An Italian cafe experience at Goppion Caffe

Italy is known for its rich coffee culture, with many exacting implements and coffee preparations that correspond to treasured rituals.

For example, did you know that Italians usually drink milky coffees such as cappuccinos and lattes in the morning along with a pastry for breakfast? At any other time of the day, going out for coffee means getting a shot of strong black coffee, the espresso, as an afternoon pick-me-up or as a post-meal drink.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Walk by the streets of Italy and you will find quaint coffee shops called caffeteria. Aside from serving coffee in its various forms, these stores also serve as meeting places, where people can come together to enjoy their favorite brew. Hence the phrase “Prendiamo un caffe!” (“Let’s get a coffee!”) has become synonymous to taking a break from work to fully savor a cup of coffee (no, they don’t believe in drinking their coffee while working!)

Goppion Caffe was started by Luigi Goppion in the main square of the small Italian town of Lughignano in 1859. Luigi’s passion for good coffee was carried on by his sons and grandsons who sought ways to roast and brew the perfect cup of coffee.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Its first branch in the Philippines opened its doors along Westdrive in Glorietta 2 in Makati last December.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Here, coffee lovers can indulge in their favorite brews and blends, all made with authentic pre-packed coffee shipped all the way from Italy, such as:

Espresso Dopio (Php140). A double shot of espresso.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Cappuccino (Php140/Php190). Equal parts of espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppioncino (Php180/Php140). Goppion Caffe’s signature blend made with espresso, chocolate, milk and whipped cream.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Ginseng Macchiato (Php200/Php240). Steamed milk “marked” with a splash of espresso flavored with ginseng root extract.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Iced Caramel Macchiato (Php190/Php230). A shakerato (coffee drink made with espresso and ice cubes) combined with milk, vanilla-flavored syrup and caramel sauce.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Cold Brew (Php180/Php220). A strong cold coffee drink that resulted from ground coffee beans steeped in cold water overnight.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe also offers non-coffee beverages, all crafted with the same care and artistry as its coffee drinks, such as:

Ciocolata (Php160). Thick and creamy hot chocolate, made with cocoa, milk and sugar though not too sweet!

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Ciocolata ala Nocciola (Php240). Dark chocoate with hazelnut.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Friutti di Bosco (Php240). A frullato di frutta (smoothie) made with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries blended with milk.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Arancia (Php220). Freshly squeezed orange juice.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Want to nibble on something while sipping on your drink of choice? Goppion Caffe’s got you covered there as well with its selection of cafe food which includes:

Pita Rolls with Pizza Dip (Php275).

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Four Cheese Panini (Php225) and Smoked Ham and Cheese Panini (Php235).

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Beef Lasagna (Php240).

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Chicken Alfredo (Php260).

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Tuna in Pesto Sauce (Php240).

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

So if you’re craving for a good cup of coffee or meticulously handcrafted drinks, drop by Goppion Caffe.

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Better yet, grab a couple of your friends to catch up over your favorite brews (while practicing physical distancing, of course!).

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe, Glorietta

Goppion Caffe is located at Ground Floor, Westdrive (beside Jade Garden), Glorietta Complex, Makati City. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 88431316, +63 2 79551728 and +63 2 79551808. Goppion Caffe also delivers via FoodPanda.

Disclosure: Together with fellow foodies, I attended a food and coffee tasting event at this restaurant. Food items were served to enable us to sample the fare and facilitate our honest reviews.

Goppion Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast/brunch joints around the metro:

Nitro 7 Coffee & Tea Bar, SM Pasig

You’ve probably heard of cold brew coffee but what about nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee?

Nitro 7 Coffee & Tea Bar is the first of its kind in the country, operating on a new technology in coffee and tea preparation.

At Nitro 7, single-origin Ethiopians arabica coffee beans are brewed in low temperature for 18 hours, then infused with nitrogen before being served on tap, similar to draft beer. The entire painstaking process from brewing your Nitro 7 coffee to serving it to you takes two days.

Cold brewing the coffee increases its caffeine content while lessening its acidity, making this the preferred coffee of people suffering from hyperacidity.

Infusing it with nitrogen, on the other hand, reduces the coffee’s bitter taste while thickening its texture and adding some milk sweetness to the brew. The result: the Black Nitro, Nitro 7’s signature black coffee which also serves as the base for its other coffee flavors.

Thanks to GCs I received during the epic #WLTEChristmas Party and also from Harvard of AlwaysHungryPH, I was able to treat my daughter and myself to a coffee break at the Nitro 7 Coffee & Tea Bar in SM Pasig.

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

There we enjoyed some of the coffee bar’s more Irish creme-based variants:

Irish Creme Breve (Php145). A creamy blend of nutty, chocolate, vanilla and whiskey flavors.

Irish Caramel Creme Nitroccino (Php170). An ice-blended coffee which mixes the flavors of Irish creme and the sweet richness of caramel.

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

We also treated ourselves to some desserts available at the store such as the New York Cheesecake (Php135), two pieces of Crinkles (Php35 each) and a Revel Bar (Php55).

