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Photo by Julie Vola

One step inside the Lissom Parlour, I am transported to a world of tranquillity, leaving behind the non-stop commotion of the coffee street of Nguyen Huu Huan. A closer look reveals not a typical coffee shop, but more like the living room I’d love to own, had I been endowed with such good taste.

Klasik Coffee Roasters. Photo by Bao Zoan

Nestled on the street corner between Mac Thi Buoi and Phan Van Dat, from the streetfront Klasik Coffee Roasters looks simple and modest. Yet walk inside and the space is equipped with classic French-style chairs and tables in harmony with the contemporary décor, all giving a cozy and tranquil ambience. There were a couple of people in the café, mostly working. I settled in a corner and started looking at the drinks list.

Gardenista Cafe. Photo by Fuji Pham

Choosing between the matcha latte and spicy mango tea is a tough call, but it’s not the most difficult decision you’ll face at Gardenista Cafe. Rather, it’s deciding which Instagram filter to slap on that photo of an old-fashioned bathtub — brimming with plants — that has been outfitted with wooden planks and repurposed into a table.

When Hanoi becomes too much an attack on the senses, sometimes it pays to forget it’s there.

The Church is the sort of place that demands to be seen. No trendy little hole-in-the-wall café is this — it oozes luxury with its shining, full-length glass windows and its dark polished wood furniture, a bubble of refinement in the hubbub of Nha Tho Street. As soon as I saw it, I felt underdressed, but the staff welcomed me with wide, warm smiles.

3 Amis. Photo by Francis Xavier

For our monthly café hunt, the scenery chosen this time was one of the old art-deco apartment blocks in Nguyen Hue. This semi-pedestrianised street holds a few hidden spots that are worth checking out, and you can add 3 Amis to the list.

The merging of French and Vietnamese styles is everywhere in O’Douceurs, which has Vietnamese pop music playing quietly in the bckground and a scene of Paris on the wall. But the first thing that draws your eyes when you walk in the door are the pastries, shining row upon decadent row like presents wrapped up in multicoloured paper.

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