Once in a while, we find a new café that just seems to be ‘trying too hard’ – Ki-ot 174 is definitely not one of those cafés.

This simple coffee shop has no ‘bells and whistles’ to speak of. There’s no pictures on the wall, no clutter on the tables, no irritating music – just tables and chairs. And, almost everything in sight is made of bamboo; bamboo tables, bamboo chairs, bamboo vases, bamboo shutters. If we didn’t know any better, we’d say the café made a one-stop-shop at Bamboo Street, but it works too well to be conceived from convenience. There’s the occasional dash of green from a few house plants but otherwise the café is very much 50 shades of brown. If anywhere is doing simplicity well, it’s Ki-ot 174.

The café was previously owned by the managers of Cang Tin 109 and a similar style can be seen between the two places. There is a modest hand-painted sign outside – so modest, in fact, that we drove past a number of times before we eventually saw it – and a small outdoor shop at the front of the building. Make your way inside by sneaking behind the shop, hopping through the door and going up the stairs.

Once inside, there are three different areas; an indoor spot with cosy mood lighting, an outdoor spot with a few chairs clustered across two levels, and an upstairs room with a little more space. Each area conveniently looks over the last, providing the perfect viewing platform for a bit of nosey ‘people watching’.

Address: 174 Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

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