The Coffee Shop in Makati that Serves Interesting Coffees

 


In San Antonio, Makati is a coffee shop called The Black Bean hidden in Eton West End Square. My friend, Mai and I decided to visit, after seeing the photos of the nice interiors from Preview. Yes, we're the kind of folks who like IG-worthy interiors. Reservations are required for this coffee shop. 

The Black Bean PH has two branches, the other located in BF Homes Paranaque, and turns out, the photos of that branch were the ones showcased in the article. We realized that when we got there because the Makati branch is smaller. 

Inside The Black Bean 


Black Bean sports off white and brown colors with touches of green courtesy of the plants displayed inside. It's rocking an industrial look for its space. It's definitely far from the photos we saw but it's got a charm of its own.  

We went here for brunch and there were only two other customers in the cafe when we got there. I think the fact that it's in a mall that's hardly got other retail businesses helps with that cozy ambiance. So if you want to relax or work in peace, you can do that here. You won't be disturbed. 

What We Ordered

Mai ordered the Longganizsa Duo from the Breakfast Bowls while I tried one of their mains, Chicken Parmigiana with a side order of rice. Its two kinds of longganisa are sweet and garlicky Filipino style from Imus, Cavite. Mai liked the big serving and found it delicious.  

Longganisa Duo, Php270.00



Chicken Parmigiana, Php350 


My chicken parmigiana didn't come with rice so I ordered one. Just like Mai's, my orders had a big serving - yes including the rice which I wasn't able to take a photo of anymore. Too excited to eat! I also liked my chicken parmigiana. Even though it had a hint of spice, which I'm usually not crazy about, I was able to finish this off. 

The One of a Kind Coffees

Mai also wanted to try The Black Bean because of their unique coffees. 


Mai ordered the meringue cappuccino. When she showed a photo of this to me, I initially thought it was dessert. But yeah, it's coffee! Looks good, doesn't it?  
 
Meringue Cappuccino, Php220 

She certainly thought it was good. No need for sugar in the cappuccino. The meringue already brings on the sweetness. 

Hey Love! XX, Php220


As for me, well, I was initially going to try their Spanish Latte but I certainly thought their Coffee Temptations selection was worth a try. So I ordered Hey Love! XX, which is cream cheese foam and iced black coffee. I love cream cheese - that's what sold this coffee to me. Didn't disappoint! 

Verdict

Overall we enjoyed our stay at The Black Bean. If I lived nearby this area, I'd certainly be back because of the ambiance and good food. If you want to read up about The Black Bean Cafe, check out this article from Spot.ph


1120 House: A Respite from the Chaos of the Metro

The Omicron surge started to decline by the last week of January and with all of us finally with our 3rd vax shot, we were able to make plans to go out again. We dined at 1120 House

It was Mai who discovered the place, browsing through Instagram last year. We wanted to originally celebrate our Christmas/New Year friends get together there but the restaurant was full on the date we intended to go. You need a reservation to dine in. 


It is such a posh restaurant tucked away by Rockwell, Makati! 

First, its location will require you to have a car or cab to get to it. Well, you can ride the jeep by Guadalupe MRT station (north side) but you still would have to walk to get to Rockwell.    
And the restaurant itself is gated and guarded. 

Our reservation was at 1PM. But we had to wait a few minutes past because our table wasn't ready. The previous customers sitting at our table refused didn't want to leave just yet since one of their companions got there later than their reservation time. The restaurant didn't have a choice but to prepare another table for us. 

IATF guidelines under Level 3 is 30% dine-in capacity only. Some people can be so entitled. But also I think the restaurant should be stricter with their reservations., perhaps imposing a cap for AM/PM reservations to avoid having to ask customers to vacate the table. 

Anyway, we were seated at the lanai area of the restaurant which worked out nicely for us. We thought that the area was really nice. 

The Interiors




I love the big windows that let the natural light in and the rattan and solihiya chairs.  



It was so nice I got my outfit taken on the side when the customers on that side left. Lucky for us it was a sunny afternoon so the natural light really added charm to the place.

This Preview article describes the place so well! 

What We Ordered

So yeah, the place looks nice and fancy. But is the food? Here are what we ordered for lunch. 


