When driving around San Juan, you may just miss Flossom Place, a new establishment housed in a refurbished home in one of its inner streets. If you miss this spot though, you’d be missing out on one of the most refreshing new concepts in Manila.
It’s a compound that houses everything you might need when planning an event — a fashion designer, a souvenir supplier, and an event planner just to name a few. Anchoring them all together is a quaint neighborhood cafe perfect for Sunday brunch or weekday family dinners.
When Coconuts Manila visited Flossom Kitchen + Cafe, the place was surprisingly full for a Tuesday afternoon. All the tables were taken by groups who had called in their reservations in advance. And it’s easy to see why it’s gotten increasingly more popular since it opened in November.
To say the place is “instaworthy” would be an understatement. Welcoming customers when they enter the restaurant is a neon pink sign on an industrial gray wall. Another wall is covered with geometric pieces of metal adorned with flowers.
“We wanted everyone to feel at ease when they come in. Like you don’t have to be intimidated by us,” Janna Arceo, Flossom Place’s marketing manager told Coconuts Manila.
According to Arceo, Mina Yao, the owner and proprietor of Flossom Place did not have any plans to open a multi-purpose compound like the one she has now. Yao is the owner of Flossom, a flower shop in Manila’s Dangwa Flower Market, and was initially just looking for a place to house a chiller for orchids she imports from Taiwan. She was offered this property in San Juan but was hesitant to take it because she thought it was too big for what she had planned.
Yao eventually decided to take the place because of its location in the center of the metro but invited her friends to open their own businesses in the compound.
One of these friends is Jessica Wong, the chef and co-owner of Flossom Kitchen + Cafe. Wong partnered up with Betrina Lee and together with Yao, came up with the restaurant’s menu and overall concept.
“What she does is, she takes the classic dishes and puts a modern touch to it,” Arceo said about Wong. “She’s not the experimental person…she doesn’t like [dishes] that are too new, so she focuses on the classic dishes and then she adds a few touches to them.”
An example of this is their truffle and egg sandwich, two croissants, each filled with egg salad and truffle bits, and topped with fish roe and bacon.
While the egg salad could be chunkier and may be a little sweet for some, the dish is filling and has just the right amount of truffle flavor to make it savory but not overpowering.
Their ube champorado is a twist on the classic Filipino chocolate rice porridge but does away with cocoa entirely. Instead, they’ve replaced it with ube — that purple yam dubbed “the new matcha.”
This time, their innovation works much better, making us wonder why ube champorado isn’t a bigger trend. Although the dish is bright purple (again, very instaworthy), the ube flavor acts more as an accent that brings out the natural creaminess of the rice.
Its sweetness mostly comes from the yema (caramel candy) sauce and macapuno (sweetened coconut) shreds on top. Of course, like any proper Filipino champorado, theirs comes with a sprinkling of tuyo (dried fish).
Other dishes that standout on their menu that we have yet to try are the Ultimate English Breakfast (PHP650/US$13), a platter for two made up of pancakes, bacon, ham, wild mushrooms, baked beans, eggs, potato spuds, grilled tomatoes, and a baguette; and the ube macapuno mousse (PHP150/US$3).
The cafe is Flossom Place’s charismatic frontman, the rest of the band, however, are also worth getting to know. Those who are planning their wedding or debut party will benefit the most from its one-stop shop complex because almost everything one might need for a special occasion is available in-house.
There’s High Caliber, a supplier that creates custom event invitations and souvenirs for any budget. A sample they showed us was a wooden box filled with gifts for groomsmen like a whiskey glass, a bottle of whiskey, and a “groomsman survival kit.”
Fashion designer Rica Rico’s atelier is on the second floor, where you can consult with her on custom-made dresses, or buy ready-to-wear pieces.
Also on the second floor is Shuffle Makerspace, which acts as a co-working space for creatives and an event space for smaller groups.
Then there’s Benibana, a salon that has a similar nature aesthetic as the cafe, where you can get ready before the event starts.
Event planner Christine Ong Te, Fleur du Monde flower shop, and floral and event designer Teddy Manuel also have shops and showrooms you can visit.
And of course, there’s the cafe itself which you can book for wedding rehearsal dinners, a despedida de soltera, or even the event itself.
You can book their glass house, which can fit 20 people, for four hours for PHP20,000 (US$400) worth of dishes. The entire cafe can also be closed down for private events for PHP600 (US$12) per person for a group of 30 people.
According to Arceo, the cafe will soon offer wine and charcuterie and will have an upcoming Valentine’s Day menu for couples worth PHP2,500 (US$50)
Flossom Place is located at 187 N. Averilla St., San Juan City. (Tip: It’s to the left of the Rustan’s Fresh Supermarket in P. Guevarra St.)