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

The desserts are good accompaniments to the coffee drinks which remain the stars of the show.

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

Nitro 7, SM Pasig

This Nitro 7 Coffee & Tea Bar branch is located at Ground Floor, SM Center Pasig, Frontera Drive, Barangay Ugong, Pasig City, open daily from 11am to 10pm.

Other branches are located at:

  • Makati: Food Choices Third Floor Glorietta 4
  • Mandaluyong: Fourth Floor SM Megamall Building B, 123 Pioneer Street Highway Hills
  • Manila: Third Floor Robinsons Place Manila, Ground Floor LA Village at Youniversity Suites Sampaloc
  • Quezon City: Lower Ground Floor Robinsons Magnolia, Level 1 Robinsons Galleria, Lower Ground Floor SM City Fairview, The Annex SM City North EDSA, Eastwood Citywalk 1 Libis
  • Pasig: 2nd Floor Ayala Malls the 30th, Cinema Level Ayala Malls Feliz, Emerald Mansion Garnet Road
  • Valenzuela: Mezzanine Floor Pond Building

Nitro 7 Coffee & Tea Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast/brunch joints around the metro:

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

This past November, Dean & DeLuca opened its newest branch in Quezon City.

This much-awaited outlet is notable for many things, not the least of which is the fact that it is owned by actress (and idol of the titas) Bea Alonzo.

“Good old coffee. Just what I need today.” she posted on her Instagram.

(Oh, Bea… don’t we all?)

Dean & DeLuca started as a chain of upscale grocery stores in New York City but has since evolved into cafe operations. Its first three branches in the country are located in Makati and BGC, with more in the works.

This past Tuesday, my officemates and I made our way to QC’s Dean & DeLuca, a five-minute car ride from our workplace, for our lunch break.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

With the exception of the guys who joined us for the midday meal, this bunch consisted mostly of titas, who all have been looking forward to dining at Dean & DeLuca.

Our orders included:

Truffle Fries (Php160). Crispy French fries drizzled with truffle oil and sprinkled with grated parmesan before serving with a creamy zesty dip.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Aglio e Olio Gamberini (Php450). Organic pasta tossed in traditional Italian garlic and olive oil base along with prawns and cherry tomatoes.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Prawn and Gorgonzola Pasta (Php495). Organic pasta tossed in a creamy paprika wine sauce along with fresh prawns, gorgonzola cheese, mushroom and basil.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Butifarra con Salsa Funghi e Tartufo (Php470). Organic pasta tossed in truffle cream along with slices of Butifarra sausage and fresh mushrooms.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich (Php380). Free-range chicken, grated cheese pimiento, pickled dill, slaw and dressing in yeast-free sourdough bread.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Umami Fried Chicken (Php390). Aburi fried chicken, miso glaze, slaw and lettuce in sourdough brioche.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Beef Rendang (Php590). Himalayan red rice topped with grass-fed beef cooked in rendang spice and coconut milk.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

After lunching on these food items, we capped our meal with our chosen coffee drinks – Salted Caramel Latte, Cafe Latte and Cappuccino – all priced at Php160 each.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLucca does tick off all the marks when it comes to trendy cuisine (eg. grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, organic pasta, etc.) which I’m sure many foodies will appreciate.

Sadly, given its price points, I’m not as impressed as I hoped I would be when it came to my truffle pasta which I found too heavily flavored. My friends told me that I simply ordered the wrong item from the menu but how can I go wrong with ordering one of my favorite pasta dishes?

Oh, well. Maybe when I try the desserts on my next visit I’ll have a better experience!

Plus, my officemates and I still had a chill “tita-ish” lunch break here.

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca, Tomas Morato

Dean & DeLuca is located at Scout Rallos corner Scout Tuazon Streets, Tomas Morato, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 9pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 916 2126535.

Dean & DeLuca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast/brunch joints around the metro:

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

As part of our makeshift food crawl in Marikina’s Lamp Quarters over the holiday break, my friends and I proceeded to its newest coffee shop after our lunch at Chives Bistro.

Celsius has been cited as the place to be for students who want to a place of peace and quiet where they can study or regroup with their pals over cups of artisanal coffee.

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

It has also been hailed as part of the third wave coffee movement in Marikina. It certainly does its share in featuring high-quality coffee with beans sourced from coffee countries such as Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia, as well as our home-grown beans from Benguet Atok and Mount Apo Sablan.

These beans are brewed fresh upon order, bringing the aroma and flavors of premium coffee to a new generation of would-be coffee connoisseurs.

Well, the titas and titos our group joined the young ones in their coffee hangout where we enjoyed our orders of of:

Foamless Latte (Php145).

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Lounge Latte (Php160).

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Lounge Fine Chocolate (Php150).

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Cappuccino Frozen Cheesecake (Php150).

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

Celsius, Lamp Quarters

The coffee and chocolate drinks were full-flavored and served steaming hot while the coffee-based frozen dessert will surely appeal to lovers of sweets. These treats fueled a lively round of good-natured ribbing and gossiping among the titos and titas present.

