Refreshment and comfort, flaws and all
For weeks, it was a joy to observe the progress, anticipating the opening of what appeared to be a cafe. A few weeks ago, Palpandong Cafe quietly began its operations, and I was there on its first day of business. Since then, I have grown to love some of the items on the menu and have been back to the cafe several times.
The cafe is located in the basement of a Korean restaurant and has two entrances - one on the street and another through the restaurant’s garden. As I stepped through the main entrance, I was greeted by a flower shop within the cafe.
The place was quite spacious and the atmosphere, comfortable. A wall of photographs of a travel author caught my eye, as did a gigantic table covered in white tile.
Another of my favorites is the cafe’s tteokbokki (15,000 won), a dish of stir-fried rice cakes seasoned with spicy pepper paste. The casual street food is elevated into an elegant meal, and it comes beautifully garnished with basil leaves, Korean leeks and olives. The spiciness is just right and the Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top is a nice touch. The dish is served with two seasoned rice balls, making it more than a snack. It’s provided me with some indestructible carb comfort in the middle of tiring days.
The operation of the cafe is not exactly professional, and I have experienced a couple of disappointments. The menu features cakes made of organic ingredients and other desserts, but none have ever been ready on any of my visits. On my latest trip for an early lunch at around 11:45 a.m., the owner politely apologized that the kitchen was not ready.
However, I don’t think these experiences will stop me from going back for my midday snack and drink. After all, it’s the little flaws that make the cafe so comfortable.
Location: 128, Jongno-gu, Palpan-dong, Seoul
Phone: (02) 737-8485
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
by Seo myo-ja [email@example.com]