2022,  Comedy,  K-Drama,  Mystery

Cafe Minamdang | K-Drama Review

A mystery drama overshadowed by comedy, Cafe Minamdang is Seon In-Guk’s goofy K-Drama that recently ended with its 18-episodes. Projected with shamanism aesthetics and a ‘strong woman’ character as our female lead, did it catch my attention? Surely, yes. But did it make me interested until the end? Let’s find out in this review.

Disclaimer: The post ahead may contain SPOILERS since this is a review of the whole series.

K-Drama Storyline

Cafe Minamdang is a K-Drama of a criminal profiler who is running after his best friend’s murderer. Framed initially as a suspect, he served some time in prison until proven that he was innocent. After losing his job, he disguised himself as a Shaman in order to catch the culprit.

Cafe Minamdang Team

Nam Han-Jun (played by Seo In-Guk) is our goofy Shaman with his oddball sidekicks on his Cafe Minamdang team. We have Gong Soo-Cheol (played by Kwak Si-Yang) a former detective. Nam Hye-Jun (played by Kang Mi-Na) as his younger sister and a former NIS employee. And Na-Dan (played by Baek Seo-Hoo) as a part-timer barista/employee of Cafe Minamdang.

On the other team is our Division 7 being lead by Han Jae-Hui (played by Oh Yeon-Soo). Working with her is Jang Doo-Jin (played by Jung Man-Sik), Kim Sang-Hyeop (played by Heo Jae-Ho) and Na Kwang-Tae (played by Jung Ha-Joon).

Last but not the least is our Prosecutor Cha Do-Won (played by Kwon Soo-Hyun). A prosecutor ‘helping’ our Division 7 and the whole squad later on showed his true colors.

Personal Review of Cafe Minamdang

Where do I even begin? Cafe Minamdang started out reaaaally nice. The shaman world (and aesthetics) really captured my interest. As the story goes, we found out that Nam Ha-Jun is a Shaman fraudster ‘profiling’ his clients with the help of Nam Hye-Jun to dig the clients’ details. A flashback was given to us where Han Jae-Jeong (Jae-Hui’s brother and Han-Jun’s best friend) died at the hands of the mysterious Gopuri.

Bickering here and there while competing against one another, Minamdang Team and Division 7 eventually worked together. While the K-Drama has made us all invested in the cases and the growing bond of the whole squad, there were scenes better left serious than comical.

Division 7 & Minamdang Team

Cafe Minamdang has a thin line between mystery and comedy genre. While the show was able to pull it off by intertwining the two genre, the comical side was a little exaggerated. Some silly scenes either didn’t make me laugh and/or made me lose my momentum in absorbing the mystery plot.

Cafe Minamdang Characters

What I wanted to commend though is the actors and actresses who pulled off their respective characters. They delivered really well, however, the characters were written a little poorly (for my taste). Some of them are tolerable and made a contribution to the story. But what irked me to the core are these two:

  • Gong Soo-Cheol tops the list. He’s an amazing actor but what role is he playing? Gong Soo-Cheol is smart, homicide detective and can fight well, with a sniffing-wacky role. What’s the meaning on that, I don’t know. Called an idiot by Nam Han-Jun and it left me confused from start to finish. If it is intentional to bring in the fun, well it’s not funny at all. Remember how Eulacha Waikiki / Welcome to Waikiki gave us normal-acting characters yet stupid in certain scenarios to bring the fun? Cafe Minamdang did the other way around and it was a big no for me.
  • Han Jae-Jui, the female character ‘projected’ as a strong woman in the beginning of the show. She even has a nickname ‘Ghost‘ with few cinematic action scenes but doesn’t speak enough strength to me. No women empowerment value at all when all she did was to bring chaos and ends up relying on Nam Han-Jun.

I’m not letting off the hook the mistake they did during a flashback where Seo In-Guk plays a younger version of himself yet another actress played as a younger Jae-Hui. Same mistake happened while showing Auntie Im in the past and the rest of the other characters plays younger versions. They both play Shaman roles but not immortal ones come on.

Bonus Section: Who do I ship among the love lines?

None. To be honest, from my opinion, this is where it went downhill. The middle part of the show revolves around developing the love lines which felt unnecessary and forced just to fill the 18-episodes.

Nam Han-Jun & Jae-Hui

After all the clash and fights, Nam Han-Jun and Han Jae-Hui suddenly became attracted to one another, wait what? Okay Jae-Hui liked Han-Jun way back but the mutual feelings happened almost overnight.

Out of nowhere, a love line between Hye-Jun and Soo-Cheol was pushed into our plates as well. Plus the kissing scene? Oh I cringed so bad. Hye-Jun initiated the kiss (which is somehow accepted) but Soo-Cheol stopped her so many times… Yet she made her way by ignoring Soo-Cheol’s plea. Whatever the reasoning and logic is behind that scene, it’s a red flag which shouldn’t be accepted as ‘funny’. Like in Be Melodramatic, men fell victims in romantic relationships too, whether it’s small or big actions.

K-Drama Rating

The K-Drama line up these days are really competitive. With Extraordinary Attorney Woo, Today’s Webtoon, Big Mouth, Alchemy of Souls, If You Wish Upon Me, they are all amazing. Cafe Minamdang lost its charm for me and fell behind, unfortunately. What made me endure this until the end is to see how they will reveal Gopuri, and even at that, nothing grand. But he’s still handsome and charming though 😉

Gopuri of Cafe Minamdang K-Drama
  • Personal Rating Score: 5 out of 10
  • Target Audience: Seo In-Guk’s Fans and fans who can overlook scenes that doesn’t make sense
  • Will I recommend this: Maybe no. There are better mystery and comedy K-Dramas than this one. But Seo In-Guk pulled off the role really well, being quirky and goofy.

You probably know by now who Gopuri is which is quite predictable anyway. It’s still up to your judgement if you want to watch this or no. For me, the first few episodes are cool and colorful. Second half is meh. So be the judge and watch it at your own risk.

Have you watched this though? What are your thoughts about it? Did you like it?


  • BEST LIFE QATAR by Zeke Tunay

    The hype led me to start this series… unfortunately (the lady main character Oh Yeon-seo resembled that of Kim Hee-sun from the recent series Tomorrow). I liked the acting of Kim Hee-sun but i find Oh Yeon-seo quite annoying always picking up unnecessary fight (due to their past case) with Seo In-guk’s character. Their love hate relationship is a little forced (with the insertion of an awkward comedy). This is just me… unfortunately i was not able to finish it… maybe will try to revisit if theres time hehehe. But since you dont recommend it… then maybe not anymore hehehe (again this is just my personal opinion also).

    • Eonni

      I loved Kim Hee-Sun in Tomorrow! And yes the constant need of Oh Yeon-Soo to fight with Seo In-Guk annoyed the hell out of me. When the love line was forced I was really sold that the series was such a disappointment. It’s my personal take as well but you don’t need to finish it, there’s nothing surprising at the end anyway. Have you watched Oh Yeon-Soo’s Mad for Each Other though? She’s still quite annoying there but I liked it better than her role here 🙂

    • Eonni

      Don’t worry you’re not missing anything. Since you’ve seen him play the goofy role for the past 7 episodes, you can now skip this drama. No need to torture yourself 😉

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