Word of advice, though: try not to sit on the triangular stools. They’re bad for your posture and posterior. (Trust your tita on this!)

I’m so looking forward to coming back here and enjoying a round of coffee mocktails with the titas.

Celsius is located at Lamp Quarters, Gil Fernando Avenue, Santo Nino, Marikina City, open daily from 11am to 11pm.

Celsius Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast/brunch joints around the metro:

Sourdough Cafe + Deli, Tomas Morato

Sourdough bread is a new food trend that gaining traction in the metro. It is made by fermenting dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast producing a sour taste compared to breads made with baker’s yeast. It also keeps longer, owing to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.

For the health-conscious, sourdough may be used to improve the quality of gluten-free breads by enhancing their texture, aroma and shelf-life. Its glycemic index is lower than other types of bread which is good news for people watching their sugar intake.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

It’s a good thing, then, that a cafe specializing in sourdough recently opened near my workplace.

With such an exciting item in its menu (in fact, the central item in it!) as well poshly designed yet comfy interiors ideal for quiet lunches or intimate dinners tucked away in an office building along Tomas Morato, Sourdough held an irresistible appeal to titas like me.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

This is why during one of our lunchbreaks prior to the Christmas break, my co-titas in the office and I decided to have our meal at Sourdough Cafe + Deli.

This tita meal consisted of:

Complimentary Flatbread Slices. Dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some parmesan cheese, these gave our tastebuds a good preview of Sourdough’s offerings.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Prosciutto Arugula Flatbread (Php345). Sourdough flatbread topped with marinara sauce, mozarella, arugula leaves and bits of prosciutto.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pasta Carbonara (Php395). Al dente noodles tossed in a creamy sauce made with eggs, pecorino cheese, parmegianno reggiano, guanciale (Italian cured meat made from pork jowl) and pancetta (Italian salt-cured pork belly).

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Php295). Four cheeses – gouda, yellow cheddar, mozzarella and grana padano – sandwiched between sourdough bread slices lightly spread with mayo.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Basque Burnt Cheesecake (Php195). Also a trending food item, this cheesecake is an offshoot of Spain’s tarta de queso. Its top appears toasted but the center has a soft custard-y texture. Combined the top’s buttery taste to the tanginess of the cheesecake filling, and you have a winning dessert you would want to taste again and again.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

After lunch, we also treated ourselves to Sourdough Cafe’s handcrafted coffee.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Not bad for a bunch of titas out for lunch.

By the way, since wine and titas go together so well, you might want to check out Sourdough Cafe’s unli wine at Php599 per person.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sourdough Cafe + Deli is located at Ground Floor, JSB Building, 104 Tomas Morato Avenue corner Scout Delagado Street, Tomas Morato, Quezon City, open daily from 11am to 11pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 85259463 or +64 917 1889463.

Sourdough Cafe + Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast/brunch joints around the metro:

Luxe intercontinental dining at Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

During my recent staycation with my mom and my daughter at Hotel Benilde, we had our meals at Cafe Romancon.

Our staycation at Hotel Benilde was extra special as my daughter, #ExhibitA, and I were looking forward to spending some quality time with my mom.  For some time, Mommy has also been requesting for an outing where “three generations” –  her, me and my daughter –  can just be together.

So,  #ExhibitA and I definitely took advantage of the opportunities to catch up on the goings-on with my mom that the staycation provided, especially when we sit down together to eat at Cafe Romancon.

Named after its patron saint, St. Benilde Romancon, it is a sprawling yet cozy coffee shop located at the ground floor of Hotel Benilde, a 4-star property situated in the bustling Malate area.  It serves as the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant that offers its diners with a well-curated intercontinental menu in casual and modern setting.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

For our dinner on the first day of our stay, we were treated to a sumptuous feast that included:

Gambas Al Ajillo (Php280).  Succulent prawns sauteed in a garlic, tomatoes, onions and chilis.  A perfect start to our meal.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Mushrooms Ala Pobre (Php180).  Plump champignon mushrooms sauteed in olive oil, garlic and herbs.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Cream of Butternut Squash (Php130).  A creamy soup of pureed squash and other vegetables topped with bacon.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Kani Mango Salad (Php190). Shredded crabsticks and dried mango bits top mixed greens and crunchy vermicelli noodles and drizzled with Japanese mango dressing.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Seafood Linguini (Php280).  Shrimp calamari, mussels and fish sauteed in olive oil, garlic, onions and tomatoes tossed into pasta.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Norwegian Salmon (Php390). Pan-fried salmon with creamy leek sauce and garden vegetables served with mashed potatoes.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Gloucester Supreme (Php370).  Two juicy and flavorful pieces of grilled marinated beef patties served with a rich mushroom gravy, mixed vegetables and steamed rice.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

We were quite impressed with the quality of the food – the Norwegian Salmon, the Gloucester Supreme and the Gambas Al Ajillo we clear favorites! – as well as the superb service provided by the wait staff.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

By the next morning, while my baby girl was enjoying her sleep, my mom and I had our breakfast at Cafe Romancon as well. The breakfast offerings are a bit limited we didn’t mind as we like our starting meal for the day to be light and fuss-free.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

My mom helped herself to the fruits and beef tapa available in the buffet stations while I took advantage of the wide array of savory cheeses and sweet jams at the bread station.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

These luxurious meals gave us the much-needed time to catch up on each other’s news, exchange chismis (hahaha!) and just enjoy each others’ company, definitely one of life’s priceless experiences.

