A number of innovations that paved the way to modern probability, the calculator, and certain theological philosophies can be traced back to 17th century mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal. Brilliant and gifted, Blaise Pascal certainly left his fingerprints all over the mathematics and philosophy we consider today as self-evident, but perhaps what he is most known for is his collection of fragmented thoughts on philosophy and theology that arguably remain his greatest legacy. I am speaking of his posthumously published book “Pensees.” The word ‘pensees’ is French for “thoughts,” but Pascal’s book imbued a slightly different meaning into the word ‘pensees’ to transcend beyond merely ‘thoughts’; “a thought or reflection put in literary form”. Though Pascal’s book was never really finished, his pensees have remained for generations to read and ponder over. Certain phrases like “the heart has reasons that reason knows not” roll off our tongues while in a battle of logic and looking for a witty way out and we can thank Pascal for that. With this sort of reasoning, I discovered a little cafe in Yeonnam-dong that simply captured my heart; I don’t know why but I felt drawn to visit. It seems Pascal knew what he was talking about in this instance. Luckily for me, this time I followed my heart and my heart told true.
The cafe Pensée embodies quiet thoughtfulness in its interior and music. A single room cafe, it feels similar to sitting in a sunny drawing room, a bookcase filled neatly with books in the corner, lace draped over the table tops and white curtains hanging over the windows. There are tulips in glass vases and colored pencils in a tin cup. The whole cafe is a canvas full of sentimental pastel colors. The menus are all hand-drawn. Upon asking the cafe owner if he had sketched them, he replied that it was his mother who had made them. Somehow it made the cafe sweeter than ever. I remarked to my friend and a photographer Sophie Gee that this cafe has such nice vibes for conversation. The small room fills up quickly with customers, as seating is very limited, but the sound never rises above a muffled hum. It’s the sort of level that allow comfortable conversational tones without bothering anyone nearby. For a date with your friend, it’s positively perfect. For those with their own pensees to mull over, it is the right environment.
The fact that it’s so small and far from the subway station only adds to the charms of Pensée Cafe. The drinks are beautifully made, the music is fitting and the touches of motherly love linger everywhere. For those looking for some place off the beaten path, find your way to this second floor, sunlit spot and order the Oreo dessert! I can tell you as many facts about this cafe as I like, but perhaps nothing will persuade you so much of its charm except seeing it with your own eyes. “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” Pascal mused. Whether or not sitting in Pensée Cafe for a short time will solve all of your problems is debatable, but it is inevitable that you will certainly leave a bit happier.
Hours: MON OFF TUE - THUR 11-10 FRI - SAT 11-11 SUN 11-10 Address: 서울시 마포구 성미산로 151 Plastic free - yes! If you do visit, take a photo and tag me @cafehunter.official to get a shout out :)