Briefly mentioned in my post before, this is perhaps one of the most innovative and original cafes I visited whilst in Seoul. As we had been viewing galleries in the areas, my friend Maria and I went to the Hangangjin branch as it was closest. There a four branches of this art cafe, each house an artist in residence, giving every cafe a very unique feel. The cafe serves drinkable art delights for its customers, designed by the artists. These in turn fund talks and exhibitions in the cafes. Even the menu is a piece of art, styled as a quarterly newspaper, with articles and information about the exhibition as well as the menu. The cafe also mimics the artists becoming the piece of art the artist is creating. The basic frame work of the art cafe stays the same but the interior is designed and decorated by the artist. Because of the personalised nature of the cafe, it feels very unique and special every time you visit.
‘Drawing 59: Disaster lab’ was the them when I visited in the summer and everything in the cafe echoed this. Half broken concrete walls, polished metal and scribbled markings on plain walls.
Despite this, the cafe still remains relaxing and has a strange cosiness about it. Perhaps it is the mismatched furniture and non-crowded tables that create the relaxed state of the cafe, despite the harshness of the exposed metal concretes interior. The second floor has less of a cosy feel in comparison and instead it felt as though you were walking straight into an artists workshop with prints, drawings and sketches scattered on the shelves and walls around.
I really think the most exciting things bout this cafe is knowing that it will completely change when new artist takeovers. A few months have passed since I visited and the art cafe has moved onto “Drawing 60” which has transformed the concrete look into a foliage filled garden-esque cafe. After seeing pictures of it I wish I had gone more than once so that I could have better experienced the amazing fluidity of this cafe and it’s ability to change its mood to match the artists it holds. If you are interred in seeing older versions of the cafe then check out the website which as well as the menu, has an archive of all previous artist residencies.
The menu included a list of standard beverages which were competitively priced. However the real treats, the artist designed beverages, listed under ‘Drawing Menu’ were more pricey than usual and yet that was to be expected as these were the ‘art’ drinks. Each drink was unique and they all had a different feel so we really struggled to pick what to have. We settled for Drawing 52: 지구의 역사/Story of Hyperspace(9,000₩) and Drawing 20: 어떤 초코/A Certain Schoggi(8,000₩), both iced drinks as it was boiling outside and we didn’t fancy a hot drink. They were also listed as ‘best’ items so we thought it’s only right to test the best they have to offer. Drawing52 was literally bliss in a very large wine glass, incorporating espresso, blue curacao and butter vanilla milk to make a beautiful boozy iced number. (it was past 12pm when we drank this I promise). Drawing20 was seen more unusual, iced milk on top of dark chocolate with and a disk like organic plum and earl grey ice ‘cube’, it was a mish-mash of textures and delicious, although I little hard to drink/eat. The cafe also had a decent amount of cakes for sale so we splashed and went for their matcha dacquoise cake/지리산유기농세작다쿠아즈케이크 (8,000₩) it used real cream, unlike so many are which favour the false over fresh and the cake was light and slightly sweetened with a sugar crust, a perfect contrast to the bitter matcha sponge.
A nice bonus to the cafe is that it is an organic cafe and serves fairtrade tea as well as all their cakes being made from organic ingredients. You can’t really get any better than an organic original art cafe now can you!?
I really really enjoyed this cafe, it was probably one of the last I visited before leaving and one of my favourites. I look forward to visiting again when I’m next in Seoul.