2/F Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Asean Avenue corner Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard,
Aseana City, Parañaque City
(SPOT.ph) Sometimes, a single e-mail can change everything. Don’t believe us? Then shift your attention to the first-ever Manila branch of am.pm, the Hong Kong food stall that’s been circulating online thanks to their ‘grammable jiggly soufflé pancakes. Born of a single e-mail from two hopeful cousins to am.pm Hong Kong, the local branch opens at the brand-new Ayala Malls Manila Bay on October 26—and promises a real good time for Metro Manila.
"We really liked the concept, the entire brand, and what they stood for," says Bea Ng about am.pm Hong Kong. She and her cousin, Yanyan Ng, are responsible for reaching out to the original Hong Kong branch and bringing them over—soufflé pancakes and fun street vibe included. Yanyan, who had seen the viral posts of the soufflé pancakes, sent an e-mail over to owners Roze Liu and Ray Lee, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Nothing’s more disappointing than food that doesn’t taste as good as it looks (here’s looking at you, social media tactics) but am.pm’s signature ‘gram hit doesn’t leave you hanging. Case in point: the am.pm Crème Brulee (P210). Soft soufflé pancakes are topped with a rich caramel sauce, which is then torched to give off a nutty, smoky taste. Each tender bite mixes with the caramel crunch, with an added citrusy hit for a refreshing note.
Nothing beats going back to the classics, as am.pm proves with their Original (P145) soufflé pancakes. The two palm-sized, extra fluffy and jiggly soufflés are the absolute stars of this dish—perfectly light with a warm and eggy taste that’ll leave you finishing up the entire thing in no time. They add a dollop of whipped cream and a light drizzle of chocolate syrup to brighten up the taste.
For something more on the sweet side, the Mixed Berries (P180) will please every kid of any age. The soufflé pancakes are covered with a sweet but not cloying yet tart cream sauce. And because people can’t seem to get enough of milk tea, am.pm also serves up Pearl Milk Tea (P210), which comes with a milk-tea cream sauce that tastes just like the real thing. Plus, there’s a Black Sugar Premium Milk (P210) version which is on the milkier side but is balanced by the black-sugar syrup. Both variants come with a generous serving of black pearls for an added layer of texture with every bite.
As a local tribute of sorts, the am.pm Manila branch has developed the Ube (P180) soufflé pancakes—yes, it’s only available here! Smooth, mild ube cream is slathered on top of the warm pancakes then covered with a generous sprinkling of coconut flakes for a taste of home. "We’re looking to come up with new local flavors every few months," says Bea, who explained that they went with ube first because, well, why not?
If you want to up the ante even more, then taste their Lava Pudding Soufflé Pancakes —which is yes, exactly what it sounds like: soufflé pancakes with a sort of solid chocolate donut on top to catch all the creamy sauce. The White Chocolate (P210) lava pudding is practically bursting with the silky smooth white chocolate, complete with extra-sweet chocolate garnishing. For something on the darker side, both in taste and looks, the Dark Chocolate (P210) absolutely drenches the soufflé pancakes with a thick, almost bitter, cocoa cream sauce.
You can also order any of their pancakes with a side of soft serve, because you can never have enough of a good thing. Choose between Vanilla Milk (P50) or everyone’s local fave, Ube (P50). You can also order either flavor—or both in a single twirl— for P110.
am.pm certainly hasn’t forgotten the drinks—and they’re just as special as the soufflés. The Cloud Smoothies line serves up a lighter, more bubbly take on the classic thick smoothies usually found elsewhere. They’re made sans ice cream; instead, the cup is dotted with their special am.pm housemade cream—which uses ingredients specific to the Manila branch—before being filled up with the icy concoction of your choice.
The Japanese Soda (P135) has none of the fizz but, somehow, all of the fun. It has an almost bubblegum-like taste that balances out with the cream. The Lychee Rose (P135) has a soft and muted rosy flavor smoothly mixed with a refreshing hit from the lychee. For another fruity pick, the Mango Cream (P135) tastes more like the mango candies you used to munch on as a kid for a bit of nostalgia, but leveled up with a bit of the cream.
The Coconut Milk (P145) is probably nothing like you’ve ever seen done to a coconut before—and Filipinos are pretty creative with this fruit. am.pm blends fresh coconut juice with ice and a couple secret ingredients before serving it right back in its shell, which has the am.pm logo marked right on it.
“We don’t want to be just a ‘hype’ restaurant,” explains Yanyan. am.pm is a type of restaurant that could have only been made in today’s fast-paced environment—from its origins as a takeout concept that serves delicious food whether ante or post meridiem—but it also stands apart. Their “Good Food Mood” has become more than just a quick fad in the online world, and with the Ngs’ plans of continuously reinventing their menu and partnering up with anybody who sees what they see, these soufflé pancakes are here to stay.
Photos by Majoy Siason