Siargao cafe Spotted Pig opens in Makati

Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at May 25 2023 08:04 PM

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Exteriors of Spotted Pig MNL. Jeeves de Veyra

Lui Alvarez is the coffeeholic behind the Spotted Pig. The Alvarez family has been in the hospitality business for years, having been part of several hotels in Cebu. It was during the construction of the family’s first independent venture, the Las Palmas Villas in Siargao, that the first Spotted Pig came to be.

Not one to do things half-baked, Alvarez did a coffee crawl around Singapore and Bali to get a complete picture of what he wanted to open. The café, named after the native pigs found in Siargao, quickly became one of the must-visit places for local and foreign guests for good eats. It stayed open during the pandemic, even at a loss to the family, to keep their staff employed.

It was when typhoon Odette devastated Siargao that eventually took Spotted Pig to Manila. Alvarez was realistic when he thought that it would take the surf destination some time to rebuild.

Spotted Pig MNL, located in Legazpi Village, Makati, is a stone’s throw from many independent restaurants and cafes. As with all high-end coffee shops, it is Instagrammable thanks to Cebuana designer Alexis Lustre Sarossa bringing tropical beach vibes to the urban space.

But its beauty is more than just 'gram deep -- Alvarez' marching orders for the interiors was to make the coffee bar as the focal point of the establishment. For the casual café visitor, the amount of shiny coffee things will be a delight. But for coffee geeks who’ve already built their ultimate dream café in their head, Spotted Pig MNL will certainly come close to that vision in terms of equipment and coffee offerings.

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Spotted Pig MNL's coffee bar. Jeeves de Veyra

For the coffee, they turned to The Good Cup Coffee Co., a Cebu-based roaster that has been known for their diverse portfolio of local and foreign beans. Owner Gio Visitacion was instrumental in the coffee experience that can be sipped and savored in the Manila café, training the baristas and going as far as having a custom water filtration system just for the coffee.

Guests can choose from three coffee beans with different profiles for their drinks: the strong and almost barako-like Daily Driver blend for that robust full-bodied morning jolt, the comfortable milk chocolate and nut Brazil Cerrado, and the more exotic and fruitier Ethiopian Sidamo, which just has to be tried as a flat white. Not only are alternative milk options available, but also different types of dairy for varying levels of sweetness and fat content.

As with a lot of higher-end cafes, Spotted Pig MNL's coffee bar has two parts, "fast" and "slow." On the fast bar are a trio of Mavam Under Counter espresso machines, the first installation in the country, paired with Mahlkönig Grind by Weight Café grinders. In the grinders are three different beans, each with its own appeal. All of these, working in concert with baristas, ensure the espressos, long blacks/americanos, flat whites, and Spanish Lattes are pulled at a rapid rate.

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Grind by Weight grinders. Jeeves de Veyra

For coffee geeks, there’s even more to pore over at the slow bar. First, there's the selection of specialty coffee beans that's regularly updated by what's currently in the Good Cup Coffee Co. catalog. Ask the friendly baristas who can advise the best way to enjoy these. From local award-winning coffees like the Mt. Apo Milalitras and Marivic Dubrias all the way to Colombian Bermudez Geshas and Ecuadorian La Papaya beans, this is a great way to expand one's coffee horizons, tasting floral, fruity, even winey notes specialty coffee is known for. There's a bean for every taste profile preference and every budget.

And then there are the more specialized coffee gadgets for single-dose coffee. It's a slow bar for a reason since beans have to be measured then prepared with one of the Weber Workshop Grinders. From here, guests can either have this as a pour-over or as an espresso or milk drink pulled with the Kees Van Der Westen Spirit espresso machine that's exclusively used for specialty beans.

For the adventurous coffee drinkers, there are some interesting menu items like the duo, a single shot of espresso and a cortado made with steamed milk and a single shot of espresso, for those who can’t make up their minds between a black and a milk drink.

Another drink seldom seen elsewhere is Magic Coffee, pulled with concentrated espresso and steamed milk out of the coffee shops of Melbourne. Alverez took a liking to during one of his trips outside the country, best pulled with the shop's Brazil Cerrado beans.

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Magic Coffee. Jeeves de Veyra

Even as it has been open for a relatively short while, the café has hosted several prominent coffee personalities brought in by Good Cup. Among them are award-winning coffee farmer Marivic Dubria from Mt. Apo and Patrik Rolf of April Coffee, who have done cupping sessions and conversed with fans.


But enough about the coffee.

The Siargao branch of Spotted Pig was known as one of the best places to eat on the island. A highlight of the menu was the addition of vegan and lactose-free entrees to support Alvarez' healthy diet, like their Avo Toast on in-store baked sourdough. It is a favorite by visitors at the original first branch, and has made its way to the Makati menu.

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Coffee with in-store baked bread. Jeeves de Veyra

For Spotted Pig MNL, they had their chef cook up more substantial entrees in the form of sandwiches and rice bowls. The prices are standard for the Legaspi Village location, though the portions are generous.

The sandwiches use ciabatta for that extra crunch and come with a side of taro and sweet potato chips. Their Katsu Sando is a good benchmark of what they have to offer in this section -- the Japanese pork cutlet is already filling as it is, and the addition of an omelet makes it so loaded that it's pretty difficult to finish.

For the rice bowls, the Ginataang Pork Adobo is what the staff recommends to first-timers to the café. This is a substantial bowl of crispy pork belly with adobo and coconut milk on rice. Replacing rice with adlai can be requested for those looking out low-carb options.

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Ginataang Pork Adobo. Jeeves de Veyra

Though there's still coffee for the night owls, those winding down the day can check out their cocktail menu which includes Cucumber Gin Tonic, Orange Gin Tonic, Aperol Spritz, Amaretto Sour, and the Mojito.

Spotted Pig MNL distinguishes itself by taking all of the drool-worthy equipment, barista know-how, and curated coffee beans to deliver a premium coffee experience rarely seen anywhere else. That, together with its food, makes it a must-visit on any Metro Manila coffee crawl.

Spotted Pig MNL is located at 109 Esteban St, Legazpi Village, Makati and is open every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.