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Cafe Romancon, Hotel Benilde

Many thanks to the wonderful folks of Cafe Romancon and Hotel Benilde for the wonderful bonding mealtime moments that three generations of women in our family enjoyed!

Cafe Romancon is located at the Ground Floor, Hotel Benilde, Arellano Avenue corner Estrada Street, Malate, Manila, open daily from 6am to 10pm.  For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 2305230.

Cafe Romancon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Dinner and breakfast were included in our complimentary overnight stay at Hotel Benilde in exchange for an honest review.

Check out my reviews of other hotel restaurants:

Time to hustle hard at Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

That quote, often mistakenly ascribed to legendary US President Abraham Lincoln, does have a point. Things are done and achieved by those who move.

Well, one of the hardest things to overcome is the state of inertia: just imagine, if your mind and body already think they are at rest, they tend to stay that way for the rest of the day. (Good luck getting over that mid-day slump!)

Fortunately for us working folks here in Quezon City’s South Triangle area, Hustle Cafe has moved its store from Cubao to the corner of Tomas Morato Avenue and Scout Rallos Street. In its new location, it continues to serve food and drink freshly prepared in the store to help people power through the day.

Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

A friend and I dropped by during our lunch break to get our much needed mid-day sustenance, which included:

Pork Samgyupsal (Php250). Korean-style grilled pork and fried egg tops a bowl of fluffy steamed rice, sliced cucumber and kimchi-flavored shredded cabbage.

Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Grilled Cheese (Php180). Cheese and onion marmalade make up the filling of thick and buttery toasted bread with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Salted Caramel (Php140) and Coffee (Pbp120) Frappes. Our little bits of caffeine-laden treats to wake our brains up and lift out spirits to face the rest of our tasks for the day.

Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Speaking of uplifting, did you know that proceeds from the sales Hustle Cafe’s food and drink help in the training of out-of-school youth in the food and beverage industry? The cafe exposes these kids, not just in the store’s back-end operations, but also in customer-facing roles to prepare them for larger responsibilities in their future F&B jobs.

With its wallet-friendly-priced drinks, Hustle Cafe also makes specialty brews and blends more accessible and less intimidating, thereby helping to create new coffee lovers and enthusiasts.

Hustle Cafe, Tomas Morato

So if ever you’re in the Tomas Morato area, do drop by and check out Hustle Cafe’s offerings. They just make give you the energy to hustle your way through your day.

Hustle Cafe is located at the CKB Center, Tomas Morato Avenue corner Rallos Street, Laging Handa, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 10pm. For inquiries and advanced orders, call +63 916 6557485.

Hustle Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast joints around the metro:

Handcrafted brunch creations at Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

In Kapitolyo, Pasig’s foodie haven, a new mecca for brunch-aholics and more has just opened its doors.

Called Artesa Deli + Coffee (and named after the Catalan word for “handcrafted”), this cafe elevates the casual and leisurely brunch out into an artform.

Founded by three friends – Mikho Villarosa, Edrian Chua and Jef Lim – Artesa elevates seeks to be Kapitolyo’s one-stop shop for high-quality, curated yet reasonably priced coffee and food products.

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

My friends from #WeLoveToEatPH and #SaanSaPH and I recently visited Artesa Deli + Coffee for a late brunch experience, where we were treated to:

Chimichurri Burger (Php175). A juicy patty of 100% US beef cooked to medium doneness topped with pickled cucumbers, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, and house-made chimichurri sauce with a side of crispy fried wonton chips.

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Cubano (Php235). One of the cafe’s best-selling sandwiches, this dish features ham and fork-tender, smokey pulled pork accompanied by pickled cucumbers and cheddar cheese in a lightly buttered and pressed Cuban bread and also with a side of those addictive fried wonton chips.

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

By the way, Artesa’s sandwiches are all buildable which means that you can customize your sandwich by adding-on items such as extra beef patties, fried chicken fillets, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, bacon strips or fried egg.

Tomato Gravy Rice with Chicken (Php220). A tender fillet of chicken is battered, panko-crusted and shallow-fried to a crispy golden brown before being placed on top of steamed rice drenched in a savory yet slightly tangy gravy of beef drippings, tomato and spices, then garnished with corn kernels.

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

For dessert, we had a a rich New York-style Cheesecake (Php160/slice), a decadent Chocolate Cake (Php160/slice) and a delightful Black & White Cookie (Php60/piece), all of which feature an artisanal quality. (Artesa also sells whole cakes; you just need to order them three days in advance.)

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

We were also given our choice of drinks which included:

Espresso Soda (Php165). This is perfect for those who like to taste of coffee with a slight fizz.

