Second Floor, Greenhills Promenade Mall,
Greenhills, San Juan
Tel. No. 919-0519
Open from 11 a.m. to 12 midnight daily
Try Cafe Publico’s funky flavored gelato like Thai Tea, Black Samurai, and Peanut Butter and Jelly. Click for more.
(SPOT.ph) It is not quite summer yet but the promise of sweltering afternoons and warm summer evenings ahead already have us thinking about the ultimate summer indulgence: a rich, dense, and intensely flavored cup or cone of our favorite gelato.
On the second floor of the Greenhills Promenade Mall, with its paint barely dry, is the newly opened Café Publico which serves up some of the most innovative and unique flavors of gelato to be found in the city. Borne of owner Peter Chua's passion for rustic travelling, this new café and gelateria has the feel of a charming Italian courtyard and is the perfect spot for a cozy tete-a-tete. "We wanted to create a place that had something for everyone," explains Chua. "During my travels to Europe, I always found myself wandering into towns with quaint piazzas littered with small cafes. There was always a gelateria for the kids, good coffee for wayward tourists, beer and wine for the locals, and simple meals for everyone."
To ensure the best and freshest product possible, all gelato is made in-house. "Making the gelato ourselves gives me so much freedom in creating flavors that no one else has. My team is constantly on the look-out for ingredients and inspirations for new concoctions; we now have almost 30 flavors in [our] rotation." Crowd favorites include the refreshing and sometimes funky flavors of Black Samurai made from green tea and black sesame, Toothpaste made with a peppermint infusion, and the Thai Tea. Also refreshing and comforting are the Peach Walnut Pie and the Peanut Butter and Jelly, and the Dark Chocolate Orange-all of which are smooth, creamy, not overly sweet (all flavors are priced the same: P105, small; P160, medium; and P210, large).
Also available is a selection of gelato concoctions that includes the highly popular Affogato (P180), a shot of espresso with vanilla gelato, and the Mexican Bandit (P250), affogato with a shot of Patron XO, and the Guiness Beer Vanilla Float (P250). Another best-seller is the Cookie Gelato Sandwich and is a favorite among kids. This ice cream-cookie sandwich can be served as a half (P150) or full sandwich (P180). The growing cafe menu includes a variety of pastas, open-faced sandwiches with lengua (P325) or chicken pot pie, (P285) and crisps and dips like the pork sisig pate (P280). For those looking to unwind, they also serve beer and wine by the glass.
The restaurant's interiors are a study in European kitsch and whimsy with a touch of Philippine eccentricity. Under a mural of blue skies, havana-esque ceiling fans and a string of capiz lanterns, you will find a charming fountain next to a large communal table made from a single slab of acacia wood. On it lies a range of board games for guests to enjoy. While customers request multiple spoon tastings of gelato over a counter made from an old-fashioned "sorbetero" cart and stacked wooden wine crates, others sit around the popular chess table with its oversized wooden pieces.
"There’s something sentimental about watching a father mentoring his son during a chess match, while another group of friends are heavily involved in a board game or pick-up-sticks at the next table," says Chua. "One thing we are very keen on fostering is bonding time among friends and families, we want Café Publico to be much more than just a place to get good gelato."
Photos by Jed Uy