Cafe Insadong is one of the few Korean dessert cafes to have found its way to Singapore with the K-Pop culture taking over the island not only in terms of entertainment, but also in the F&B industry.
Branding itself as a Korean Dessert Cafe, the menu revolves around items such as Bingsu and Injeolmi Toasts, with a display shelf full of cakes that seemed to be supplied that can be paired up with coffee. Apart from coffee, one can also choose from a selection of Korean teas, as well as Frappes and Smoothies. Despite being a cafe, there is also a small shelf in front of the main dining area where some Korean beauty products are being retailed; albeit out-of-place but a great concept to incorporate shop and cafe under one roof.
(Sweet Potato with Red Bean Patbingsu)
Having had our lunch and dessert elsewhere, we went for their Sweet Potato with Red Bean Patbingsu. The shaved ice here seems a tad coarse here than usual, achieving a texture more similar to Ice Kachang than the snow-ice texture that Patbingsu is known for. It is known that the Sweet Potato Patbingsu comes in either yellow or purple on a random basis here; it depends on the Sweet Potatoes that is being supplied for the day and the colour is only known when the staff actually peels them. However, we felt that the ice seemed to lack flavour; possibly overwhelmed by the milk, though the red beans were sweet enough to pull through. I found the sugared nuts pretty interesting an addition because it adds a sugared nutty crunch to the whole Patbingsu which could have tasted quite flat without it.
(Spicy Chicken with Potato Injeolmi Toast)
We also ordered the Spicy Chicken with Potato Injeolmi Toast. Basically a sandwich with two buttered toast covered with cheese and topped with Spicy Chicken and Potato over the top layer with a mochi-like layer of rice cakes in the middle, the chewy rice cakes makes it really fun to eat as though it was stringy cheese in its texture. The savoury flavours work well, but the Chicken bits were a bit dry to have although mildly spicy. Quite a carb-loaded dish since it has potatoes, rice cakes and bread so it could be rather heavy to have alone.
(Lemon Meringue Tart)
Lemon Meringue Tart was rather underwhelming; the meringue seemed to have turned soggy at several parts having soaked up a bit of moisture from the Lemon Curd. The meringue layer was also a tad uneven; some parts seem devoid of it while some parts seemed to have gotten too heavy of it. Lemon curd was also pretty tart, with some finding it too sour although it was pretty refreshing for me. Tart base was also a tad crumbly as it fell into bits upon being sliced.
We do like the concept of Korean-inspired cafes opening up of the late, however with competition coming strong from new players as well as old players, Cafe Insadong has to tweak some of its recipes to keep themselves ahead of the competition. Prices are however slightly lower than the rest; a plus factor when compared across the board. Service was pretty good, with one of their staff showing concern about our unfinished food trying to understand what went wrong and tried to offer us another dish to try, a gesture we rejected because we were rather full and it was pretty decent food for the price. We do hope that change their cutlery to more practical ones though; having a fork that looked more like a fondue skewer, a spoon that seemed a tad flat to hold the melted Patbingsu and a knife that is on the small size is a challenge to eat with. Apart from that, this is one spot you should head to if you are looking for affordable Korean desserts in the Chinatown area.
279 South Bridge Road