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Matcha Latte (Php150 for hot). A rich comforting drink made with real matcha powder.

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Iced Mocha (Php150). A masterful blend of coffee and chocolate, and, thankfully for me, may even be sweetened some more with the addition of honey syrup.

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Homemade Iced Tea (Php75). This drink may be served sweetened or unsweetened.

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Orange Julius (Php90). This drink is reminiscent of the beverage popular when I was a kid.

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Artesa’s menu is still small but well-crafted such that each item is a masterpiece, it’s taste and quality assured. These are perfect for a leisurely brunch, a quick snack in the afternoon, or any time of the day you want a tasty treat.

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Thanks to the Chef Jef and the lovely staff of Artesa for having us!

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Artesa also aims to highlight the quality of local micro-entrepreneurs: it sells jars of Spanish sardines, organically grown mushrooms with tinapa or tuyo, as well as spicy and garlicky cuttlefish crunch, among others. The cafe also incorporates these in some of their dishes as an ingredient or as sides. Do check them out when you visit the store.

Artesa Deli + Coffee, Kapitolyo

Artesa Deli + Coffee is located at Unit 2, D Strip, Building 20, United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City, open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 10pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 945 5979018.

Artesa Deli+Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I attended a foodie meetup held here wherein food and drink items were served to allow us to sample the fare. These were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my blog posts on breakfast joints around the metro:

Food and nature-tripping at Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Nestled into east of Manila is a hidden haven for food and nature lovers. Called Burrow Cafe, it is located in the Antipolo Beehouse, a nature reserve set in a quiet residential subdivision away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

My daughter #ExhibitA and I decided to treat my mom out to Sunday brunch at Burrow Cafe. This mother-daughter-granddaughter outing is something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time but never found the time for until now.

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

So last Sunday, off we went up Ortigas Avenue Extension towards Antipolo and into Beverly Hills Subdivision where the Beehouse is situated. Upon arriving at the Beehouse gate, we went down 76 steps (good thing I didn’t wear heels!) to a lush green courtyard with another flight of stairs leading to what seemed like an underground bunker.

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

When we entered the cafe’s premises, however, we were treated to an abundance of light and greenery, thanks to the cafe’s large panel windows which let in a lot of natural light and give diners a relaxing view of the surrounding forest. Artfully laid out wood furniture, potted and hanging plants as well as other bric-a-bracs further accent the cafe’s nature theme while hammocks hanging from the ceiling provide some splashes of color and whimsy to the interiors. Outside, there is a balcony that overlooks a nearby mountain stream.

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

There, my mom, #ExhibitA and I chatted about life and gossiped about mutual acquaintances (hahaha!) while enjoying our brunch made with ingredients sourced from the Antipolo Market or grown within the cafe’s grounds.

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Our meal included:

Beef Short Ribs with Corn and Green Bean Risotto (Php550).

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Fish and Chips (Php420).

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Key Lime Pie (Php190).

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Home Brew Iced Tea (Php120) and Avocado Fruit Shake (Php180).

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Though quite tasty, food items are limited and a bit pricey. Given the cafe’s lovely and restful ambiance and warm, friendly service, however, I’d say dining here is well worth the expense and effort.

After all, nothing but the best for my mom and my baby girl.

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe, Taytay

Burrow Cafe is located at the Antipolo Beehouse, 113 Beverly Hills Drive, Beverly Hills Subdivision, Dolores, Taytay, open Wednesdays to Thursdays from 8am to 4pm and Fridays to Sundays 7am to 4pm. Although walk-ins are welcome, table reservation is highly recommended through email (burrowcafe@gmail.com) or mobile (+63 917 6229795). For more details, visit the Antipolo Beehouse website.

Notes:

  • Beverly Hills Subdivision charges Php20 for cara entering the area so keep some change handy.
  • The resto is not wheelchair-friendly.
  • You might also want to check out the cafe’s retail area which sells reusable straws, homemade self-care products, zero-waste household ware and paper products.

Burrow Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my blog posts on breakfast joints around the metro:

Something new brewing at Caffe Freddo, BGC

For a coffee lover like me, that morning cuppa signals the start of a new day, and that mug in the afternoon is all I need to pick me up from the post-lunch slump.

I also look forward to trying out new brews and coffee concoctions. It’s actually amazing how coffee is versatile enough to be mixed and matched with new ingredients to come up with an exciting new beverage.

Last night, together with my fellow foodies, I trooped over to Caffe Freddo in Bonifacio High Street to find out what the cafe has been brewing as part of its Philippine Independence Day offering.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

The new Ube Freddo (Php150) localizes Caffe Freddo’s coffee experience by adding the very Pinoy flavor of ube (purple yam) to the Freddo, the cafe’s signature iced coffee drink which contains a double shot of espresso and sweetened frothed milk. The resulting purple concoction makes for a pretty and Instagrammable drink. It joins the cafe’s roster of imaginative Freddo flavors which already include Mocha, Chai, Matcha and Coco starting June 12.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Along with the Ube Freddo, we also got a taste of the cafe’s carefully curated Modern European brunch menu which included:

Appetizers

Crunchy Calamari (Php240). Crispy battered squid rings served with basil and lime mayo.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Spring Rolls (Php260). Shrimp and corn-filled spring rolls served with coriander tomato dip.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Dried Figs Burrata Flat Bread (Php380). The dried figs add a sweet element that complements the savory flavors from burrata cheese, caramelized onions and the arugula in this flatbread.

