MANILA -- This month, Café Kitsune opened its first Manila branch at The Podium in Ortigas Center with bespoke drinks for the Philippines, food and pastries for anytime of the day, and trademark aesthetic.
With roots in art, music and fashion, the café started with a branch in Aoyama, Japan then grew to a hub of cafes in cities like Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, New York, Beijing, Vancouver, Bangkok, and now — Manila.
The Manila café stayed true to its Tokyo-meets-Parisian concept with white and bright interiors, chrome and gold accents, mirrored walls, and light-wood seating. The counter where you order pastries or coffee to go is in front, while the cul-de-sac type dining area is found at the back of the space.
While guests not familiar with Café Kitsune's international branches might be enticed by the hype of Instagram photos of chic white cups coolly emblazoned with the brand in cursive, there’s more than aesthetics that has made this café an iconic place to get a cup of coffee.
So whether you’re there for take-out or dine-in, for coffee and pastries or for a full meal -- here’s a guide to what to order in Café Kitsune Manila.
1. The Americano and the Mango Caramel Latte
First up— coffee! Café Kitsune has quite the menu and uses single-origin coffee beans from Brazil and Guatemala. If you’re familiar with coffee, that means chocolate and caramel notes and surprise — usually it has low acidity. The Café Kitsune Americano that this author had was a great representation of coffee from that part of the world and would be a good choice for those who like it black.
For your milk beverages, while you can get a flat white or a macchiato, take a gander at the bespoke lattes created for and only found in the Philippines. There’s the banana caramel latte, coconut caramel latte, and the mango latte. This author will always opt for latter either hot or iced, as it had the most balanced taste — sweet, slightly tangy, and very creamy.
2. Strawberry & Peach Fizz and Green Apple and Mint Fizz
I can imagine having this to go and braving the heat of Ortigas summer. This carbonated drink on fruity steroids packed requisite flavor while surprisingly being not too sweet and was very refreshing. Great to pair with their sandos, as well.
Pork Katsu Sando and the Egg Sando
The fact that I can get Japanese-style sandos (sandwiches) in Manila has always been a treat for this author, and Café Kitsune does it right.
The Pork Katsu Sando was hefty despite the characteristic pillow-soft bread and came with a side salad. The Egg Sando had a soft-boiled egg in the middle surrounded with egg salad (yes, egg-ception) and it wasn’t too sweet despite the milk bread, but I did sprinkle a bit of salt to enjoy it more.
Besides Jakarta and the Philippines, Café Kitsune usually does not have savory items on offer. If you want something filling, there’s the very Filipino-friendly taste and substantial portion of the French onion soup, and the cheese-topped Croque Monsieur.
4. Café Kitsune Fox Shortbread and the Hojicha Puff
Café Kitsune has a lot of pastry and cake offerings. Its totem pastry (kitsune is a Japanese fox spirit) comes in three flavors — original, chocolate, and matcha. Go for the original and hang it at your cup’s rim. It’s not only Instagrammable but it’s quite the great paring.
Hojicha is not a well-known Japanese flavor here in the Philippines, but it should be. Roasted green tea reminds me of our own “tinutong na bigas” flavor but with more chocolate and nutty notes, and less bitterness. The Hojicha puff is a cream puff made interesting with this unique flavor, and you can’t get a lot of Hojicha-flavored stuff here in the Philippines, so Café Kitsune is your best bet. (There’s also an éclair that I have yet to try).
5. The merch
There is also a merch wall filled with shirts and sweaters, caps and totes, coffee cups and notebooks. If you are so inclined to buy, Café Kitsune’s merch stays true to its fashionable roots.
Café Kitsune is located at ground floor of The Podium in Ortigas Center.