New Restaurant Alert: Olivia's Concept Cafe at Katipunan, Quezon City
Reinvented favorites take centerstage at this brand-new student hangout.
Olivia’s Concept Café
Unit 102, Blue Residences, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Sometimes, the best ideas are born on a whim, the ones taken lightly on the onset but somehow snowball into something bigger along the way. This was the case for one of Katipunan’s newest nooks, Olivia’s Concept Café.
“The [idea of putting up a] café started as a joke,” shares Maria Olivia “Mariol” Acero, vice president for operations.“I didn’t think my parents were serious.” It seemed so far-fetched at the time that Mariol shrugged it off initially.
An easy breezy escape
Mariol was an entrepreneur and culinary student at Miriam College when she joined the bandwagon and toyed with the thought of running a business that would showcase her expertise. It was only after a successful culinary simulation for a final school requirement that Mariol gained the confidence to finally decide on setting up her own café.
“Everything about it is [a product of] collaboration,” Mariol says of her concept café. “From the method of cooking, to the dishes, to the interiors...everything is a shared concept. Everyone involved is free to contribute their ideas.” True enough, Mariol sought the assistance of her college professor for the menu design. The implementation of each dish, meanwhile, is the result of several experiments with the kitchen crew, who happen to be culinary students on their internship.
“We offer the best of everything. These are classics with a twist,” Mariol says. “Since we cater to students mainly, we don't want to veer [too far away] from the familiar.” As such, items on the menu incorporate all-time favorites that students can snack on as they come in to study or hang out.
Tex-Mex thin-crust pizza
The Sriracha Glazed Ribs (P215), tender pork ribs glazed in a special Sriracha sauce and served with herbed rice, are a crowd favorite. Another bestselling main course is the Sesame Soy Pork Steak (P195), pork seasoned in sesame soy sauce and topped with caramelized onions.
Other alternatives for rice eaters include their all-day breakfast offerings, which are all served with herbed rice and egg: Homemade Sausage (P168), herbed pork liempo sausages; Tocino Style Liempo (P165), country style pork belly prepped tocino-style; and Milkfish Al Ajillo (P189), their take on the classic daing na bangus sautéed in garlic.
Sriracha Glazed Ribs
Those into lighter snacks can opt for any of their panini varieties: Home Cured Bacon (P170), Cajun Chicken (P170), and Chunky Tuna Melt (P180). Olivia’s also has an impressive collection of herbed thin-crust pizzas, the most recommended of which is the Tex Mex (P305), a savory bed consisting of tomato sauce, homemade sausage, three types of cheese, romaine lettuce, mango salsa, and nacho chips. For those who appreciate a good, spicy kick in each bite, the Dynamite (P300) is a brave option. It contains green chili slivers, three types of cheese, nacho chips, and béchamel sauce.
Set Menu: Olivia's Salad, Shrimp Arabiatta, Chocolate Truffle, and Passion Fruit Iced Tea
For guests who want to enjoy the best of everything, Olivia’s very recently came out with the Set Menu (P269), a plated dish featuring a salad (Olivia’s or California), pasta (Grilled Chicken Walnut Pesto, Pasta Tapenade, Shiitake Truffle, or Shrimp Arabbiata), a sweet treat (varies daily), and a brewed loose tea of your choice (Green Apple, Singapore Sling, Pink Grapefruit, or Passion Fruit).
Olivia’s is slowly joining the ranks of other cafés in Katipunan that cater to students’ coffee runs. If you are into sweet caffeinated drinks, Olivia’s collection is an obvious go. Headlining their lineup are the Nutella Macadamia Frappe (P168) and Italian Dolce Macchiato (P105). Other varieties include the White Chocolate Matcha Frappe (P175), Dulce de Leche Praline Frappe (P183), White Macadamia Latte (P110), and Nutella Praline (P115).
Nutella Macadamia Frappe
Italian Dolce Macchiato
But all these are just a fraction of what Olivia’s has in store for its crowd. Mariol says, “In the coming months, we’re hoping to invite poetry and music acts to come to perform. We plan to retain the café [format] in the morning, then [transform it into] a venue for artists to perform in the evening.” How can you go wrong with the winning combination of comfort food, coffee, and some art?
Photos by Hans Fausto