Your kind of cafe

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"WHILE gizmos and gears rule the digital age, one can be forgiven should the mind long for a heartening escape to a place reminiscent of a laid-back mood, though once in a while. Out of that thought, a refreshing cup of coffee and sweets to go becomes an inevitable teaser."

Should one wish to sip goodness from a coffee, taste sweetness from a confection and savor a calming feel all around, Café Namoo is just the place to go. One has only got to invest enough grit to find this cute, little—but not so little—haven located at 2F Northgate Center, Gov. Cuenco Ave., Banilad, Cebu City.

Since it opened on Jan. 20, Café Namoo has welcomed regular guests from Mondays to Sundays. Free internet access is at anyone’s disposal though every customer is encouraged to stay for three hours at most. Customers tend to overstay because of how leisure inducing the place is, so goes the rule.


“When we started this café, we were looking for a very good name,” shares Edan Baik, Korean owner of the establishment. He thought of calling it Café Namoo to compliment both Korean and Cebuano tastes. Namoo means tree in Korea while it means “ours” in the dialect. He likes the sound of it combined.

Hearing that, it comes as not too surprising to behold the unruffled beauty there in every compartment, more aptly branded by the owner as a “double deck” of crisply cut and structured woods from Korea. The whole setup evokes a curious impression of combined childishness and intimacy; warmth and coolness.

At first glance, carefree and comfort meekly defines Café Namoo. Few minutes into a stay inside, one would realize that such notion is imbued deep into its core, what with the catchy fringe curtains, humbly low tables, ambient lighting, inviting pillows and warm smiles from the staff. Such novel setting makes it easy for curious first-timers to keep coming back as avid patrons.

“We wanted to make it special,” shares Baik. The obvious goal in mind is to come up with a place that, more to being cozy and fancy, gives a distinct sense of familiarity. Needless to say, the sight of the place is like a breath of fresh air, whatever that means.

Café Namoo is not a café for nothing. It boasts of a menu of cold and hot coffee, to which Java Chip Frap reigns supreme in most guest’s favor. Also available is the Green Tea Frap, among other fraps, along with different flavors of smoothies, lattes and other espressos.

Though a separate menu of cakes is in the making, a short list—and we mean pretty short—of sweet partners is at service. One can choose from the Honey Bread, Strawberry Short Cake and Pat Bing Su, a Korean style of halo-halo with red beans.

But stuff for the tummy is not all that makes up Café Namoo. One or a whole group can also take and keep mementos of their pleasurable hangout. A smiling staff member is always ready to capture every fun moment of every guest. Pictures may be taken home or posted on the café’s wall, or both.

Another homey element, that is impossible to miss, is the endearing presence of sticky notes all over the place. On the walls are affective contents from testimonials to words of wisdom to corny pick-up lines. One can easily liken the whole thing to the concept of a freedom wall, only that this time colorful post-its dominate the show.

“We just put (sticky notes) on the counter and it’s up to the customer to get if they want to write,” shares Baik. And it is not the content that matters in the course but the freedom and the experience that the café was able to grant its guests.

After all, as Baik puts it, “We are not (just) selling coffee but happiness.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 16, 2014.


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