Exploring the trending cafes of Serosu-gil, the streets on either side of Sinsa-dong’s landmark Garosu-gil, seems to be the hot new quest for Seoul’s zealous food and fashion bloggers and cafehoppers. There are hardly any articles online that duly present the term of the street/s and its thriving foodie culture, the medley of boutiques, the aesthetic sensibility and heart-pumping energy in the search results of ‘Serosu-gil’ (Sero meaning ‘vertical’ and gil meaning ‘street’) whereas Garosu-gil (meaning Tree-lined Street, Garo meaning ‘horizontal’) has gained much hype and public attention throughout its years of popularity. Just like Garosu-gil, Serosu-gil is established as the upscale go-to place for the youth to luxuriate in, constantly surrounded by a flurry of shopping and eating activities.
Managers and owners who run their business in the locale describes Serosu-gil as a more low-key offshoot of the main street that introduces a sprawl of alleyways clad with bars, restaurants, cafes and designer boutiques. In comparison to Garosu-gil, the area is generally less busy and accommodates a set of snug, hip and sophisticated hideaways.
Among the long list of cafes on Serosu-gil aforementioned across the media, here are three establishments worth highlighting:
- Baobab Tree Coffee
A good starter to the cafe rundown would be one that is most tucked away from public sight; hardly explored or documented online, this roastery seems to be the king of recesses within Serosu-gil, despite its early launch in 2001. It is only a few strides away from the right-side ridge of Garosu-gil, the direction closer to Sinsa Station.
Next to a men’s apparel store and on the right of a mini bamboo-skirted walkway is the entrance of the cafe. Coffee is served on the second floor, with modest-size seating on the second and third floor while the fourth boasts a basic hippie rooftop fit for an idyllic evening beer fest. Entering the reception, there is a waft of artisan drip coffee (Koreans dub it ‘hand-drip’) that fills the vintage rustic drawing room finished with an industrial twist. From the vinyl record player and old shelves decked with china to the antique retro sofas, customers will find that they are there not just for the coffee but for a homely conversation and a mood of peace.
The menu has some savoury offerings like toast and small bites. An extensive range of coffee roast flavours, wine, beer (and possibly every other beverage you can think of) are available as well as indulgent options like milkshakes and chocolate. To top it off, cotton hand towels in place of napkins are served with the food or drink—much like the service of a quality hotel.
2. Dore Dore
This dessert cafe is sure to be a cake lover’s favourite once they discover and try what’s in store. The first impression of Dore Dore is like stepping into a doll house greeted by a cloud of white and pastel palette behind a display of colourful high-layered cakes, including the fruit-packed fresh cream cake, round bundt cake and the most rich and delectable banana pudding dessert. In addition to the cake display, the counter puts on display pastries like butter scones, classic pounds, crumbles, brownies, egg tarts, and madeleines that may not seem as fancy as the glassed display cakes but are very satisfying nonetheless. As big and tall as the cakes are, so is the price. Three spacious floors are dedicated to the public for visitors to enjoy some tranquil afternoon tea and Instagram time. To recommend are the two signature cakes: the fruits fresh cream cake and the rainbow fresh cream cake together with an Americano or a cup of tea.
3. Lay Bricks Coffee Roaster
Lay Bricks is the ultimate hangout for urban hipsters and artists. The interior of the English industrial brick house exudes industrial vintage chic even through the very dimly lit shop. Every wall is adorned with vintage artworks, and vintage artefacts fill the corners of the cafe in such a natural manner that you would feel transported back in time. On one side of the cafe is a merchandise display of an Australian men’s grooming brand up for sale and for viewing, and curiously enough, all the servers at the cafe are men too. They serve up strong and flavoursome house-roasted coffee along with a fine selection of craft beer. Besides drinks, they offer a range of decadent treats and a few savoury brunches, from the Eggs Benedict to the Apple Pan Crumble and the Banana Tiramisu.
Fast becoming the busiest and trendiest stop for coffee in the Garosu-gil and Serosu-gil neighbourhood, this cafe will be able to appease appetite, vanity and solitude all at once.