Not everyone knows this, but before I came to Korea as an English teacher, I was actually a barista in Seattle for 8 years. And before I wanted to come to Korea, I really wanted to come to Japan. However, when I found out that I was coming to Korea instead of Japan, there was one giant silver lining for me in the change of plans. Can you guess what it was?
Korea is very much indeed a land of coffee houses.
Now that I’ve made myself a regular patron to many of the coffee houses in my city; I’ve decided that I’m going to start sharing some of the gems I’ve found along the way.
Enter Tokyo Sonata in Dujeong-dong.
For me, there’s a lot to love about this coffee house (pastry shop?). It’s beautifully simple, white, clean, and airy. But it’s laid out in such a way that creates nooks and crannies so you don’t feel so much like you’re on display for the world to see. You’re also able to look through a window and see pastry chefs in their white hats, making the moist and delicate cakes and sweets which are beautifully displayed in the pastry case. From what I understand, the chef trained in Tokyo. These pastries definitely have a Japan/French fusion flair to me. The shop sells classic mille-feulle and also strawberry mille-feuille, cheesecake, and strawberry tarts alongside cream rolls and sweet potato filled cakes (that one might be the Korean influence). I will say that each time I’ve walked into the shop, I’ve seen really different displays so I’m guessing they change their offerings daily based on either a schedule or the chef’s whims.
The second time I came to Tokyo Sonata, I came with a Korean friend who said he had looked the place up on Naver. He reported that it’s a place that’s gotten a lot of good reviews on Korean sites; but I don’t know how many Westerners know about it.
I’m going to admit here that part of the reason why I’ve hesitated in the past on writing these coffee house reviews is because I sort of feel like a reviewer should have extensive knowledge of the menu before reviewing a place. I’ve been to Tokyo Sonata on three different occasions. I’ve had three different pastries there, iced lattes, and americanos. I haven’t tried any more than that. Pacing, my friends. My waistline has had enough samgyeopsal and Chimaek as it is. I will say that everything I’ve had except for one thing has been phenomenal.
Anyhow, if you’re looking for a dessert that a took a little more crafting than the general fare of waffles and cream-slathered toast that we see so much of in these here parts, I suggest you take a zip over to Dujeong-dong and check out Tokyo Sonata.
Directions: Tokyo Sonata is in the same building as the Megabox theatre right across the street from Dujeong Station. It’s easy to see from the subway station. If you’re coming by bus, take the 14 toward Dujeong and get off at Dujeong station. Mind your step when you walk into the building, it’s a drop down from the red-brick patio that they built outside.