Saturday evening is not the best time to find a quiet cafe in Seoul. After an extravagant sushi feast and a movie in Sinchon, my husband and I were looking for a place to sit down to talk about our plans for the winter holidays, but all the cafes in the area were overflowing with people.
Near Yonsei University’s Severance Hospital, though, we discovered an alley of small cafes.
La Bonne Tarte was our pick because it is rare to see a cafe in Seoul specialize in tarts.
The menu board on top of the counter featured 22 varieties, but I was disappointed that there were only a few on display. The manager told me that they bake 18 kinds every morning and they sell very quickly throughout the day.
I chose an apple tart (5,000 won or $4.37) and a chocolate and cheese tart (4,500 won).
I was particularly surprised by the texture and taste of the apple tart. Different from American-style apple pie, the apples were julienned into thin strands like angel hair pasta. The julienned apples brought out the texture of the fruit, while the dried cranberry on top added a slight hint of tang. There was also a touch of cinnamon, making it the most delicious apple tart I have ever eaten.
The chocolate and cheese tart, in comparison, was mediocre at best, although it must have been a popular tart among the cafe’s visitors. I overheard a man sitting at the table next to mine lamenting that he wasn’t able to taste the chocolate and cheese tart because it was sold out by the time he had gotten to the store’s counter.
According to the menu, the cafe features tarts made of chocolate, blueberry and cheese, pumpkin, espresso and cheese, fig, assorted nuts, strawberry, orange, and many more. A small gift box of assorted mini tarts was also available.
The portions were too small, but it was the perfect dessert after a big meal. Plus, it was nice to find out that quiet cafes are still available on a Saturday night in downtown Seoul.
La Bonne Tarte
Location: 90-1, Daesin-dong, Seodaemun District, Seoul
Telephone: (02) 393-1117