How do you spend your Friday night after working endless hours during the week? Instead of drinking I prefer to indulge and invest in sweets. The best way to enjoy those sweets are to share them with a friend over long talks. This past Friday I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend at a small and friendly cafe called Besfren.
The cafe is easy to overlook because there are no flashy neon signs outside to attract people. In fact, the cafe is combined with a Ginseng store; therefore, it may be easy to get confused! Once you see the “ginseng” sign then you know you have arrived at the right place because inside you’ll not only see ginseng but also delicate pastries and the lovely rabbit logo.
Seating is very limited, as in only three small round tables with two chairs for each table. It is placed right next to each other; therefore, if you are a group then I suggest doing take-out and sitting outside in the benches or sitting in the park, Bryant Park, for a more comfortable eating session.
Drinks are very Korean-style, which is great because I am an avid fan of Korean teas and not many places, even Korean bakeries, sell them. In Korea I would always drink Grapefruit-based drinks or Citron (Yuza) Tea; therefore, when I saw Grapefruit Citron Tea I knew right there and then I had to get that drink. The best part of the drink was there was no added sugar or sweeteners because the fruit itself provided natural sugar, allowing me to feel healthy while indulging in the heavenly sweet pastries in front of my face.
Out of the two pastries I tried I personally enjoyed the roll cake the most. This could also possibly be a skewed result because of my love for roll cakes. The inside was creamy similarly to ice cream; therefore, the cream was delectable with or without the bread. The outside of the bread had melted salted caramel, which lessened the sweetness of the roll cake, bringing a perfect balance of sweet and salty to the dessert. The bread was also super moist that it would melt in your mouth, almost making it a hybrid of a sponge cake and vanilla cake. However, the main point of this dish was the cream, mostly because most roll cakes encase a thin layer of cream on thick bread. There was ample amount of cream to have with each bite of the cake. The ratio of allowing there to be more cream than the bread made the roll cake a splendid treat!
The famous and favorite dish of everyone who has ever been to Besfren. I personally found the donut a bit dry and hard to eat. The top white chocolate was hardened, which made it hard to break apart the pieces of the donut. The cream was great and the matcha flavor was pronounced and recognizable. The donut bread was sponge-like on the inside, which should have allowed for moisture but instead it felt dry. The bread did not stand out to me and neither did the icing chocolate; therefore, this fell a bit low on my interest level. I still recommend trying this dish because it is a different twist on donuts. It was interesting to try a donut that was sponge textured with a centerpiece on cream. Also, it is important to note that I am not a donut fan, which is why I could have liked it less than others.
TIP: The gelato and the chocolate chip have also received rave ratings. Therefore, I’ll be trying out those desserts next time, as well. My first time here and I’ll definitely be back because the drinks and the roll cake have left a little mark in my life.
I recommend picking up a “punch card” so you can receive a free drink after you accumulate a certain amount of “hole punches!”That is also another motivating factor to bring me back to their cute and small store/cafe!
Address: 315 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10016