FRNK Milk Bar
G/F Glorietta 3, Ayala Center, Makati City
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday to Thursday), and 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Friday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) There seems to be no light at the end of the milk-tea tunnel—if indeed there is an end. In spite of studies showing we probably shouldn’t be drinking as much of it as we do, we appear to be stuck in an infinite loop, fueled by the slogan, “I’m here for a good time, not a long time.” It would be disingenuous of us to disavow that, so no judgment here.
However (with a capital H), if you’re looking to switch it up and perhaps live to see your grandchildren, FRNK might be the answer.
This new Glorietta darling’s setup is like walking into a cartoon dream with their use of gentle colors and equally soft textures, as well as the vintage milk cans that line the statement wall. They’ve even got your 'gram covered—if you don’t want to make use of their marble-top tables, the mirrored photo nook off to the side might be more up your alley.
But it isn’t all style at FRNK; if anything, it only serves as a flashing neon sign that points towards the main substance, which consists of quality dairy and top-notch tea.
The Dirty Maccha (P95/small; P110/tall) tastes about as sinful as it sounds—you’ll have a hard time believing it’s not bad for you. Take what some of you already love about that full-bodied, aromatic, almost-acerbic substance called matcha and FRNK hands them back to you twice over with the more classic bittersweet taste of dark chocolate. Given that, it’s not at all rich or overwhelming.
This one is a little hard to explain, but allow us to try our best: The Midnight Ichigo (P100/small; P125/tall) kind of tastes like sneaking out to the beach at night. It sounds insane! We know! But it is what it is. It’s dark and almost savory-sweet because of strawberry and roasted Uji Kyoto green tea, and if you close your eyes and try hard enough, you might just feel the evening sea breeze and the sand between your toes.
In contrast, the Cinnamon Miruku (P110/small; P145/tall) is a bit more dessert-y, but this contains another contentious ingredient—cinnamon. The sweetness is a bit more straightforward, with a bit of bite from that aromatic bark to balance it out. To accurately narrow down this drink’s vibe—can drinks have vibes?—we’d say this one’s for everybody’s inner child. Or their actual child.
Along a similar vein, the Mochi Beri Chizu (P115/small; P145/tall) takes you back to the flavors of the smoothie craze of the late '90s and the awkward beginnings of the current millennium, minus the acne and the heartaches you’ll cringe about 10 years later. Strawberry milk and a cheese cap make this like strawberry cheesecake in a cup, so you can definitely add this to your list of Oddly Specific Cravings. But if you’re itching for real cake, the Chizu (P105/slice) and the Flourless Chocolate Cake (P85/slice) are your best friends. They are each perhaps one of the best iterations of those treats that one could possibly encounter in Metro Manila—though that does hinge heavily on what you’re looking for.
But let's go back to drinks as it only gets better from here: The Baked Purple Chizu (P115/small; P150/tall) is a brightly colored concoction that somehow tastes even better than it looks. Ube is a pretty reliable flavor when done right, so there’s no way this could flop. It’s sweet but far from sugary, making it a versatile mall snack. If you’re looking for something to chew, though, the Frozen Cereal Miruku (P150) is exactly what it says on the tin and everything you need to recreate that Saturday-morning-watching-cartoons feeling, right down to the cornflake cookie that comes with it.
So here comes the real question: What do you get when you come across some of the best tea that Japan has to offer with lovingly made in-house goodies? Frankly (or should we say, FRNK-ly) we think you should just fall in line because tasting is believing.
Photos by Vincent Coscolluela