If you’re after decent coffee, blizzard-strength air-conditioning and a trendy interior that looks like the set of a television dating show, The Café may be the perfect choice for you.
Overlooking busy Lac Long Quan, this stylish love-safari-inspired venue offers an extensive drinks menu and many variants of seating to spice up your otherwise dull afternoon coffee.
Need a place to host one of those awkward Tinder first dates? Settle down in a romantic heart-shaped booth while sipping from the same huckleberry ice-blended yoghurt smoothie (VND45,000).
The love safari-theme runs wild here, with everything from animal silhouettes painted on the walls to leopard-skin stools and wall-mounted bamboo to get the primal urges a flowin’. Comfy cushions in the shoeless kontatsu love pad also make for comfortable spaces to lounge and pretend to read a book, when in reality you’re scanning profiles and swiping left on your smartphone.
Unfortunately, only a modest selection of snacks are available, ranging from Belgian waffles (VND50,000), dubious looking egg sandwiches (VND50,000) and a tasty-looking dessert incorporating shaved ice with fruit (VND55,000).
Drinks-wise, you have everything from Korean ginseng tea (VND45,000) to ice-blended yoghurt smoothies (VND32,000 to VND50,000) to great tasting coffee options at your fingertips. We recommend the iced latte (VND50,000) for those stinking hot summer days.
You’ll also be grateful to know that all of the juices (VND45,000 to VND50,000) come with that horrendous sugar syrup on the side, allowing you to hand it straight back to the waiter with a smile that says “why?”
If you need a contingency plan to scare away the weird-smelling Tinder guy (or girl), smiling with a mouthful of tapioca pearls after sipping on a tasty chocolate pearl milk tea (VND35,000) should help do the trick.
The best thing about The Café, though, is the surroundings. At times, it’s sleek and sophisticated with chic chesterfield couches and elegant glass panels worthy of the cover of Vogue Living. At the other end of the spectrum, the upper floors have enough plastic foliage and beaded curtains to make any design aficionado hurl violently into their coffee mugs.
But it’s this ironic clash between styles that makes The Café different from the rest of Hanoi’s artisan cafes, which have become a dime dozen, and even a little bit cliché. This, along with the attentive staff and the great drinks menu make The Cafe a comfortable place to spend your time. — David Mann
The Café is located at 443 Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho, Hanoi