UNLV Epicurean Society
Photos by Justin Leung and Deanna Wong
“Are we at the right place?” I remember asking myself as I approached large wooden doors. I was beginning to think that Google Maps had led me to the wrong place. I double checked on my Map app and confirmed the address to be: 5808 Spring Mountain Road, Suite 104. I was starting to think Gäbi Coffee and Bakery had moved locations. Before another second of doubt, people walked out from the other side of the doors holding iced drinks and pastries. I held the door after them, peering my head into the space.
Upon stepping foot into the establishment, we immediately saw the display case filled with croissants, cheese danishes, cruffins, green tea red bean cakes, and even a lychee rose cake, all of which were shimmering under the display light. There was no need to look around anymore: we, Epicurean Society, arrived at Gäbi Coffee and Bakery. Open every day of the week from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Gäbi Coffee and Bakery serves a plethora of lattes, cakes and tea.
The ambience was calming, welcoming, but louder than we had expected; it was understandable since families and groups of people had already begun to settle into the bakery. We were no longer in Chinatown and definitely nowhere near Las Vegas anymore, or so, that’s what we felt as we browsed and examined the coffee and bakery shop.
Gäbi infuses the modern interior design nearly every Instagram user craves for, with a Korean cultural influence, traditional tea cups, books, vintage furniture and background jazz music. The business has long since attracted media coverage all around Las Vegas since its opening day on April 12, 2018. The center of the bakery shop is an atrium surrounded by glass: a greenhouse kitchen space with pots and plants suspending from its ceiling. Not only do bakers prepare all of their products there, medium and medium-dark coffee is roasted in this area as well. One member commented, “I can smell the coffee beans from here,” as she stood in line near the cashier. Her comment was among multiple positive remarks.
Members including myself stood transfixed at a greenhouse placed in the middle of a business.
Each Epicurean Society member resonated in some way with the bakery. Some loved the aesthetic appeal; others enjoyed the homey environment; a couple of members relaxed with tea on the wooden seating area.
We had ordered the Danmee cake slice, the rainbow cake, an iced vanilla chai tea latte, the iced matcha green tea latte, the Gäbi coffee, the tiramisu cake and the lychee rose cake. Our wait felt shortened as we watched the kitchen staff as they moved about in the atrium. Describing a singular flavor of the Danmee cake slice was difficult at first; however, a prominent taste was the grape, light-purple jelly layer at the top, finished with decorative flowers and rosemary. The slice is maintained by a mousse overall while the cake starts in the middle and meets the crust at the bottom. In supplement to the smooth texture of the slice, there was a trail of raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries to enhance the experience from light saccharinity to a moderately sweet dessert. And, don’t forget about the edible, chocolate topping branded with their logo. The Danmee cake slice was a satisfying journey by itself and left members smiling after each bite.
Our second tasting was the rainbow roll. While it didn’t have much flavor to it, the sponge cake was light, fluffy, nicely executed and presentable. The powdered sugar and whipped cream salvaged the cake.
Epicurean Society enjoyed the two lattes: vanilla chai and matcha green tea. “The chai is a little bit stronger than the vanilla, I would say,” a member said. “Though, it’s a very enjoyable drink because the chai is very good.” “The matcha green tea is also strong, but I like that it isn’t so sweet that your throat starts to dry up. I came for the matcha, not sugar and milk,” another member added.
With all of the sweets that we were enjoying, our Gäbi coffee was a more bitter adventure. Its authenticity was the topping: cocoa nibs.
Members dug straight into the long-awaited tiramisu and the lychee rose cake. The tiramisu cake was presented in a cup on top of a flowery-decorated china, had dense structure to it and a light taste. As the cherry on the cake for our evening at Gäbi, the lychee rose cake was moderately sweet with a flowery, rose taste at the end. It was fluffy but needed slightly more lychee flavor to it.
Epicurean Society members certainly enjoyed the Danmee cake, matcha green tea latte and the lychee rose cake. Our chapter at Gäbi closed with the wooden doors: Members bid each other farewell longing to reunite in August.