CHECK IT OUT: Marketplace by Rustan’s at Power Plant Mall, Makati City

A new high-end supermarket concept that offers indulgent finds like Angus beef, Ghirardelli chocolates, and Stonewall Kitchen

Marketplace by Rustan’s
Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City
Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday to Thursday); 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday); 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Saturday); 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sunday)



( It’s hard to get excited over a grocery store, but the bright white glow from the entrance of Marketplace casts a hypnotizing spell on passersby and compels them to have a look-see-at least. A fair warning is in order though: this is a store that will take your money. Not because of promotions offering sample products or persistent sales representives ready to spray you with the latest air freshener, but because everything looks so darn shiny, novel, and delicious.



Even the most persistent of carnivores would be hard-pressed not  to buy produce as fresh as these.


Rustan’s, together with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm Group which operates concept retail stores worldwide, has converted the former Rustan’s Fresh to Marketplace by Rustan’s, an upscale supermarket shopping concept that offers the same feel as shopping overseas. An enthusiastic Donnie Tantoco, president of Rustan’s Supercenters, Inc., describes the partnership as putting together Dairy Farm’s experience in operating in high-end formats with Rustan’s name and understanding of Filipino culture. He adds excitedly, "Things you used to purchase and hoard abroad, you can find them here now!"

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Gourmet deli


The Power Plant branch as the flagship was an obvious choice. "(It has) the premium positioning," says Tantoco, adding that Rockwell is number one in the Rustan’s Fresh chain. "Filipino shoppers are becoming more sophisticated, especially since they’ve seen what premium supermarkets abroad can offer (during) their travels."



"Store within a store"


The environmentally conscious space, designed by international retail artist Shozo Nitta, stores standard Rustan’s fare such as fresh meat and produce, and dairy essentials. Imported brands are housed in a "store within a store" setup where labels like Ghirardelli, Stonewall Kitchen, Tea Forte, along with other Rustan’s exclusives like Casino and Waitrose boast of their own section. Marketplace also paves the way for Rustan’s second attempt to sell Wagyu beef. "We didn’t know how to sell it the first time," says Tantoco, adding that they’ve been trained for such. A separate chamber carries a modest selection of wine that Tantoco admits is a work in progress. Around it are more sectioned off areas like Rosemarie’s and Vargas Kitchen, which features desserts; a boulangerie, and the second branch of the Happy Barn Milkshake Factory, co-owned by actress Jodi Sta. Maria.



The "modest" wine section


A small dining deck is surrounded by ready-to-eat stalls: carving stations feature mouthwatering legs of ham, roasts, blocks of cheeses, and serves them in delicious permutations; a fun pasta bar displays oodles of noodles; and a baked potato bar introduces curious diners to the potentials of this common starch. Just like the Wagyu, servers are taught how to specifically handle the food to adhere to a finer technical standard, says Tantoco.


To complete the picture, esteemed Parisian bakery Eric Kayser opened a much-awaited first branch near the entrance. Until Marketplace by Rustan’s, the nearest Kayser, a brand famous in Europe, was in Hong Kong.


A display of US-certified Angus beef


Despite the organized merchandise and the neat arrangement, takaw-tingin shoppers would find their heads spinning at the diverse selection made available by the Marketplace. Rows upon rows of shiny fresh produce and glistening meats; imported chocolates on full display. There’s even a candied dried-fruit section for those who crave a quasi-healthier snack. It’s hard to get excited about a grocery store. Then again, to say Power Plant Mall’s Marketplace is merely a grocery store would be an understatement.

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