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