combination for enjoying a date or a lazy afternoon. You can't go wrong with the combination of great coffee and great dessert. If you want to escape the crowds and enjoy some great food, Buam Dong should be on your radar.
Directions: From Gyeongbokgung station, take the 7022 or the 7016 bus to Buam Dong. From around Sookmyung women’ university, take the 1711 or the 7016 bus. Scoff and Lumberjack will be next to the large 7-11 near the bend in the road. If you get dropped off before the tunnel the stores will be on your right. If you get dropped off at the top of the hill, near the Espresso Club, walk down the hill towards the 7-11 and after passing it Lumberjack and Scoff will be on your left.
by Michael Jones
Today I discovered another great coffee shop. The name of the shop is 5CIJUNG and I went to the location in Samcheongdong, which is a really nice neighborhood near Gyeongbokgung. I ordered an iced caffe latte (7,000) and my girlfriend ordered the same thing. Every drink you order comes with a scone, and they are delicious. Actually, it was the best scone I've had since moving to Seoul last year. The scone was flaky, moist, and was just a tad sweet. The butter and jam that came on the side were also delicious. Additionally, the cafe latte might be the best one I've had in Seoul. The steamed milk was good, but I could still taste more of the coffee. A lot of coffee shops in Seoul add too much milk, use weak coffee, or sometimes both, and the drink you end up with is basically milk flavored coffee. After a nice morning hike, the latte was perfect. After being blown away by the scones, we decided to order a desert as well. We chose the Fondant au Chocolat (8,300) and it was mind-blowing. It took about 20 minutes to prepare, but it was absolutely worth it. On the plate you get a small bowl of bananas and grapes, smooth vanilla ice cream, and the Fondant au Chocolat, a small chocolate cake filled with warm chocolate filling. The chocolate percentage was 66%, not incredibly dark, but it tasted fresh and it was outstanding. The interior of the shop is cozy. The walls are white, there is a lot of wooden furniture and accents, there is minimal artificial lighting, and a lot of natural light. A good thing in my opinion, since some coffee shops in Seoul seem more like nightclubs than a good place to enjoy coffee and conversation. I would consider 5CIJUNG the perfect cafe to study at, go on a date, or to simply indulge on a great cup of coffee. The prices are slightly expensive, but the coffee and food are of the utmost quality. This could definitely be a once a week kind of place for me. I hope you try it sometime. Stay thirsty.
Go to Anguk Station (line 3) Exit 6
In about 50 yards take a right at the crosswalk
You will walk straight for a while (It's a nice walk though)
You will pass lots of shops, restaurants, the occasional street musician
When you get to the Street Churros on your right keep going straight across the road
Then take a left at the Kiehl's store
Walk down that street until it gets to the main road
Cross the main road and then walk to the right (slightly uphill)
The coffee shop will be on your left side at the back of a parking lot
And across the street from the sunflower and hot air balloon mural
Sorry for the long directions, but the journey is worth it. Enjoy the coffee.