|Hazelnut Benguet Coffee|
H A N G O U T
I N M A K A T I
The offbeat side of Makati City -- along Makati Avenue and past Jupiter Street -- doesn't only offer red light district pleasures and cheap lodgings. Although it resembles a gilded cage of towering high-rise buildings that seem to hide this kooky enclave, the scene in the middle of it all can offer tourists an interesting neighborhood vibe. If anything, it's less intimidating. It's more upfront but off-center. Just like the newly-opened coffee shop called Art Circle Cafe (ACC) where I recently killed time one weekday for a sip of Benguet brew and a slice of delicious tart.
I just stepped out of a hotel next door after a staycation and was needing something sweet to rid my lips of the taste of bacon (what I had for brunch). With a desire to stay awake, I also set out for coffee. Since Art Circle Cafe is accessible from the hotel, it was beyond gut choice. Colorful paintings greeted me from their nifty dividers where they're displayed at the center of the whole space. A few corners showed the presence of various art sculptures from different disciplines (from steel to paper).
|Black & White Tart|
|The coffee shop interiors|
The coffee shop interiors are indicative of an art museum but the presence of chairs and tables spell out cafe. The resulting encounter of such sensibilities is an artsy sanctuary that's also a fantastic coffee and dessert hangout. Being surrounded by beautiful art makes a complementing sight for someone like me who simply wanted to chill out. For others, it can easily be a sensible meetup place for any urban rendezvous in this side of Makati.
Native Coffee Variants
Customers can order Philippine coffee variants of Sagada, Kalinga, and Benguet in just a cup for a little more than P50. I opted for an order of a Hazelnut-flavored Benguet a la French Press, a low tech brewing method for P100. A press pot can serve two full cups but I rationed mine for three like how I moderate gorging on a bag of chips.
Itogon day hike weeks ago, I was in the mood to recreate the feeling in every sip of the brew's bold and fruity flavor. There is a great reason why this native coffee has found its way to the heart of the National Capital Region and it's basically because of its fine quality that's known to be keeping the highland spirit alive for over two centuries now. Benguet's red mountain soil, combined with its cool air, is a perfect terrain for growing coffee.
I also ordered a slice of the Black & White Tart. Its attractive marbled appearance evoked decadence, but its intense chocolate flavor was what I truly loved about it. The crumby base tasted buttery. On its own, it was impressive. Paired with the Benguet Coffee, it tasted divine. I'll definitely return soon for the whole cake which costs no more than a thousand pesos.
I learned from the staff that the first branch of Art Circle Cafe has been serving UP Diliman patrons at its Bahay Ng Alumni branch for the past few years. With a new outlet touted to open soon in Mandaluyong City, I'll be able to use my VIP card more often for discounts since it's just a 30-minute ride away from where I reside.
I've long lost interest for expensive coffee brands. After seeing where my country's native coffee is grown, I can't help but patronize our very own. And, with views of fancy art to boot at Art Circle Cafe, killing time becomes a passionate pursuit.
Art Circle Cafe
Official Facebook fan page of Art Circle Cafe
Address: G/F Y2 Hotel, Santiago Street corner Valdez and Singian Streets, Makati City, Philippines 1210
Phone: (02) 224-3000
Where else to dine out in Makati City?
+ The romantic Top of The Citi By Chef Jessie
+ The cosmopolitan Museum Cafe
+ Exquisite dishes at Restaurante Pia Y Damaso
+ City Garden Grand Hotel's Spice Cafe
+ The inventive Kabila
+ The upscale Terraz
+ Go Japanese at Saboten Philippines
More Photos Below: