CHECK IT OUT: Da.u.de Tea Lounge at Bonifacio Global City
This new hangout is just our cup of tea.
Da.u.de Tea Lounge
4th Avenue and 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Tel. No. 478-3579
Open Mondays to Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 12 midnight; Fridays to Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sundays, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Do you ever have those days when you just want to drop everything and fly off to a place where you can pretend that deadlines don't exist? We do. So we're always happy to find new, still-quiet, not quite discovered places in Manila that make us feel like we've escaped to a different city in a different country-without having to produce a passport.
Da.u.de (pronounced da-you-deh) is one such find. The tea lounge has the advantage of being located in an area of Bonifacio Global City that remains a sort of secret; its discovery dependent upon word of mouth. Not that Da.u.de's exteriors wouldn't entice you to take a break from a frenzied day to drink some tea and just watch people walk past: simple white arches frame the lounge's elegant black-and-white décor, offering a glimpse of shelves stacked with an assortment of tea leaves and brightly colored canisters of their unique tea concoctions.
The tea blends are created by Da.u.de's managing director, Renee Sebastian, whose description of herself as a couture tea blender is spot-on. She recently moved back to Manila from New York and opened Da.u.de as a place that would encourage people to eat, dine, and drink. "It's very common in New York, and we wanted to bring that culture here," she explains.
So Da.u.de sets itself apart from the dime-a-dozen milk tea places in the city with drinks that are the product of an artisanal approach to making tea, involving the careful selection of full-leaf organic teas and expert hand-blending. We love their Coffee Alternatives-drinks that look, smell, and taste like coffee, but are actually made from tea, so they won't give you that relentless caffeine kick. Curious? Try the Coffee Almond Macchiato (P140 for a cold 16 oz. serving), which has an addictively subtle sweetness from homemade organic caramel. The Lemon Thirst Quencher (P120 for the 16 oz. serving), meanwhile, is a pleasantly sugary concoction of Lemonada couture tea with a suprise pandanus jelly disc at the bottom. For a more classic approach, try the Pink Chai Iced Tea (P 200 for the 16 oz. serving). The chai tea gives the drink a flowery punch that just keeps you sipping.
While it's dubbed a tea lounge, the food, with nearly everything on the menu infused with tea, is not to be missed. The Vegetable Carpaccio (P280) with tea-marinated roasted vegetables is a great way to start: the zucchini, eggplant, peppers, carrots, and tomatoes offer a satisfying crunch along with a freshness and tantalizing smokiness from the grill. The High Tea (P1,400 for two; P500 for each additional person) features crackers with Da.u.de's own tea-infused marmalade and citrusy-sweet lemon curd, along with a choice among their sandwiches and desserts. The Crisp Pork Banh Mi (P340 as a separate sandwich) is an unforgettable combination of crunchy, perfectly tasty pork made slightly sweet and spicy with sili jam. Try something light, too, like the Skala Tomato Soup (P160), a tangy creamy blend of Italian tomatoes, Skala tea, and herbs; it’s rich but remarkably easy on the belly so you’ll have room for dessert. Don't miss out on the Apfelstrudel (P200), with a fresh apple filling enveloped in a light, flaky crust, and the mini-macarons (P80 for a duo)-we especially liked the Kape, with its nutty, chocolaty coffee flavor.
Post tea-time, you can sit back with a drink from Da.u.de's Spiked teas-we're partial to the Manila Mojitea (P195). The signature Mangga rhum tea with cucumbers and mint is a refreshing cocktail you'd want to drink all in one go, if you didn't want to savor each sip at the same time.
We admit: we're tempted to keep this hangout-friendly haunt a secret. But aren't the best secrets the ones you can't wait to share?
Photos by Carla de Guzman