In Busan’s Haeridan-gil neighbourhood where cafés abound, this coffee shop still manages to stand out. Veteran barista Bae Seung-ho’s signature beverages are the flat brown – a flat white topped with a wafer of crystallised brown sugar – and the Forest, a layered cup of espresso, matcha and cream. The low-slung bar encourages conversation between patrons and their baristas.
It’s easy to miss this vintage clothing shop on the second floor of a gritty apartment block. Proprietor Hyun Dream converted one of the flats into a fascinating collection of second- hand attire collected during her frequent expeditions to Japan. Hyun’s personal taste in fashion is bold, eclectic and edgy, and is reflected in her wares. She also designs clothes and hopes to display her own creations soon.
The hole-in-the-wall bookstore in Haeridan-gil advertises its presence with little more than a small Korean banner and a quote by Kafka on the outer wall. Owner Kim Min-chae, a former editor at a local publishing house, runs this bright, intimate salon where lovers of the written word can peruse a curated selection of books and magazines, mostly from independent publishers.
This tea shop takes a playful approach on hospitality, encouraged by the proprietor’s obvious love of cats. They specialise in Japanese matcha, with each beverage prepared in front of the customer with almost feline grace. The matcha milk, made from hand-blended matcha powder, is as rich and sweet as it is aesthetically pleasing. If you’re feeling especially decadent, order the matcha brownies, served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
5. Moru Pound
The tiny bakery-café proves that small can also be big on beauty. Inspired by her travels in Japan, owner Jang Eun-hye has designed a contemporary, minimalist space in Haeridan-gil with vintage accents such as low wooden tables and ceramic vases and jars. Recommended eats include their Japanese-style pound cakes and their salted milk, served warm with melting gelatin and a dash of salt from Okinawa.
Like the famously unhurried animal from which it takes its name, this fusion eatery takes it slow, devoting time and attention to each and every dish. The menu boasts creative takes on Korean comfort foods like ginsicho misomyeon, noodles mixed with soy bean paste and topped with a generous portion of beef brisket and a poached egg. There’s also their creative interpretations of Korean pub grub, such as French fries topped with spicy stir-fried pork and sesame leaves. Bar seating adds to the convivial vibe.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.
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This article was originally published in the July 2019 issue of Silkwinds magazine