On my way to Samcheong-dong to hunt for clothes (work dresses, casual tops, kimono cardigans, shoes, costume jewelry) one morning, I walked past Cafe Mamas, a popular cafe near the Cheongyecheon stream.
I have gone past this cafe many times during my trips to Seoul, but have never been in there. It is usually very crowded in the evenings with long queues forming during the weekends. In a city with so many cafes and bistros, I have always wondered what is the attraction of this place, to attract queues on a weekend when there are so many attractive options in the vicinity.
As there was no queue forming outside Cafe Mamas that morning, I decided to drop in for a cup of coffee. I was quite full from eating a huge bowl of porridge at Bonjuk so I didn’t think about ordering food.
I looked around and saw that almost every table ordered the ricotta cheese salad, and this made me very curious about the dish. What is so special about a slab of ricotta cheese with salad leaves and bread? To get the answer, I had to order one for myself even though I could not eat another bite of food. Or so I thought.
It was incredibly good! The ricotta cheese was creamy, slightly sweet and flavored with lemon juice. The chopped nuts and raisins gave it crunchy bite. The bread was soft and delicious, and was a lovely accompaniment for the ricotta cheese. Overall, this was a simple, tasty and appetizing dish. I mopped up everything in the bowl, including bread, tomatoes and salad leaves! I don’t know where I found the space in my stomach to put in that extra food, but I did.
I came home and attempted to make the lemon-flavoured ricotta cheese. I managed to get the same flavor, but I could not get the same thick and creamy texture as Cafe Mamas. The texture of my ricotta cheese was a little too thin and runny – not sure why but heck, it worked fine as a sandwich spread.
I looked up Cafe Mamas on the Internet and realize that they have 4-5 locations in Seoul. I went to the one near the Cheongyecheon stream and the SK Telecom Building (exit 4 on the Euljiro-1ga subway station). Even though I don’t usually eat Western fare whenever I am in Seoul, the ricotta cheese salad will be an exception. I just hope it doesn’t get retired from the menu when I next visit Cafe Mamas.