Saturday, July 23, 2011

For the Love of Coffee... and KPOP!

My afternoon at Subspace Coffee House has given me another good reason to make South Korea my next vacation destination.To my understanding, this boutique coffee shop hopes to capture the design sensibilities ever so present (and celebrated) in Hongdae, Seoul’s entertainment and art district. Since I’ve never been to South Korea, I can’t say for certain if this was achieved or not, but I can say that it succeeds in creating a space that would appeal not only to the local KPOP community, but also to coffee lovers who have a soft spot for artistic expression and smart interior design.

On the fangirl level, it was quite a treat to see the walls riddled with posters and other print materials featuring some of today’s most popular KPOP groups—Super Junior, Big Bang, CN Blue, among others. The in-store tunes consisted of KPOP music, of course, with albums and other KPOP (and KPOP Culture) merchandise made available to the patrons. The blank wall nearest our table serves as a screen for special showings of various KPOP idol concerts and music shows.

Sadly for a Triple S like me, I didn’t spot anything in relation to SS501, although the store’s playlist this afternoon did include “Wasteland” (a song off the group’s REBIRTH album), so that somewhat appeased the, er, green pea in me.

With regards to the stores’s interiors and set-up, I was very much intrigued by the choice of furnishing. I love the fact that there’s not one standard look for the chairs and tables. The seats are comfortable enough; a table with a three-person couch is available at the back of the store for larger groups.

Other design elements that I appreciate about the place are the centerpieces (flowers and plants in some, vinyl toys in others), chalk artwork and Hangul lettering on the walls, and various vintage phones placed in different parts of the store. The chair-chandelier that seems to be hanging precariously over one of the tables adds to the quirky randomness of the establishment.

As for the menu, I can’t really complain. Their coffee offerings consist of more familiar items like espresso and Americano, and also of more unique concoctions, such as Purple Potato Latte, Peanut Butter Latte and Subspace Coffee Float. They also serve pastries and turnovers, although the selection is limited as of this time. I’m certain though that the food menu will expand soon enough. Earlier, the staff offered me a sample of what they’ll probably incorporate into their menu in the near future. I don’t want to pre-empt anything, but I will say this: I’d like mine with more wasabi, please.

Subspace Coffee House is relatively easy to find, even if you’re not too familiar with the area. It’s on the ground floor of the Grand Emerald Tower, and faces F.Ortigas Avenue (formerly Emerald Avenue). The best landmarks are the Eton Showroom and AIC Building (the one with Chef & Brewer), but the Shell Station in the corner of F. Ortigas Avenue is also a good marker, as Subspace is walking distance from this point.

(note: I wrote this last week so it's a bit dated; still, many thanks to Cheezeemelt for giving me a venue to share this write-up with a larger audience. KAMSAHAMNIDA! ~ Lisa C.)

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