Roasted chicken with mashed potato and grilled veggies 

 
Chicken Galantina 

 
Mushroom Alfredo 



They're all delicious. The mushroom alfredo was creamy and had plenty of mushrooms. It's good they didn't skimp on that as some restaurants do. The chicken galantina was good but it's not a standout dish. And finally, the roast chicken with mashed potato, also delightful to eat as the chicken was juicy. the mashed potato was tasty and the veggies were grilled well. 

I had the roast chicken and I liked my dish so much! Only I didn't get to finish it. The waiter took it away when he served the dessert. He probably thought I was done and I didn't get the chance to stop him since I was busy looking for the wet wipes in my bag at that time. I was trying to prove to my friend that I was no slob and that I bring along wipes whenever I could. 

I didn't dwell on that too much since the dessert we ordered made me forget all about it. 


      
We had the dark chocolate cake and crepe samurai. Originally, we wanted to order a cheesecake for dessert originally but that wasn't available. The waiter recommended the crepe samurai. One bite of its sweet glory washed away my disappointment of not being able to finish my entree! 

If you're looking for a quiet place where you can enjoy a delicious meal with your friends just for a couple of hours, 1120 House is worth considering.   


1120 House
Metropolitan Compound, Amapola corner Estrella Streets,
Makati City 
Operating Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily 

The Joy of Comfort Food at Dayrit's Burger and Roast Beef House

After staying home for most of January due to another COVID-19 surge, I decided to break the monotony of it by dining out. I went to check out Dayrit's at Paseo de Magallanes, Makati with my cousin. 

Dayrit's has been around for a while now. Actually I've first heard of this restaurant from Joei's blog. It was her post about this being an old favorite place of hers that made me curious to try Dayrit's. But it took years for me to finally get around to trying it out.

How's the Food?



On our first visit, I tried their Roast Beef. That's what the restaurant is known for. My cousin ordered the Spam steak plus iced teas for us two. It was a complete meal already what we ordered, with rice and even hot soup. 


 
I asked my cousin what she thought of her meal. She said she really enjoyed this dish. That pineapple combined with the spam made it a sweet delight to eat. The mashed potato on the side though without the veggies, was bland.  


I was excited to try their roast beef since it's been raved about not only by food bloggers but also diners who've posted reviews on Zomato. They weren't wrong at all. This was good roast beef. The meat was tender and juicy and good enough serving for one. I also thought that baked potato was tasty! Not like at all my cousin's mashed potato. 

And because we had a good first dining experience, we came back about a week later for another early dinner. This time we bought ordered hamburger steaks and iced tea. The iced tea's good. I read it's home made. 



I'm glad the servings are big so if you're really hungry, you'd definitely be finishing your meal on a full stomach. I expected our steaks to be served hot but it was just warm. Oh well the rice was steamed so it didn't matter.  


So we liked the hamburger steaks too. I liked the healthy serving of gravy on it. It's not the best gravy in town but good enough. The mashed potato I think is a little better this time than when my cousin ordered her food with this side dish. 

My cousin, though she liked this too, thought the Spam Steak was the better choice of the two. 

I wish we could've tried their Brownie ala Mode for dessert but it wasn't available. Maybe next time. 

The Rest of Our Dining Experience

There wasn't much people around when we first ate at Dayrit's. Probably because we were there for an early dinner - around 4pm. The second time around when we came in later, we saw the place start to get packed with customers. But the food gets served fast. I read that there've been changes to the menu over the years. According to this blog, roast beef used to be served with java rice. I would've wanted that. 

Anyway, if you're also not comfortable dining in, Dayrit's has an al fresco area. That's where we stayed both times we visited. We get to enjoy the view of the sunset, the feel of the cool evening wind and just watch the cars pass by. 


   
A dining experience at Dayrit's will cost around Php800+ for two. 

Verdict

Worth scoping out. I'd come back here again!   

A Spanish Mealtime Experience at Las Flores

A friend and I decided to break our routinary patterns one weekday by going out for lunch. And not just any lunch! We went for a Spanish lunch cuisine at Las Flores in Salcedo Village, Makati. 


We tried to book a table online initially but we didn't get any confirmation. Don't you just hate that? But anyway, considering its location, (read: not in the mall and not in the business district), I was pretty confident we'd be able to get a table as soon as we arrive. Though to be sure that the lunch crowd would have already dispersed, we went to Las Flores at around 1:30PM. We had the place to ourselves. 