Caffe Freddo,BGC

Panzanella Salad (Php290). Fresh flavors abound in this mixture of kale, watermelon, cherry tomatoes and croutons tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

Caffe Freddo,BGC

Mains.

Nasi Goreng (Php330). Chicken satay served with Indonesian spiced shrimp, vegetable fried rice and fried egg.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Beef Tagliatelle (Php350). Pasta tossed in beefy tomato ragu and basil.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Aglio Olio (Php350). Spaghetti tossed in virgin olive oil, garlic and spiced bacon.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Soy Grilled Salmon (Php480). Salmon topped with wabiko cream and served with wasabi mashed potato.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Fried Chicken Confit (Php320). Crispy fried chicken served with cole slaw.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Croque Madame (Php320). Smoked ham over a brioche toast and a layer of gruyere cheese, topped with a fried egg and mornay sauce.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Desserts.

Mango Granita (Php220). Succulent cubes of mango mixed in strips of fresh coconut, crumbled macaroons and coconut milk.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta (Php220). Light and tangy panna cotta served with blueberries in a pinot syrup.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Sans Rival (Php220). The classic Pinoy cake made of decadent layers of buttercream, meringue and chopped nuts.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Choco Paradise (Php190).This rich chocolatey confection is perfect for those craving for chocolate after a meal.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

With its slew of dishes, coffee offerings and cozy atmosphere, it’s easy to see why Caffe Freddo has become a prime foodie destination.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Thanks to Pat of ThePatKidInside for extending the invitation!

About Caffe Freddo

Caffe Freddo prides itself in offering a very unique selection of coffee, not found anywhere else in the metro. The coffee selection is all specially brewed from premium coffee beans of Bluestone Lane from New York City. Strategically located in the busy commercial business district of Bonifacio High Street, Caffe Freddo has refreshingly inviting interiors, with its off-white distressed brick walls, ample seating good for 50 people, and columns with hand-painted coffee plants in vibrant hues of green and red. Caffe Freddo is cozy enough for group meet-ups and family dining.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo is located at The Spa Building, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 7am to 11pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 7am to 12 midnight.  For inquiries, call +63 9988479410.

Caffe Freddo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoDisclosure: Together with my fellow foodies, I was invited to join a foodie meetup held at this restaurant. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my blog posts on breakfast joints around the metro:

 

 

Comfort food and whimsy at Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

If you venture into one of the more out-of-the-way streets near the foodie-friendly haven Tomas Morato, you might chance upon this colorful little cafe.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Called Pookaberry Cafe, its facade and interiors are marked by whimsical depictions of a baby alien named – you guessed it – Pookaberry, who just happens to be the imaginary friend of Ollie the Octopus.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Photo Credit: Jocen of BoodleBearPH

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

These drawings and characters are works by renowned New York-based pop artist Peter Marco, co-owner of the cafe along with his wife Jeanette.

While the cafe’s wall-to-wall artworks will stimulate you to flights of fancy, its menu, developed by Jeanette from the family’s own recipes and mirroring their cosmopolitan tastes and Pinoy roots, will comfort your tummy and spirit. Check them out:

Jams: Chili Mango and Chili Orange. Great to spread on buttered bread for that bit of extra sweetness that will put a smile on your face.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Paninis: Adobo (Php220), Bacon (Php240), Pork Loin (Php240) and Avocado (Php230). Grilled breads stuffed with flavorful filling, my fave was the savory avocado panini which veers away from my usual avocado fare which tend to be sweet.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Breakfast: Breakfast ni Juan (with beef tapa and scrambled egg – Php290), Uncle Sam’s Big Breakfast (with bacon, sausage and scrambled egg – Php310) and Vegetarian Option (with mushrooms – Php320). A hearty way to start the day is to have a bit of fried rice, a bit of vegetable salad and your preferred proteins to fuel you up. I was surprised to find that I actually love the Vegetarian Option: the sauteed mushrooms were flavorful, savory and went well with the rice.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Cakes: Very Pookaberry (Php130 slice | Php1,300 whole), Walnut Carrot (Php140 slice |Php1,400 whole), New York Cheesecake (Php140 slice | Php1,680 whole) and Matcha Green Tea (Php140 slice | Php1,400 whole). Delectable desserts to indulge the sweet tooth! My fave was the rich and creamy New York Cheesecake.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Cookie Shots (Php125). Cookie cups to hold your preferred shot among espresso, fresh milk or chocolate milk options.  Cheers!

