The Seongsu area around Seoul Forest has earned the reputation of being the “Brooklyn of Seoul”, with cafes such as Daelim Warehouse, Zagmachi, or.er, Café Cow&Dog being new hangout places for the hip and young Koreans. Café Onion itself which has fast become a popular landmark of the area, is converted from a metal factory. It was previously a supermarket and restaurant, built in the 1970s.
Upon entering, I thought that the rustic grey walls and remnants of the previous occupants, were extremely charming. I can imagine instagrammers with primary monochromatic and grey galleries would go internally ‘crazy’ at how picturesque the space is. After I took walks around, its attractiveness just increased.
Café Onion (카페 어니언) somehow maintained to retain that industrial allure, and included modern features such as long and broad communal tables, wide windows and a garden for a broader appeal. The area is huge, with varied spaces for café hoppers to enjoy. For repeated customers, you can choose to sit somewhere different and the experience should be quite dissimilar. The Korean customers looked truly at ease and joyful engaging in conversations.
Couples liked to snuggle at the grey cushioned areas, or took up small tables facing each other. Groups of friends sat on the long tables, or L-shaped benches. There is also an open rooftop terrace on the second level, which would be brilliant and breezy in a cooling season such as autumn, or at the magic hour when the sun is setting. Even if you come individually like I did, there would be room for reflection or a quiet corner with a book.
Food wise, Cafe Onion serves up bread from the famed Bread 05 Bakery, with over 20 varieties to choose from all freshly baked in-house. The most popular choice would be the Pandoro (5.000 Won), an Italian-style bread covered in powdered sugar. Initially I was sceptical and thought that it would be just aesthetically photographic. When the fork went down from the tip of the cone, the white sugar fell like snow from the top of the mountain. The texture was pleasantly fluffy, and surprisingly not too sweet. Coffee drinks included Original Cappuccino, Espresso Macchiato, Flat White, Caffe Latte, Vanilla Caffe Latte, Caramel Latte (4.500 – 6.500 Won); along with Carrot Juice (5.500 Won), Chocolate Latte (6.500 Won), Matcha Latte (6.000 Won), and seasonal specials such as Avocado Milk (6.000 Won) and Passion Fruit Soda (6.500 Won).
Besides the fact that Café Onion is extremely instagrammable and you would find good-looking and/or stylish Koreans taking their OOTDs at every corner, the vibes are amazingly chill. Should be a total enjoyment for hipster type café goers.
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