Every time I passed by Kingsway, I would notice Seoul Cafe by its bold black canopy banner. I guess anything Korean just pops out to me ever since my entry into the dark world of Kdramas and Kpop. 😛 I haven’t checked it out until this summer, but now I’ve grown as addiction to this place! It doesn’t help that I live so close by too. Anyways, here is a compilation of my 5+ visits ahaha.
Seoul Cafe is a modern Korean restaurant that sells simple, convenient meals. It looks like it’s run by a family, because I noticed that it’s the same two ladies at the counter everytime with a chef in the back.
The shop is a small one, with a high table by the storefront window, and a few tables by the side that seats no more than ten customers.
When you first enter, there’s a vending machine and a glass display of some Korean treats and snacks. Connected to it is their counter and an open kitchen area where they assemble some of the cold dishes. In the back is the kitchen where all the cooking gets done.
Besides the staff bringing out your food, the service is minimal. There’s a counter where you can grab water and napkins. Also, there’s a TV playing Korean reality shows, so you can enjoy your meal while watching some Running Man. (;
Their menu features a variety of bibimbap, kimbap, “cup-bap”, sandwiches, salads, snacks as well as a dessert menu of bingsu.
The only downside is that they don’t serve banchan. However, they do serve Odeng soup with some of their dishes. The soup is super flavourful, with chunks of soft radish, green onions, and puffed fish cakes (odeng).
Tteokbokki– $4.99 (4.5/5)
Compared to the Tteokbokki I tried at Morak, I prefer Seoul Cafe’s version. Although still sweet, it’s got just enough spice for that kick. The addition of green onions and sesame is very fragrant too. The rice cakes are chewy and buoyant, and flavourful enough with the sauce.
Vege Kimbap– $3.99 (4/5)
People say Kimbap is that Korean version of “sushi”, but there are differences that distinguishes the two. Kimbap has unseasoned rice, and the seaweed is rubbed with sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The fillings are different as well, with pickled vegetables as the main ingredient.
This vegetarian version has cooked spinach, carrots, radish, preserved burdock root and danmuji (sweet pickled radish), and I like the crunchy fillings against the soft rice. It is on the sweeter side with the burdock root and danmuji, but with all the other ingredients, it is not too overwhelming.
I ordered this three times and during the third time, I was presented with different fillings. Instead of the radish, there was lettuce mixed with mayonnaise, and the dish has a drizzle of spicy mayonnaise as well. I prefer the first version though.
Kimchi Bibimbap– $8.99 (5/5)
Seoul Cafe has a nice section of bibimbaps, with unique ingredients like tuna and oyster. You can also opt for brown rice for an additional $1.00. The kimchi bibimbap is served cold with lettuce, spinach, purple cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, half a hard boiled egg and of course, the kimchi. Gochujang is served on the side as usual. This isn’t your typical bibimbap, which has mainly preserved and pickled veggies, but I appreciated the variety of fresh, crunchy vegetables.
Vege Dumpling– $4.99 (3/5)
steamed dumpling with kimchi & vege
These dumplings are filled with lightly seasoned chopped veggies, with a soy sauce dip. I liked that the skin is coloured green (spinach powder?), it adds to the whole veggie theme ahaha. Unfortunately, the skin was too thin and couldn’t really hold up the fillings.
Kimchi Cup-bap– $4.59 (3.5/5)
kimchi, vege on rice
They have a range of what they call “cup-bap”, which are basically rice (bap) in a cup topped with various ingredients. I was expecting a bit more but besides the kimchi, there was only danmuji (sweet pickled radish).
Chicken Cup-bap– $4.99
ADL (aka LazyKurean) ordered this when we went together. This is the same as the Kimchi cup-bap previously, but with the addition of chicken.
Clubhouse Sandwich– $5.99 (5/5)
bacon, turkey, lettuce, tomato
This is what Addy ordered when I took him there. Of course he had to pick the least Korean dish of all. 😛 Anyways, this sandwich is essentially a BLT with the addition of turkey, processed cheese and red onions. It has three slices of wheat bread, smeared with mayo and mustard. Addy really liked this! He mentioned that he usually isn’t a fan of onions and mustard, and prefers white bread, but he thought that this combo worked. Also, the presentation is quite nice. The sandwich is quartered and secured with cute shaped plastic forks.
White Sticky Rice Cake with Nuts– $2.59(2/5)
I wanted to try their “youngyangdeog” (sticky rice cake) because they’re made in the house. Unfortunately, I didn’t really like it much. They are pre-made and wrapped in plastic, so they were reheated in the microwave.. The texture is appealingly chewy, but I thought the flavours were odd. Indecisively sweet and salty..
Injeolmi Shaved Milk Ice– $9.99 (5/5)
I was hesitant to order this because ten-buck shaved ice.. really? I was proved wrong though, because this turned out absolutely delectable! Since bingsu (Korean shaved ice) uses milk as a base, so the shaved ice itself is infused with flavours. The ice is shaped very finely so each bite melts in your mouth instantaneously.
Injeolmi is a traditional rice cake dessert covered in roasted soybean powder, and these elements are translated to the shaved ice with the bits of chewy rice cakes and lots of the soybean powder. Sliced almonds are added for some crunch too.
Blueberry Shaved Milk Ice– $10.99 (4/5)
Since I loved the first shaved ice with ADL so much, I brought Mama Rae here for Round 2. Just like with the Injeolmi flavour, the shaved ice itself is very well done. This one is topped with blueberries, condensed milk, vanilla icecream and a cherry tomato.. which I found kinda strange. There was quite a lot of condensed milk, so it turned out too sweet for my liking. I definitely prefer the Injeolmi.
It’s no secret that I love this place, considering all my returns. The food is simple but delicious, with good value. It is slightly difficult to communicate with the two servers though, because they’re not very fluent in English. However, they are very welcoming and I hear very polite conversations between them and customers who do speak Korean. (Like my friend ADL. xD)
Food: 4.5/5 | Service: 3.5/5 | Value: 5/5 | Ambiance: 4/5
I apologize for the long hiatus! I was away in Ottawa participating in a program called Encounters with Canada, and free time/ internet access was very limited. I’ll be sharing with you all my experience there soon, but I’m currently catching up with school and trying to recover from this insane cold that I caught.. Anyways, hope you had a wonderful weekend!