After a long day’s work, I and a couple of friends decided to walk along Malugay St., hoping to find a great place to eat, chill out and chit-chat in. We saw some JT’s Manukan, ate dinner there, left because of the noise, and later on learned the restaurant is actually owned by Joel Torre.
But the greatest discovery we had that evening wasn’t that the veteran actor is in the food service industry. It was the fact that there exists a zoo-themed Korean café just meters away from the famed RCBC building – that is, the Zoo Coffee.
Fronting the façade of Alphaland Makati Place, Zoo Coffee easily caught our attention. On its porch stood a 12-foot giraffe (not a real one, of course), seemingly inviting us to come closer and see the rest of the animal kingdom.
From where I was standing, I surveyed the café with curious eyes and saw some other adorable creatures on display ranging from hanging chimpanzees, curling snakes, and sitting pandas, to name a few. I looked at my friends and uttered, “I think we found a place” – although what I wanted to tell them was actually, “I think I found your habitat.”
Like dogs walking toward their kennels, we went inside the coffeeshop. When I swung the door open, I started to get the feel of the Korean-ness of the place brought about by the K-pop song playing in the background. I couldn’t comprehend the lyrics, more so the Korean characters scribbled on the menu screen by the counter.
Not surprisingly, there were a few Koreans at a table. I expected they were regular customers, considering the café is a legit Korean brand. The first Zoo Coffee was established in South Korea. And currently, there are just three branches of the coffeeshop brand here in the Philippines: this one in Makati, one in SM Megamall, and another in Vertis North.
More Than Just a Coffeeshop
Just as I thought the café serves only hot/cold beverages and some pastries, I thought wrong. They also serve gelato in various flavors – chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, green tea, mango, and their best-seller, salted caramel.
I learned I was in for more surprises. They also have bingsu, a Korean dessert made with shaved ice topped with sweet ingredients like chopped fruits. The flavors were green tea, red bean, mango, and the customer-favorite double berry. Just for a price of not more than Php300, you and your two other friends can enjoy one order of bingsu because why not? The dessert is served in a stout 6-inch glass which my friend called “the tall bowl.”
What I wanted to taste, though, was their version of mocha, a blend of coffee and chocolate. I have always been a lover of both coffee and chocolate. Whatever chance I get to have them both in my stomach, I seize. And when I took my first sip of Zoo Coffee’s hot Café Mocha, I knew I would come back for more! It was the best mocha I’ve ever tasted. And what? Just for the price of Php165!
I also enjoyed the Chocolate Revel Bar which cost me only Php60, though I never really enjoyed the thought of my blood sugar level going high after eating.
Looking around, I felt the experience was made even more worthwhile by the ambiance. The temperature was cool enough to make me sip my hot drink with delight. The interior design was thematic and easy on the eyes, making me want to stay longer. And the background music was soft enough to allow us to get invested into the discussion we were having.
It also made me glad that Zoo Coffee wasn’t like Starbucks that’s always fully booked, at least that time. There was less noise – perfect for us who wanted no distractions.
I must say the place is one I highly recommend to those who want to delight in cute stuff, chill out with friends or chill out alone, and get caffeinated all in one.
I don’t know about you, but if you ask if I want to go back to Zoo Coffee? Yes, I do!
G/F Alphaland Makati Place, Ayala Ave. Extension, Corner Malugay St., 1209 Makati City
Monday to Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Have you already visited Zoo Coffee? Share us your story by commenting below.