What do most young and working urbanites need to kickstart their day? One word: Coffee. And if you’re one of these urbanites, then you’re definitely familiar with the big designer coffee brands such as Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. If you’re a true blue coffee lover, you most likely know and even have tried some other coffee shops – that may not be as big as the two aforementioned coffee chains but still serve good coffee – in the Metro.
Well here’s another suggestion you can add to your list of must try coffee shops – Cafe Laya. Located at the Ground Floor of EGI Taft Tower in Malate, Manila, Cafe Laya is a coffee shop cum art gallery and it is a space that encourages ideation, harnessing inspiration, freedom of expression and ultimately, pursuing one’s passion.
Being a coffee lover ourselves, we checked out the place.
This coffee shop supports the small and medium sized entrepreneurs in the Philippines so all the food and beverage they serve are made from local ingredients and homemade sauces. Cafe Laya also offers products from social enterprises such as First Harvest Peanut Spread made by Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm, the all-Filipino iced tea Bayani Brew and the first bean to bar artisan chocolate from the Philippines, Theo and Philo.
We ordered salted caramel latte and mango graham milkshake. The coffee beans found in their coffee are 100% Arabica produced from Benguet Province and used as the base for hot and cold, classic and exciting mixes such as the salted caramel latte pictured above, mocha, dark chocolate, cookies and cream etc.
Their drinks can be perfectly paired with their main dish offerings like Tuyo Pesto (served with buttered bread), Flaky Adobo (served with brown rice), Bacon and Keso de Bola sandwich (served with kamote chips); and desserts including Kesong Puti Cheesecake, Chocnut Cake and Ube Pandan Cake.
Let’s start with the main dishes that we ordered.
The bacon and keso de bola sandwich served with kamote chips. The taste was just right – its saltiness was not overpowering to the taste buds.
This is the creamy carbonara which you’ll like because its pasta is firm and not soggy and the garlic bread was soft and chewy. The white sauce is also very creamy.
This is the adobo slider sandwich. The adobo flakes saltiness was complimented by the tomato and pesto ingredients that’s in the sandwich.
And because nothing says capping off a hearty meal than desserts, we ordered two kinds of cakes.
This is the yema cake and it’s good to pair this with the salted caramel latte. You probably think that because yema is already sweet, you might experience umay after awhile but the cheesecake balances out the flavor so that there’s none of that.
This is the chocnut cake. Upon first bite, you’ll really taste the chocnut flavor of the cake and it guises its flavor in its modest form. For a richer flavor, pair it with their chocnut coffee drink.
As mentioned earlier, this is a coffee shop cum gallery so inside the coffee shop, you’ll find that the walls are decorated with different local artists’ masterpieces. Each artwork is featured in the cafe for a period of six to eight weeks and they’re not just random artworks. There’s always a theme in the Laya walls. When we went there, the story was all about freedom. Some of the artworks are also for sale so if you feel like investing in an art piece, you know what to do.
Want to join in on the artistic fun? You can create your very own artwork and have it displayed on the freedom walls.
Choose your artistic tool and let out the inner artist in you.
Cafe Laya owners’ love for local products goes beyond food and drinks. Even the furniture in the cafe are made by local craftsmen like chairs and tables and iconic caged lights by Silya, Eletrika, atbp, a group of artists that make use of reclaimed and repurposed treated wood and steel to make unique art pieces. The coffee shop’s floor poufs covers on their mezzanines are by ANTHILL, a cultural and social enterprise that gives Filipino weaving communities the chance to preserve and promote fabric traditions through giving them a contemporary feel and making them accessible to all. Other outstanding pieces inside Cafe Laya are courtesy of Archinections, Junk Not!, recycled steel drums and small local furniture stores.
And because Cafe Laya aims to be a place where people can pursue their passions in life, Saturdays in the cafe is dedicated to learning something new. Regular passion workshops are hosted by the cafe and if you complete five out of nine consecutive sessions, you’ll get to attend a free one for you and your friend who can also commit to finishing another five workshops. They call it #PassionForward, a cycle of discovering and sharing.
Open Monday – Saturday
10:00am to 11:00pm
EGI Taft Tower, Malate, Manila (net to DLSU)
Get in touch:
Tel. No. 02 554 55 34