[Seoul] The Koreans are quite big on bakery-cafes, and the popular Tartine Bakery is where you can indulge in the flavours of San Francisco with a tantalising Korean twist.
Tartine is considered an institution in San Francisco, which flagship shop headed up by Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt at Guerrero Street continue to enjoy long queues for their bakes and loaves.
The Seoul outlets are its first international outposts.
For the more full-fledged bakery, you can head to Tartine Bakery at Hannam-dong which is near the foreigner-favourite Itaewon; or Tartine Coffee Bar which is a short walk from the youthful Hongdae University area.
Both have quiet and sophisticated café vibes. The contemporary meets posh interiors and décor are perfect to meet up with friends, or take a break from touring and shopping in the city.
The Korean branches are helmed Korean pastry chef Lee Hyun Hee and chef Edward Lee and, both spent half a year in San Francisco learning the recipes.
Tartine’s Coffee Bar is found within the Ryse Hotel in Seoul, serving up freshly-baked pastries, sandwiches and brews from Manufactory Coffee.
I liked that there were different configurations for sitting: benches for bigger groups, little tables for conversations, and steps if you dine alone or want to people-watch.
The more standard items you can expect include Croissant, Pain au Chocolate, Frangipane Croissant, Savoury Scone, Lemon Teacake, and Fresh Fruit Tart.
There are also more interesting choices such as Jeju Greentea Tea Cake, Frangipane Cream Tart, and Lemon Teacake.
Price of each item is between 4,600 to 7,500 Won (SGD5.30 to 8.70). The snacks and sweet treats are more towards the pricier end, given the posh look and branding.
Most go for the basic Fresh Fruit Tart (7000 Won, SGD8.10), and if you wish to add cream or flavours it can cost anywhere between 8500 won or up.
Its Jeju Greentea Tea Cake (5,000 Won, SGD5.80) with its soft texture and delicate green tea flavour, was worth a try.
Over on the coffee end, they serve up the standard Americano, Cold Brew Coffee to a lesser-seen Cortado (espresso mixed with a roughly equal amount of steamed warm milk).
The special drink was the Iced Vanilla Latte (6,800 Won, SGD7.90) which was slightly on the sweet side.
Tartine Toast Bar
130 Yanghwa-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2 324 9400
Opening Hours: 7am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Tartine Bakery (Hannam-dong)
22 Hannam-daero 18-gil, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2 792 2423
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
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