After the initial health and safety precautions (temp check, contact tracing form, alcohol and checking of vaccination cards), we were seated. 

I've been craving paella for so long now so it was definitely part of our order! We chose to go with one of their meal packages. For Php1, 595 we got these:  
  • Patatas Bravas 
  • Bombas de la Barceloneta
  • Grande Paella Venduras
  • Red Sangria pitcher 

Paella Venduras is just one of the paellas they offered in their menu. This particular paella had a lot of veggies like eggplant, string beans and cherry tomatoes. It was a great choice for us. 



Whenever I'm dining at a restaurant that offers Spanish cuisine, I always order potato croquette. I just love mashed potato that's rolled in bread crumbs and deep-fried until crisp. At Las Flores, that's the Bombas de la Barceloneta. 


 
This was okay but I've tasted better. Actually between this and Patatas Bravas, we preferred the latter more. It has a little spice in it so it's kinda surprising that I'd like this tapas. But yeah, I did. It went great with my sangria.  


Speaking of sangria, I helped myself to a drink during lunch hour. I was dining at a Spanish restaurant, a sangria is a must! I enjoyed their sangria. It's got that citrusy sweet taste to it. The alcohol's not overpowering and I've tasted quite a few sangrias in my life! 


To end our Spanish meal time experience, we ordered churros for dessert! We weren't planning on ordering dessert at Las Flores initially. My friend wanted to go to La Lola's for churros but unfortunately, La Lola's isn't in Glorietta or Greenbelt anymore. So we decided to get churros from Las Flores instead. To our surprise, the churros from Las Flores are also from La Lola's - only more expensive and there aren't options to choose from. Still this was a delicious dessert and a gret way to cap off our meal!  


Yummy churros! Dig in!



So overall, it was a great lunch out experience at Las Flores, Salcedo. I think due to its location, it's not so crowded. While we were there, there were only a couple of other diners who came in to the restaurant. It was still peaceful to dine there. You can just enjoy your meal. Just as this Inquirer article said, you can dine in style and away from the maddening crowd. 

Salud!

Touristing in the City: Places in Manila I went to

I went to the city of Manila recently and took the LRT to get there more than a year since I last time. With COVID cases in NCR falling, I'm slowly finding the courage to step out of my bubble area to explore places in the city. I used one of the days of my mental health break leaves at the office to visit Intramuros with my cousin. I don't mind touristing in the city. In fact, I actually missed doing this. That's the beauty of living in the Metro - there's so many places waiting to be discovered. After all, there's so many places around Metro Manila that would be nice to visit!     


It was a Wednesday, a workday, when we went to Intramuros, Manila and rode the train. I felt glad to be riding the LRT again, something I used to do on a regular basis when I went to the gym in Manila. It's a semblance of normalcy. Since it has been more than a year, my beep card value card already expired. It's a suspicion I was able to confirm when I tried to load up my value card on the machine and it said beep card expired. I bought the one-way ride card instead which was around Php20 going to Central Station. 

Belfry Cafe   

Our first stop when we got to Intramuros was Belfry Cafe located beside Manila Cathedral church. I wrote about this being one of the places in the city I want to visit earlier this year. I'm glad I was finally able to go. 


We went in the morning so we were thrilled to have the place to ourselves. I was actually surprised to see that it was a small cafe. The photos I've seen online had given me a different impression. Not that it matters in the bigger picture of things really. It's still a nice cafe to visit in Manila. 

 

My cousin and I split this chicken and mushroom pasta. It's good pasta. And I had the iced vanilla coffee.


When in Belfry Cafe, a photo dining under the bell (or near it in this case) is a must! That's the eye-catching detail in this cafe. 



Baluarte de San Diego

While my agenda for playing tourist in Intramuros is Belfry Cafe, my cousin's was to visit Baluarte de San Diego. While also in Intramuros, this is far from where the cafe is. If you don't want to walk, you can take the trike going to Baluarte. But we didn't mind walking. I particularly like to walk. I remember doing a walking tour in Intramuros with Carlos Celdran a few years back. 

Remember to bring your vaccination card (if you're already fully vaccinated) guys when you visit so you won't have to fill out a contact tracing form. Entrance to Baluarte de San Diego is Php75 for adults. 


 
Baluarte de San Diego is an open space tourist spot. Made me feel at ease because at least there's good air circulation. Also there weren't a lot of people in Baluarte. This garden area is one of the first sights you'd see when you enter the site. 



