[Seoul] Well-known amongst Korean café-goers for its desserts for years, Avec El is a dessert and lifestyle café and shop in the relatively quiet neighborhood of Huam-dong.
The neighborhood which sits on the foot of Namsan Mountain is largely residential with several cafes tucked between houses and apartments.
The café became popular for its alluring desserts – most of which are incorporated with seasonal fruits.
Although the nearest subway station is the centrally-located Seoul Station, the café is about 20 mins on foot away from it, so a bus ride from the station is recommended.
Getting to the café also requires winding up through some inclines.
Despite that, it is not a rare sight to spot a full house on a weekday afternoon. (I went right as they opened on both visits to get the best window seat and photo opportunities.)
The interior, largely white and full of delicate details that complemented one another, was charming and seemed to target female customers.
As mentioned, you can expect to find different desserts here on a seasonal basis, together with permanent fixtures on the menu.
For instance, one of their popular mainstays is the Ringo Latte (6500KRW, SGD7.50), featuring an apple slice topped on a smooth bed of foam.
Having gone in winter, the spotlight was on strawberries.
For the Strawberry Tiramisu (7000KRW, SGD8), it came in the form of a glass of strawberries stacked with mascarpone cream cheese between layers and a thin layer of sponge cake right at the bottom.
Though the strawberries were fresh and juicy on their own, I would have appreciated more layers of ladyfinger between them.
Perhaps the prettiest drink on the menu, the Strawberry Soda (7000KRW, SGD8) came with huge chunks of strawberries floating on the surface. This was on the sweeter side.
Wanting to balance out some sweetness from the strawberries, I opted for the Earl Grey Chiffon Cake (6500KRW, SGD7.50).
The earl grey flavor was not too strong, and together with the spongey chiffon texture, makes a light dessert option.
My favorite item amongst those I had tried is the Bery Very Toast (6000KRW, SGD6.90) – a seemingly simple offering of rye toast topped with berry compote, homemade ricotta cheese and strawberries.
I liked the mix of textures, the natural sweet-sour strawberries, and how it was not cloyingly sweet.
Though the preparation techniques used for their desserts are simple, they allow the natural flavors of the fruits to be tasted wholly.
And in this case, the freshness and sweetness of the strawberries.
I also ordered the Maple Latte (5500KRW, SGD6.30), which had a good balance of café latte and maple syrup resulting in a smooth, lowly acidic and pleasantly sweet cup of coffee.
When I last checked, desserts with peaches are going to be offered this summer. Sounds peachy already.
Avec El Shop & Café 아베크엘
41-1 Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea (Seoul Station Exit 10/11/12)
서울시 용산구 후암동 41-1
Opening Hours: 12pm – 8pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
* Written by Crystal Wee, a “Cafe Pornographer”. More of her cafe gallery on Instagram @Crystal_wee. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.