[Seoul] Many café hoppers would have bookmarked Café Onion at Seongsu-dong to be on their travel itinerary, as it is known for its industrial-hipster vibes and Instagram-worthy features.
Well, that was 2017 (and people move on).
The famous industrial-chic café Onion has opened two more outlets – a more modern version at Gangbuk-gu; and another near Anguk station.
The 3rd outlet is at Jongno-gu near Gyeongbokgung Place (main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty), for those of you who are unfamiliar with the area.
This totally departs from the industrial vibes in the previous Onion outlets, conceptualised with a different aesthetic spectrum from the rest.
This outlet is based and decorated like a Hanok, which is known as a traditional Korean house first designed and built in the 14th century during the Joseon Dynasty.
Think traditional roof tiles and wooden interiors. This Cafe Onion channels a distinctive ‘feel’ that made you think about travelling back in time (Go easy on the multiple #OOTD though.)
Yet, it has managed to make this place hip, chic, attractive and popular among the Koreans.
Even when I gone during a weekday afternoon, the place was packed to the brim.
The traditional themed café is relatively near Gyeongbokgung and other attractions, and therefore I would suggest visiting this café before or after your trip to Bukchon Hanok Village since they are all within the same area.
However, the café’s menu is not much different from the other two outlets, with similar pastries, breads and drinks.
Most online reviews would say that while the bakes are slightly above average, it is more about how the entire space is designed.
You can also spot the well-known Pandoro – the famed Italian-style bread covered in powdered sugar at this outlet as well.
In terms of drink, you get the usual café standards. I got the Onion Mocha (6,500 Won, SGD7.50SGD) with slight bitterness of the chocolate, something which I appreciated.
After standing around the bakery display and saw the tray of Avocado Pollack Roe Baguette (5,500 Won, SGD6.30) being replaced twice in just short moments, I knew I need to get one.
It was after all, one of their bestsellers.
The baguette was really crispy (crunchy?) on the outside, to the point where it was slightly difficult to eat.
And to my surprise, the centre of the baguette was buttered stuffed with pollack roe – not stingy with their servings at all.
Paired together with avocado, this made a perfect brunch snack.
The Black Soybean Scone (5,000 Won, SGD5.80) was mainly a scone topped off with a mix of mascarpone with the black soybeans itself.
While the texture of the scone was quite average, the mascarpone with soybean made an interesting combination with its earthy-sweet taste.
Space-wise, there aren’t as many rooms as the first outlet, so it did get rather packed.
The outdoor seats may get too hot during the summer weathers, hence more customers are inclinced to sitting indoors unless you do not mind the heat outside.
To be more in line with the traditional Hanok theme, there are certain areas where customers have to seat on the floor.
Do note that some areas, you have to take off your shoes before entering, so avoid wearing hard-to-remove boots.
Onion Anguk is constantly packed with lots of people, including tourists (and perhaps soon, Singapore travellers after they read this.)
With a combination of traditional aesthetics, hipster vibes and instagrammable-factor, avoid peak hours to get a good spot to enjoy that moment. So yes, put this is your Seoul itinerary.
South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Gyedong-gil 5 (Anguk Station, Exit 3)
서울특별시 종로구 계동길 5
Tel: +82 70-7543-2123
Opening Hours: 7am – 9pm (Mon – Fri), 9am – 9pm (Sat – Sun)
Google Maps – Onion Anguk
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* Written by DFD’s Café Correspondent @__sy_g. Songyu is a food and travel blogger whose hobby is uncovering hidden hipster cafes. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.