Do you think there are too many cafes in town? Well the Korean owner of OW:L Espresso, Min certainly does not think so. Competition is good and as long as each cafe is committed and passionate about what they do, more means better choices for city dwellers like us to hang out. In Min’s case, he is out to bring authentic, premium Korean Bingsu and Marley Coffee to Malaysia at affordable prices.
Since Caffe Bene is the only other known alternative in town for bingsu, it’s impossible not to compare them. Price and everything aside, the most significant difference between OW:L Espresso and Caffe Bene’s bingsu is in the shaved ice itself.
I never liked having chunky, coarse textured-ice in my cendol or ABC so it’s the same for bingsu as well. That is why OW:L Espresso’s is my preferred version – the shaved ice they produce is milk-based, flaky and silky smooth just like those you see in Taiwanese snow ice. It still has a nice sandy texture, but melts in your mouth upon contact.
You’d be spoilt for choices with the variety of bingsu offered here: their signature Injeolmi, Milk Pat, Cookies & Cream, Yogurt & Fruits, Caffe Affogato and Mango flavor – just to name a few. Despite having so many flavors, new ones constantly being developed and only released when deem perfect.
Injeolmi is the Korean version of rice cake made from glutinuous rice. It is used in small pieces and sparingly in their signature Injeolmi bingsu, which is thoroughly dusted in yellow bean powder. Other toppings include Azuki bean paste, chopped pistachios and almonds – all of them are considered premium quality ingredients. This bingsu (RM12 small, RM22 large) is apparently a hit with the ladies, but be forewarned it will get really messy once you start to dig in.
The Green Tea Bingsu @ RM16 is OW:L Espresso’s latest creation and was coincidentally launched on the day of my visit. It immediately became my favorite among the few that I sampled. The Azuki bean paste provides most of the sweetness, balancing the rich matcha’s flavor for a spot-on taste.
Seeing that coffee is also a specialty here, it’d be silly not to incorporate it into their bingsu. This one-of-a-kind Affogato Bingsu is topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then drizzled with a shot of espresso (RM14 small, RM24 large) Extra shots of espresso could be ordered if you need a stronger kick of caffeine.
The coffee here is proudly brewed using Marley Coffee, known for its organically grown coffee beans in the high mountains of Jamaica. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this brand was started by the late Bob Marley’s son. Their motto? To make you “Get Up, Stand Up” and start brewing! My cup of Americano was decent and strong, but if fancy coffee art is what you seek, do know that the baristas are still honing their skills.
For you night owls out there who could only work at night, you’d be pleased to know that OW:L Espresso is open past midnight till 1am daily.
Verdict? The bingsu alone should be reason enough to drop by. In general, the prices here are quite standard, reasonable for its generous portion of serving which you could easily share with a friend or two. The only thing that bothered me was the noise (most customers here are students) as the cafe lacked sound-proofing.
Retail 4(A-02-1), Menara Rajawali
Jalan SS15/8, Subang Jaya
Business hours: 10am to 1am