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Photo Credit: Diane of Fried and Prejudice

Cosmic Cookie (Php80). Cookies baked in fun cosmic-shaped muffin cups.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Choco Walnut (Php120). A humongous piece of chocolate chip and walnut cookie to give you your sugar fix for the day.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Ice Blended Drinks: Very Pookaberry Ube, Jurassic Milo, Strawberry Cream Cheese Oreo and Matcha Oreo.  Refreshing icy drinks, perfect for a hot summer’s day!

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Aside from its fun and whimsical ambiance and the yummy treats on its menu, Pookaberry Cafe also has its own advocacy project. Proceeds of the cafe go to the Basilia Women’s Foundation which helps women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.

Check out its gift shop for fun merchandise and bags of its locally sourced coffee beans.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

So the next time you’re in the Tomas Morato area, drop by Pookaberry Cafe, for fun times and yummy treats.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Thanks to Aileen of AileenLFoodAdventures for extending the invite!

Pookaberry Cafe is located at 36-B Scout Ybardolaza corner Scout Rallos Streets, Bgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City, open daily from 7am to 9pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 917 9685414.

Pookaberry Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other foodies from #AileenLFoodieEventBuddies, I was invited to join a foodie meetup held at this restaurant. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my blog posts on breakfast joints around the metro:

 

 

Work and Hot Chocolate at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Venice Piazza, Taguig

While passing the time before a foodie meetup at Datang in the Venice Piazza, I decided to do some work and catch up on my emails.

CBTL, Venice Piazza

Fortunately, there’s a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf branch near the parking area that seemed like a nice and quiet place to while away some hours while immersed in some work.

My treat to myself while poring over my workload? (Because every source of motivation counts and chocolate is always good for motivation.)

CBTL, Venice Piazza

A nice cup of frothy Hot Double Chocolate with Marshmallows. Made with CBTL’s proprietary Special Dutch chocolate powder, combined with carefully steamed non-fat milk and topped with a thick layer of foam, it is a perfectly rich and decadent pick-me-up concoction.

CBTL, Venice Piazza

I wish I could stay longer and leisurely enjoy my drink.

CBTL, Venice Piazza

But, alas, duty called.

Until, next time then, my chocolate treat!

CBTL, Venice Piazza

This CBTL branch is located at the Ground Floor, Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig.

Other branches in Taguig may be found at:

  • B8 Bonifacio High Street, BGC
  • 32nd Street corner 11th Avenue, Park Triangle, BGC
  • Third Floor, BHS Central Square, BGC
  • Third Floor, Uptown Place Mall, BGC
  • Every Nation Building, 32nd Avenue corner University Parkway, BGC
  • Ground Floor, BGC Stopover Pavilion, BGC
  • Burgos Circle, BGC
  • Fifth Floor, SM Aura Premier, BGC
  • Shell Logcom, CP Garcia Avenue, Greater Taguig
  • Ground Floor, Vista Mall, Greater Taguig

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my other CBTL blog posts:

Holiday brunch get-together at Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

There are some friendships that endure despite great distances and changes in circumstances. Such is my friendship with Fetina, formerly an officemate who has since spread her wings working in Singapore. She usually comes home to the Philippines to visit family two to three times a year, and when she does, we make it a point to meet up at a restaurant in either Greenbelt or Glorietta.

In our latest meetup after Christmas, we opted for Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen located in Greenbelt. An offshoot of Equatorial Coffee in Katipunan, QC, Bluesmith combines homey yet Instagrammable interiors with comfort food and its sound foundation in coffee, making it an great venue for weekend brunches, friendly get-togethers and, dare I say it, #TitaConferences. (Hahaha!)

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Our get-together repast consisted of:

Flat White (Php150). This coffee beverage is characterized by the thin layer of microfoam (hence the term “flat” in “flat white) as opposed to the thicker foam layer in traditional cappuccino. I sipped on this while waiting for Fetina to arrive.

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Fresh Lemonade Soda (Php150).  Freshly squeezed lemon juice made into a sweet fizzy drink.

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Tenderloin Beef Salpicao (Php420).  One of Bluesmith’s bestsellers, this dish consists of cubes of beef tenderloin, cooked to medium doneness, and marbled potatoes sauteed in Worcestershire oil and toasted garlic and served mixed vegetables and rice.  I found the beef tender and flavorful but the sauce a bit too sweet for my taste.

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Creamy Pasta Tartufo (Php360).  Another of the resto’s bestselling dishes, this pasta dish is characterized by the earthy aroma of black truffle, mixed with a creamy mushroom sauce and served with baguette chips.

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

The servings were quite large such that we had trouble finishing the two dishes.

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

And since I unlocked my Zomato Gold privilege, we got the Creamy Pasta Tartufo for free!

Some friendships are nurtured by constant presence and attention but some, like Fetina’s and mine, are maintained by occasional meetups over good food and long conversations.

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen, Greenbelt

Our thanks to Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen for being our venue for this memorable get-together.

This Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen branch is located at Level 3, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Greenbelt, Makati City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 11am to 11pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12midnight.  For reservations and inquiries, call +63 917 7053526 or +63 2 7524183.

