Once again, I’d like to apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. Computer issues are the worst. If you’d like to see pictures, please visit the store’s website!
My relationship with desserts is a complicated one, to say in the least. On one hand, I’m not crazy about sweets and prefer to have them in limited in amounts. If I’m going to consume the larger than normal amount of calories that is often found in cake, I do my best to make sure that the cake I’m getting is halfway decent. As a result, I get irrationally angry when one of the rare instances are wasted on bad cake. Unlike pizza, which is good even when bad, cake seems to be really bad when it is bad. What makes it worse is that it can sometimes be hard to tell how good a cake is from just looking at it. Not all cakes taste as good as they look. Luckily, the last time I had cake was lovely time where this was not the case.
Located right under the popular First Nepal, I had walked by Cafe J. Brown on many occasions, often noticing the beautiful macarons that had been used as decoration throughout the small, yet classy looking store. The cakes had always looked good, even from a distance, but I was usually too full or not in the mood for sweets to ever give the place an honest try. It wasn’t until I saw a gorgeous slice of Rainbow Cake, which was my very first sighting in Korea, that I felt compelled to check this place out.
Since I didn’t want to look insane by ordering multiple cakes for myself, I dragged a couple of friends with me to eat some cakes with me after having dinner elsewhere. My heart sank when I saw that the last slice of Rainbow Cake was gone, but we were too hungry for cake at that point to change our minds. It also helped that we were given free samples of chocolate when we entered.
Though looks aren’t everything, the cakes that were available were rather beautiful. We found ourselves having a tough time choosing between cakes like the soft looking New York Cheescake, the complex looking Checkers Cake, and even the Oreo Cheese Brownie. Those of us who weren’t drooling over cakes ended up being distracted by the large selection of macarons that came in ten different flavors like Caramel, Mango, Black Tea, Mint, Chocolate, Raspberry, Green Tea, Coffee, and more. We ended up ordering the Fresh Milk w/ Strawberry Cake, the Earl Grey Cake, the Chocolate Mud Cake, and a couple of macarons (Mint and Black Tea). We also ordered a few drinks off the drink board that offered everything from coffee to smoothies. One person requested a glass of milk, which wasn’t on the board, but was still given to us by the kind lady working the register.
It didn’t take long for us to receive our desserts and drinks. I may have seemed a little too excited, as I was quick to stab my fork into the Fresh Milk w/ Strawberry Cake to give it a taste. You know how cakes tend to either be rich and moist or light and dry? This cake somehow managed to be both light and moist, which was a pleasant surprise. As much as I love my rich cakes, living in Asia has turned me on to lighter, more sponge-like cakes that are a little more forgiving in calories and don’t overwhelm my sweet tooth with just a few bites. This cake was creamy, fluffy, and had a very nice whipped cream to strawberry ratio. It was as tasty as it looked, and reminded me a lot of a Japanese style Christmas cake. The Earl Grey Cake, which was more of a mousse, was also quite lovely. To say that this tasted like earl grey tea would be an understatement, as each bite offered almost concentrated flavors of one of my favorite teas. The mousse was decadent, and the layer of cake was soft, but sturdy enough to hold up against the otherwise creamy dessert. Even the beautiful decorations on top seemed to taste like earl grey tea to some degree.
The Chocolate Mud Cake was close some of the rich cakes I’ve had back in the states. Unlike the other two cakes, this one was significantly heavier was not shy on chocolate. The cake and the frosting that covered it complemented each other quite well, making this a moist and addictive slice of cake. Once we finished inhaling the cakes, I nibbled down on my Black Tea macaron, which was sweet, pleasant, and full of flavor. I had tried a Caramel macaron from this place before as a gift from a friend, and enjoyed it quite a bit back then. It was nice to see that this appeared to be the case for all of the macarons here. The shop probably made a mistake when using their macarons as decoration, as I was left wanting to literally pick them off the walls.
Overall, Cafe J. Brown was a wonderful place for dessert. Due to its size, it wasn’t ideal for my large party and would probably be better suited for couples or take out. It should also be noted that outside of cakes and macarons, the shop sells other items like chocolates, jams, candies, boxed sets, and will sometimes even have eclairs. Considering how I was angrily staring at the table next to mine that just happened to have the last slice of Rainbow Cake, I think it’s safe to say that I will be returning soon to try the rest of the delicious and gorgeous looking desserts.
Address: 주광역시 동구 불로동 109-5 (located in downtown right under First Nepal)
Hours: 11:00AM to 10:30PM
Average Price Range: 5,000 to 7,000 for cakes and drinks, 2,000 for macarons