Life's a beach with coffee, surfboards, and croissants at Tenant Manila
It's all about having a good time.
9639 Kamagong Street, Makati City
Open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Tuesday to Saturday) and from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) Stepping into the two-floor Tenant Manila is like entering a peaceful space conducive for chilling out. The soothing, stark interiors of the shop-cum-café is a calming contrast to the tumult beyond its doors, while the relaxing strains from the speakers complement the quiet efficiency of the establishment’s staff. It’s curious how the laid-back vibe invites customers to talk in respectful, hushed tones, even when squealing in glee at the sight of a rare find or exclaiming in delight at the flakiness of the croissant. It’s exactly this kind of environment that makes it perfect for those in search of a moment’s respite from the city’s clamor.
“It’s somewhere quiet where you can work. Or maybe at night, a place where you can hang out with a bunch of friends. It’s a place of peace and quiet and just kind of unobtrusive service,” says Anton Lopez, who, along with John Esguerra and Mike Te, owns Tenant Manila.
Shop manager Julia Velasquez agrees. “This is usually filled with students. Recently, it has become a workplace, maybe also because of how we curate our playlist. All the little elements come together and build a conducive place for work.”
While the ground floor is comfortable and cozy, upstairs is a revelation: A yawning space in the center surrounded by a big couch in one corner, custom-made surfboards resting on a wall, and racks filled with premium brands like Saturdays, Mollusk, Hillside, Engineered Garments, and Quality People in the peripheries. Shoes, books, ceramics, and even plants complement the laidback vibe, making the collision of fashion and surf culture an interesting backdrop to events such as film screenings, book launches, bridal showers, and birthday parties.
If scouring the shop’s racks got you hankering for a cold, fizzy drink, a comforting cup of coffee, or an alcoholic brew, Tenant Manila’s got you covered.
Blood Orange Soda
They concoct their own sodas, and it makes a refreshing change from the usual brands. The citrusy Blood Orange Soda (P100) will treat you to an invigorating gulp, while we bet the surprisingly sweet yet tangy Passionfruit Soda (P100) will become an instant favorite.
Spicy Tuna Sandwich
Pair them with the Spicy Tuna Sandwich (P250), with its combo of tuna, mayonnaise, romaine lettuce, tomato, and baguette bread to make it a filling meal, or pick the BLT (P250) and its sinfully good bacon to round out the deal.
Need a pick-me-up? Tenant Manila has partnered up with Plain Sight Coffee Roasters to deliver a thick and foamy Latte (P120) and a Flat White (P140) that will have you smacking your lips.
Pan Au Chocolat
Chocolate Brownie Cake
Enjoy the caffeine jolt with a Plain Croissant (P100) that will catch you off guard with its wonderfully flaky and buttery dough. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a Pain Au Chocolat (P120) or a crusty, caramel-coated, chewy-on-the-outside-but-crisp-on-the-inside Kouign Amann (P120). Or try the Chocolate Brownie Cake (P120); you’ll find it both light and dense somehow—think Japanese-cake fluffy.
Cap off the day with a cocktail. Tenant Manila has a great range to choose from: Hendrick’s Gin & Tonic (P250); Reyka Vodka & Soda (P220); Old Fashioned with Monkey Shoulder Whiskey (P220). Or you can wind down with a glass of their house wines, 2013 Lamadoro Primitivo Puglia (P200) and 2014 Camas Sauvignon Blanc (P200). Why not choose to nurse a bottle of Inedit Beer (P150)? Just in case you didn’t know, it’s crafted by Michelin-starred chef Ferran Adria.
“All our food is made by a Japanese chef. Everything including the bread is made for us, and made fresh. We don’t have a big menu, but we put a lot of thought into the things that we do have,” Anton explains. He adds, “The concept for the café is to deliver an experience that’s similar to the type of products that we sell. So that’s premium, clean, kind of healthy but without sacrificing a good experience. We just want delicious food and drinks, and a well-designed and thoughtful environment to spend time in.” And for sure, good times and cool experiences are what you’re bound to have at Tenant Manila.
Photos by Ian Santos