Red Velvet and More!
Seoul is chockfull of tiny little restaurants, cafes and boutiques. I guess that’s part of its charm; leave no crevice unfilled. This particular “charm” also makes it very difficult to find good/ unique places. I can imagine this to be particularly frustrating for tourists on a time schedule, or others who are staying in Korea temporarily. For people living in Korea indefinitely, like me, it’s a great way to explore and discover great things! It’s sort of like rummaging through a sales bin.
8 1/2 is a tiny basement cafe that you would hardly even notice if you walked by, as it only seats 15 people. Inside, you will find two brick walls facing the outside that are lined with bars and stools, giving you a real ground level view of the world outside. Another wall is painted white and is used to show old hollywood films on it through a projector. The red and brown hues of the brick walls and wooden floor are nicely complimented by the steel grey accents of the furniture and decor. The general atmosphere is very chic and relaxed, especially with its light jazz playlist.
The menu here is small and basic, covering a few coffees, teas, smoothies and even some snacks on a single page. What drew my attention to this place the first time I went was a poster outside advertising red velvet cake. I couldn’t remember the last time I had a good red velvet cake, so I knew I had to give it a try. The cake was soft and moist with a slight hint of honey and the frosting was rich and creamy. It’s not the best red velvet I’ve ever had in my life, but it comes pretty darn close and it really hits the spot if you have a craving for it. A decent slice of this heavenly goodness will run you a mere ₩4,500, not too bad.
On my most recent visit, I found that they had added two new items to their menu: red velvet cupcakes and tiramisu. I wasn’t sure how they would measure up to the red velvet cake, but I knew I had to try them. In a word they were… amazing! The cupcakes tasted just like the cake, but were filled with tasty cream cheese frosting. The tiramisu was a bit untraditional, but in a good way. It had two layers of coffee soaked cake sandwiched between two layers of fluffy mascarpone cheese and topped with cinnamon and sugar. I highly recommend giving it a try.
The other unique item on the menu was a drink called “frozen nutella.” I ADORE nutella! If there is a dish with nutella as an ingredient, you can bet that I will definitely be eating it. In this case, I would be drinking it. It was pretty much like drinking a smoothie, but not as thick. It had the perfect amount of flavoring with chocolate shavings sprinkled on top. It wasn’t watered down, nor was it too rich. I loved it! I only wish that for ₩6,500 it came in a bigger glass. Perhaps that’s just me being greedy.
So if you’re looking to treat your taste buds to something unique, I really recommend checking this place out and grabbing a slice of red velvet or a glass of frozen nutella… or BOTH! You can check out a map HERE. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, perhaps you may want to share some of this deliciousness with that special someone.