Whenever Scott Tan visits New York, he often finds himself visiting a branch of Blue Stone Lane, an Australian-inspired cafe known for serving artisanal coffee in a stylish setting. Tan doesn’t describe himself as a coffee expert, but he was knowledgeable enough to know that what they were serving was light, flavorful, and not too acidic.
Tan decided to bring Blue Stone’s beans and coffee to the Philippines by way of his own cafe, Caffe Freddo. The BGC cafe had its grand opening earlier this week after a month of operations.
Located on 9th Avenue in Bonifacio High Street, Caffe Freddo is an airy dining spot characterized by high, wood-paneled ceilings and columns painted with vibrant leaves. At the entrance, visitors are welcomed by the sight of several delectable-looking pastries on display inside a glass cabinet. Diners are seated in plush green chairs paired with white-colored tables.
Tan told Coconuts in an interview this week that the cafe focuses on serving cold coffees that use Blue Stone Lanes’ Brooklyn-brewed premium beans. He’s also particularly proud of the cafe’s all-day brunch menu created by Markus Gfeller, a Swiss chef who started his career in fine dining.
While the cafe also has hot drinks, Tan says they would focus their innovation on cold drinks, a decision he made because of the Philippines’ climate.
“We’re a hot country. I myself, I drink cold coffees all year round; I don’t like hot coffees. It’s already hot, and you would still drink something hot?” he asked.
Caffe Freddo serves European-inspired brunch because Tan believes it’s a bit healthier than its American counterpart.
“It’s not unhealthy and it’s not deep fried. There are more flavors to it. And you will not get sick of them easily,” he said.
However, carb-loving Filipinos can order their breakfast bowls, which come with meat like sausage, house-smoked bacon steak, and chicken tocino. Diners have the option between white or brown rice.
During the launch, Coconuts was given the opportunity to sample some of Caffe Freddo’s drinks and food. We were first served a flat white (from PHP150/US$2.89), which could be ordered both hot and cold. We chose the hot variety, which had a slightly creamy consistency thanks to the right amount of milk. Seeing it served with latte art was definitely a bonus. It looked so intricate and painstakingly done that we thought twice about ruining it with a sip.
We then tried Mocha Freddo (PHP150/US$2.89), a cold brew that has a foamy milk surface that covers the dark chocolate syrup underneath. The drink was smooth when sipped and while it was sweet, there was a tinge of bitterness that gave it more depth.
Everyone at the launch was given Crunchy Calamari (PHP240/US$4.63) as an appetizer, which was served with basil and lime mayo. True to its name, it was definitely crunchy. It was a little surprising that the mayo was spicy, but it wasn’t so bad that our tongues were burning.
Next up was their Aglio Olio (PHP350/US$6.75). It had a light dusting of arugula and pancetta, which was tender and slightly salty.
Those who want to eat healthily would love the Muesli Bowl (PHP300/US$5.79), which had Greek yogurt, oats, granola muesli, fruits, and berries. The fresh bananas and kiwi were yummy and sweet, and the oats and muesli were crunchy. But the star of the dish was the yogurt, which was just slightly sour and had a thick consistency.
One dish we enjoyed a lot was the Ube Pancake (PHP250/US$4.82), which was served with muscovado syrup and coconut butter. Its fluffy consistency is similar to Japanese pancakes and it almost melts in the mouth. The syrup didn’t disappoint, but even without it, the pancake was already sweet enough.
They saved the best for last when they served the Fried Chicken Confit and Fries (PHP320/US$6.18). The fries were fine, but the fried chicken was one of the best ones we’ve tasted in recent memory. We were told that the chicken was cooked in its own fat for three hours. The effort in preparation shows in its taste — it was savory, juicy, and crispy. Truly the highlight of our meal that day.
Tan says that there’s more to come from Caffe Freddo. He’s planning to bring more premium beans to the Philippines other than the ones from Blue Stone Lane. He also plans to open branches in other locations, including stalls where people can order coffee on-the-go. Judging by what we have seen (and tasted) for far, we’re excited to see what’s ahead for Freddo.
Caffe Freddo is at The Spa Building, 9th Ave., Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Open daily from 7am-11pm
Phone: (02) 4410681; (02) 9988479410