Wandered last weekend in Shin-Okubo, the “Korea Town” of Tokyo ( a walking distance from Shinjuku) and I remembered a coffeeshop I saw on Instagram.
Lately, I find myself growing more and more tired of Japanese coffeeshops to be honest ; many of them are turning into the same cold, minimalist, lab-atmosphere that doesn’t feel very welcoming for days you want to chill out with friends and chit-chat on whatever. They all are getting the same concepts and vibes, so nothing too exciting after a while. Also, it’s either you know the staff and you have a good time, go there to try specific beans brewed by a champion, either you’re given a cold shoulder because the barista assume you know nothing about their products and you’re not worthy of a discussion.
Not that I want to wipe my business card, but I can’t help but wonder how do they think they’ll be able to attract more people to specialty coffee with such attitude.
Anyway, rant over.
So, being already in the neighborhood, I dragged my friend to a back street, behind the main avenue of restaurants and k-beauty shops to get to BAM BI COFFEE. As expected on a sunny Sunday in Tokyo, people were already queueing up to enter the cafe (national sport in Japan !). We had to wait about ~45mn. Even though it was crazy busy, the staff remained very calm, polite & efficient. They were 3 to handle the shop on that day, which I assume can be stressful.
The cafe opens up quite late (11 am) but it stays open until 10 pm ! Perfect if you have a sweet tooth after a Korean bbq.
The cafe itself is cozy, they did a great choice on the design accessories (mirror, dried flowers, picnic basket..). Kind of giving Nordic vibes (check their Instagram to have an idea of the atmosphere).
The music is not too loud & you are seated either at a table, either on a bench as I witnessed often in Europe, which makes it easy to feel at ease and why not start a conversation with people around.
The place is very Insta-friendly, so it’s common to see people move to make the perfect shot/ to let someone picture the place they’re seated at for the nicest angle.
We ordered iced signature drinks ( “Bambi Coffee” & “Black Sesame Latte” – no coffee in that one though they do have espresso on the menu so I suppose you can order a shot..). The sesame latte was sweet and refreshing, with hazelnut tasting notes. I would take that as a dessert with no problem.
The Bam Bi Coffee is an iced vanilla latte, lightly sprinkled with cinnamon. Both drinks are topped with what seemed to be whole fresh cream (maybe mascarpone ?). It makes you feel like drinking a fluffy cloud, very smooth mouthfeel.
Absolutely had to try their pancakes as well ! Went for the “Lotus” one; remember it’s Lotus the brand (speculoos biscuit) and not actual lotus flower flavor. They plan to add bingsu to the menu very soon, so keep updated !
We were noticed it might take up to 20mn to make after order, but we got it in about 10 mn. Also they ask you if you wish to have the drinks before or served at the same time, which I appreciated as you may want to have your beverages first.
Extremely fluffy pancakes with a speculoos/caramel warm nappage on the side, crushed biscuits all over and cappuccino ice cream scoop. It is the best combination for an afternoon treat I must say. Just a little minus for the baking powder aftertaste as they were freshly baked.
Overall, enjoyed this new cafe and 10/10 would go back, even at an early moment to have a me-time with a book. The innovative menu and textures in drinks as in sweets are an awesome experience ! Prices are very reasonable.
If I could make one bad comment, it would be that I regret the lack of choice of any plant-based milk and of a decaf. Also, there is no information on the coffee variety written on the menu but I guess if you ask, they’ll tell (I’m assuming it’s commodity coffee, otherwise it would be written). And on a very personal dislike, the tables on the bench side are at your knee level- which I understand is normal and seen in most cafes – just I do not prefer as it is not the best when you have food and things get messy.
I’ll edit a “short” on Youtube, check it out whenever you have time !