I love coffee. I love it so much that it has come to a point that I can consume more than five cups a day, and that a doctor had to tell me to limit the intake or else…
So, imagine my surprise when I saw a branch of St. Marc Cafe while window shopping at Greenbelt 3. Already an institution in Japan, St. Marc Cafe is well loved and famous in Japan for its Chococro (a croissant-type pastry filled with chocolate in the middle), its kakigori (shaved ice dessert) selections and premium coffee.
Apparently, this is already the second branch of the coffee shop in Manila. Under the management of Suyen Corp., the parent company of retail giant Bench, the first St. Marc branch can be found at the Mega Fashion Hall of Megamall. The Greenbelt branch opened in mid-February and currently enjoys brisk crowd especially during after-office hours.
This is the first thing that caught my attention while the Hub and I were fixated on going to Chili’s. These plastic food displays are an art form in itself, and takes long hours while they are made by hand. In Tokyo, the streets of Kappabashi-dori, located near Asakusa is a go-to place to buy “sampurru” (from the english word, “sample”). Many tourists actually buy them as souvenirs.
It’s not easy getting a table because most of the tables are already occupied when we came in at 6PM. The Hub ordered the Almond Sugar Pie (P75) and a medium cup of Cafe Americano (P110), while I was set on one of the Matcha Milk kakigori (P230), being addicted to anything matcha flavored.
We didn’t get the Chococron, the flaky croissant variant that St. Marc is famous for, but we enjoyed the Almond Sugar Pie with its buttery, sugary crust. We loved the fact that the crust was not too dry and their are bits and pieces of the butter flavor in every bite. The Americano, meanwhile, is a let-down for me. One, Japan is known for its strong, kick-ass coffee and I found the America a bit too mild for my taste. There was no distinct coffee taste and I can’t help but compare it to the Americano we always order in our favorite coffee shop (the one with the words “coffee” and “tea” on its name). For a medium-sized coffee cup, the serving at St. Marc is also smaller.
My Matcha Milk was one big pile of finely-shaven ice, matcha and milk syrup, vanilla ice cream and a scoop of the red aduzki beans. In spite being tightly packed, the ice was not packed too tight. While the vanilla soft ice cream was not too sweet and just had enough of its flavoring, the matcha flavoring was too mild, there are instances when I can barely taste the flavor of green tea.
We loved the interiors, which was painted deep shade of grey. The lighting was also a clever play on the cup and saucer combo we usually find in coffee shops. The cozy feel of the interiors, which was a far cry on the usual look of coffee shops in Manila, encouraged patrons to enjoy their coffee while catching up with friends or loved-ones. Somehow, this is a coffee shop that feels more intimate and personal.