This looks like some kind of canon from the old days. Well, Baluarte de San Diego, also known as Torre de Nuestra Senora de Guia, is one of the oldest stone fort in Manila. Its design followed that of a Jesuit architect Antonio SedeƱo, 1586-1587 and integrated with the wall of Intramuros, 1593. 


  

Reinforced by a spade-shaped bulwark and known as the Baluarte de San Diego, 1663. It was breached by the British army during the Seven Years War, 1762 and destroyed by an earthquake in 1863. Ruins of the tower that remained filled-in with earth during the occupation of United States, 1905. The tower was excavated and restored, 1979-1980. Baluarte de San Diego forms part of the fortifications of Intramuros, which were declared as a National Historical Monument, 1951; then as a National Cultural Treasure, 2014. 


Under the new normal, these signs were all around Baluarte de San Diego, a reminder to visitors to practice minimum safety protocols while visiting. 

  

 


Blocleaf Cafe

We ended our Manila trip at another cafe in Malate. It wasn't originally part of our agenda but we felt it was still early to call it a day and we still had energy to explore. Found Blocleaf with a quick Google search of Manila cafes. 




  

Blocleaf Cafe is a Kinfolk-inspired cafe. Its interiors are very nice with its white walls, big glass windows and wooden furniture. It's tucked away in Malate, beside a Hop Inn hotel, it's the perfect spot to hang out when you want to be secluded from the crowd. It's quiet in the cafe too. You could read in this cafe. 



We ordered iced mocha and split this ube cheesecake for snack. Not too crazy about our order though. Well, neither of us are fans of ube but it was the only available snack in the cafe that we felt could go nicely with our coffee. The other only available food was noodles. The iced coffee was okay though I thought for its price, the glass is too small. Oh well. We chucked it up to experience. 


So that's where we ended our touristing in the city of Manila. It was a hot day mostly though it drizzled a bit during our day out. I actually got sunburn on my upper back! Note to self: apply sunblock even on your back next time if you intend to walk on a hot day! I was exhausted from all the walking we did but definitely happy about our trip. It was definitely a good way to spend a rest day; a nice change from being in the house a lot these days. 

    




My Very Tea-ta Afternoon: Afternoon Tea Experience at The Peninsula Manila


If asked to choose between coffee or tea, I choose coffee. But over the years, I've learned to appreciate drinking tea as well. Western people might consider drinking tea a very English thing to do but here in the Philippines, it's a very tita thing to do. So that's what I had - a tea-ta weekend when a friend invited me for an afternoon tea experience at Peninsula Manila. 

We made a reservation and had our vaccination cards ready for presentation when we went. After all, indoor dine-ins are only allowed for vaccinated people. We encountered a glitch however when we got to the hotel as they couldn't find our reservation.  I supposed it wasn't much of a surprise when that happened. We assumed our reservation was confirmed as no one from their team came back to us when my friend contacted them via Facebook. I was ready to drop the plan and go somewhere else if we weren't going to be allowed in. About fifteen minutes later though, someone from their team came to fetch us and finally we were seated. 

The Peninsula Manila is one of the oldest hotels in the country located in the business district of Makati City. It's a five-star hotel and as soon as you step foot inside, you'd see the luxury emanating from the hotel's facade.   



  
I couldn't help but admire this hotel even though it's not the first time I've stepped foot inside. It has been a while though since the last time I was here. It's the first time I went in any hotel since the pandemic began. 

The afternoon tea set at The Peninsula Manila cost Php1,200/pax or Php1,815 should you choose to have a flute of Champagne with it. It consists of sweet and savory snacks along with a pot of hot tea. 

festive afternoon tea set at The Peninsula Manila


It's been so long since I actually had an afternoon tea experience like this. The first was at TWG in Greenbelt pre-pandemic times, many years ago. I love the tea I picked out that went with my snacks, which coincidentally is also from TWG: Vanilla Bourbon. I've already got it added on to my cart at Lazada. Buy it here.  

As for the snacks, I expected I wouldn't be fulfilled. But I left Peninsula Manila on a full stomach. The afternoon tea set snacks were delicious and filling! I got my money's worth. 

Here are just some more of the food shots from my afternoon tea experience at The Peninsula Manila.  








Overall, a pleasant afternoon tea experience.