The Craft Central's Newest Branch Isn't Just for the Artsy Anymore
Foodies, their latest store at Ayala Malls Vertis North also has a café!
The Craft Central Café
2/F Ayala Malls Vertis North, North Avenue, Quezon City
Open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday to Thursday) and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) Homemade inks, calligraphy pens and nibs, and handcrafted novelties like pallet coasters and bike-chain lamps fill up the shelves of The Craft Central. The store recently opened its third branch at Ayala Malls Vertis North—an outpost much bigger than its predecessors—offering something you won't normally see in arts-and-crafts shops: Food and coffee.
The new café-slash-art shop, called Craft Central Café, wants customers to linger, instead of just buying something and leaving the store. Monique Ventura, co-owner of Craft Central, says people are sometimes prone to just grabbing arts and crafts items and tossing them aside once they get home. "Our goal is to provide crafters with a place for them to work in or learn a new hobby," she says. "They can buy the materials in our store, then order food and drinks while they work on it in the café."
It's a concept that Monique and her sister, Alexis, have wanted to execute since they opened their first brick-and-mortar store in 2016. Having a bigger store gives them space not only for dining, but for workshops and other events, too. They want The Craft Central Café to be flexible for future plans (like a monthly Craft Buffet where visitors can learn a new hobby such as scent-making, polymer clay art, and more), and be an inviting café where people can have a quiet drink in.
As a café that encourages artists and artisans, it was only fitting that Craft Central Café applied a similar creative approach to the food they serve. With a kitchen headed by Chef Geremy Kho, you can expect that most of the café’s dishes are made from scratch—from the sweet potato fries that go with every sandwich, to dressings such as the garlic aioli and pesto mayonnaise.
Three-Cheese Spinach Dip with Toasted Baguettes
The Three-Cheese Spinach Dip with Toasted Baguettes (P240) are the perfect starter. The dip is a rich blend of melted cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan, with spinach leaves adding a dash of freshness to its overall flavor. The thick, gooey texture of the cheese goes well with the crunchy crostinis, with edges toasted to a light brown.
Spicy Shrimp Slaw
The menu has a lot of open-faced sandwiches and flatbreads, which are good for customers who want to munch on snacks after browsing through the store’s items. The Spicy Shrimp Slaw Sandwich (P250/single, P300/double) is as tasty as it is pretty. The kani strips, resting on a bed of green and red cabbage, are coated in spicy mayo for a slight kick. Plus, a piece of grilled shrimp is perched atop this colorful serving of veggies and crabsticks.
Garlic Cheese Steak Sandwich
If you’re craving a heavier meal, you should try the Garlic Cheese Steak Sandwich (P260/single, P340/double). The bread holds mounds of beef slivers slathered with garlic aioli and mustard mayo, then blanketed with melted cheese. As if the deluge of flavors isn't strong enough, garlic flakes are sprinkled on top. Beneath these toppings is a nest of napa cabbage and an onion ring, completing the burst of flavors and textures with every bite.
Pesto Vegetable Sandwich
The counterpart of that meat-heavy sandwich is the Pesto Vegetable Sandwich (P235/single, P310/double). The pile of zucchini, aubergine, tomato, and mushroom slices suggests nothing but freshness, with a layer of pesto mayo adding to the already earthy flavor. Simply put, it's a small garden you can bite into.
Good Tapa Flat Bread
Three kinds of flatbreads are on the menu, too, with the Good Tapa Flat Bread (P320) as the standout. Napa cabbage, pickled carrots, caramelized onions, and a runny egg yolk on top complete the dish. The flat bread is sliced into eight pieces, and you're sure to pick up the leftover morsels of savory tapa on your plate once you've consumed each slice.
Their milkshakes come in your all-time favorite flavors, too.
A lineup of milkshakes also help wash down the delightful flavors of The Craft Central Café's dishes. Coming in flavors of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and cookies and cream, each shake dazzles with their colorful appearance, like peacocks enticing you to take a sip. For that jolt of caffeine, handcrafted coffee by Black Press PH should more than satiate your hankering.
"We think it's a perfect setup because it's a great feeling to be surrounded by art when you eat," says Chef Geremy. It makes sense, but making art then having a cup of coffee or a bite to eat is more fulfilling, which you can do over and over again in this setting.
Photos by Marikit Singson