Other branches are located at:

  • Second Floor, Corte Area, Ayala Malls The 30th, Meralco Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City (open Sundays to Thursdays from 9am to 10pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 9am to 11pm; Tel. No: +63 917 7099814 or +63 2 7553092)
  • Ground Floor, MJ Corporate Plaza, 2310 Pasong Tamo Extension, Magallanes, Makati City (open weekdays from 7am to 8pm and weekends from 7am to 5pm; Tel. No: +63 917 7101605 or +63 2 7290284)

Bluesmith Coffee & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Want to score a similar discount? Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 deals on food or 2+2 deals on drinks. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here as soon as slots open. (They tend to get snatched up pretty quickly so be sure to sign up as soon as slots become available.) Use my code JELLYB to get 20% off the membership fee.

Cozy Korean-themed chill-out sesh at Cafe I’m Here, Tomas Morato

I’ve been wanting to check out Cafe I’m Here ever since it opened.  I’ve mostly heard a lot about its Korean-themed aesthetics, it’s decadent desserts and how relaxing it was to stay here.

Together with another adventuresome coworker, I traversed across Timog Avenue to CTTM Square where this cafe is located for lunch.

Upon entering, I was impressed by the sheer size of the place.  It  had two levels of seating areas that hug the There were pod-like spaces where you can sit in relative quiet and privacy while enjoying your cup of coffee, typing on your laptop or working on a project with a small group.  Despite the space occupied by its fun and youthful decor (gigantic teddy bears and tents where introverts can hole up in), it still seemed like a viable co-working or remote working space.

Better yet, it is a place where my friend and I can simply chill in and dish about the goings-on in our lives.

For our lunch, my companion and I split an order each of Pasta Bolognese (Php210) and Garlic Cheese Bread (Php170). This is such a fantastic pairing! The garlicky cheese bread served as a nice complement to the meat- and tomato-based pasta.

And simply because I can (and #IDoWhatIWant), I finished off a lovely Caramel Bread (Php150) for dessert. It was basically more of that soft fluffy bread topped with whipped cream and slathered all over with rich gooey caramel sauce. I did offer some to my companion but she’s not as into sweets as I am. (Well, more for me!)

Yep, this lunch was basically a carbs-upon-carbs chill-out session with my fried but, as a wise person once said, “Don’t count the calories. Make the calories count!”

I look forward to coming back here to leisurely enjoy a mug of the resto’s cafe mocha and a plate of chocolate bread.

Cafe I’m Here is located at Third Floor, CTTM Square, Sacred Heart, Quezon City (at the roundabout where Tomas Morato intersects with Timog Avenue). It is open daily from 10am to 3am. For inquiries, call +63 917 3633529 or +63 905 5073517.

Cafe I'm Here Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mix and Match Lunch Set at Half Saints, Tomas Morato

For me, the office lunch break is a sacred hour.  In this precious spot of time, I can take a break from the pencil-pushing, number-crunching and many of the stresses I take on in the course of my job.  When I have lunch with a coworkers, it also presents me with an opportunity to chat and get to know them, discover shared interests or vent on common frustrations.

This is why going out for lunch is especially important to me.  Having a packed lunch from home to eat at the office pantry or buying one to-go from the office foodcourt may be more efficient and economical, but does not provide me with a change of scenery that helps in keeping my stress levels down.

However, lunches out are not exactly budget-friendly.

Fortunately, nearby restaurant Half Saints offers DIY Lunch Sets wherein diners can mix and match options for rice and viand, all for Php165.

It’s such a no frills yet fun way to decide on what you’re having for lunch.

A friend and I dropped by on our lunch break and got for ourselves:

Black Squid Rice + Bacon Slab and Egg

Pink Salmon Rice + Shrimp Skewer

Since I had some money left over, I decided to indulge myself with a Paprika Cheese Tart (Php70).

Our boss asked us to get her lunch to-go so we opted for Black Squid Rice + Japanese Fried Chicken Bites that we took back to office.

The food choices do embody Half Saints concept of providing comfort food with a twist, influenced by owners Christine Roque, Trina Roque, Tricia Roque, Tanya Mesina and Joana Arciaga’s Filipino roots merging with their exposure to other cultures. The ingredients and dishes are familiar but are melded together in novel ways (and prettily plated too!), producing flavors and textures that do excite one’s senses when the dishes are laid down on the table.

Furthermore, through its advocacy, Half Saints also supports local businesses by sourcing its ingredients from local food and farmer cooperatives.

The food took some time to get to us (the waiter even got one of the orders wrong), though, so we busied ourselves by poring over some of the books artfully displayed in the store. The resto has a minimalist feel to it – and no wonder, its interior design was inspired by coffee shops in Tokyo. It proved to be a cozy and quiet place to hang out in.

Half Saints, Tomas Morato

I think this place would also be a nice after-office refuge. I can picture myself with a mug of Half Saints’ freshly brewed coffee and a pastry, just chillin’ after a day’s work.

Half Saints is located at the Ground Floor, Ignacia Place, Mother Ignacia Corner Sergeant Esguerra Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City, open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11.30am to 10pm. For reservations, call +63 935 9330512. Or you can book your table via Zomato like I did.

Half Saints Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato