Dessert Comes First

An obsession with dessert and other unabashed opinions of a food writer

Magnum White King
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Breakfast At The Bistro

posted by in Cafés, Restaurants

At first glance, the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) on 26th Street at the Fort looks just like any of its other stores, save for its sprawling size. But even upon cursory inspection, whether one be sitting in a car in traffic right outside or casually strolling by, the store’s interior design is cause for pause. It’s because of its massive glass windows you see, which span its frontage and make for easy gawking, just like Wildflour, and we all know Wildflour.

I’m here just for a coffee, as per my Sunday ritual, and am on my way to the counter to order when I get stopped by a server.

“Table for how many, ma’am?” is the question.

“Are you serious?” The words are out of my mouth before I know it. Don’t mean to be rude but I’m stupefied. The server smiles benevolently. She’s obviously been through this rigmarole before. “Yes ma’am, we’re a bistro and we’ll bring your order to you.”

(!)

CBTL Bistro ~  (1)

CBTL Bistro ~  (2)

Wide-eyed and with my jaw to the floor, my Bin takes my arm and leads me to a table, plopping himself down happily in a chair. He’s very much into interior design and is absorbing the store’s aesthetics. Truly arresting in its wood accents done in a palette of browns, a fabricated metal ceiling with a floral motif mimicked by the ceiling fans’ design, and a very slick coffee counter, it’s a mesh of modern and rustic. I, for one, can’t get over the place settings complete with sophisticated tableware. And these tables and chairs, I want to buy a set and bring one home!

CBTL Bistro ~  (3)

CBTL Bistro ~  (4)

I’m obviously still in shock when they hand the menus over and I ask for both an Americano and a Caramel Macchiato. (I desperately need something sharp and sweet). Then I’m told that only a single size is served at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Bistro, the 12-ouncer, a far cry from my wimpy 8-ounce daily coffee habit. But I order both anyway.

CBTL Bistro ~  (5)

All the photos you see here are taken with my phone. The plan was to just dash in and get coffee so no point and shoot was planned. Or brought along. The coffees arrive in their familiar CBTL-emblazoned vessels, together with a graceful ceramic “boat” holding milk.

This Bistro is the first of its kind for CBTL in the country, closely following a similar concept in Singapore. A second Bistro is opening soon at the Shangri-La Mall in Ortigas. The menu states that the bistro idea spins off from their “… heritage of innovation and impeccable standards … a gustatory experience you won’t normally get in a[n] everyday atmosphere. Call it elevated casual cuisine. Call it your new foodie haven.” Nicely put.

There’s a full-fledged brekkie menu (P225-P395) consisting of Yogurt & Granola; French Toasts (Stuffed or Classic); Croque Madame; Eggs Ben; Steak & Eggs; and Filipino –silog breakfasts. Main entrees for other times of the day include everything from soups, salads, sandwiches like Portobello Mushroom on Ciabatta, to heavier mains (P335-P525) like Hanging Tender Steak with Potato Gratin & Marsala, Chicken Pot Pie, and Pesto Fusilli with Toasted Pine Nuts.

CBTL Bistro ~  (6)

CBTL Bistro ~  (7)

You’ll forgive me that I only order the Rum Caramel with Toasted Pecan Pancakes. It’s just one of the five pancake selections on offer, aside from the equally scintillating sounding Toblerone with Salted Caramel or Blueberry Pistachio. I’m still shell-shocked from this bistro discovery and even more so once my order arrives. “Floored” and “stupefied” are looking to be the words of my day but add “astounded” once this plate of pancakes is presented. Pancakes are my benchmark for a good breakfast place worth waking up for, and these are about six inches each in diameter and a good inch-thick. Massive and marvelous and capable of feeding three (easily!) able-bodied breakfast lovers, I love and tumble into them. Each cut of my knife sends up steams of complaint from the cakes, each forkful into the mouth is thick and heavy, but not unappealingly so. These are macho pancakes for men, and women like me with manly appetites.

CBTL Bistro ~  (8)
Caramel syrup + pancake syrup = luscious drips
CBTL Bistro ~  (10)
Coffee bar. Note the wine glasses. Yes, they serve wine here.

One day soon, maybe next week, I’ll come back here and I’ll be ready. With my camera. Shaken out of my stunned state, I’m going to storm in and make this my weekly breakfast place. What an engaging environment with laudable service. For now, Maple is forgotten and Early Bird Breakfast Club (been there twice already) will stay on my back burner.

CBTL Bistro ~  (9)
My leftover breakfast pancakes for dinner later.

~

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 26th St Bistro
G/F Net Lima Building, 5th Avenue corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig (It’s across the Mini Cooper showroom and is in the same building as Wildflour).
From 7-10am, a free 12-ounce cup of coffee comes with all brekkie items.

18 Responses to “Breakfast At The Bistro”

  • That’s it…you got me hooked again….this is definitely not going to go unnoticed… am going there this weekend..Thanks Lorie!

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  • Another reason to love CBTL! Thanks for this, Lori. Will definitely check this out soon!

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  • I love their Chilled Spicy Chicken Pasta Salad! I always go back for this everytime. Would love to visit their new location.

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  • Always driving by this HUGE branch and ignoring it (brother used to work for CBTL and it wasn’t pleasant) BUT I do love their stuff and keep coming back anyway.

    So, its Sunday brunch at CBTL on the 26th then! ;-)

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  • yum!! gotta love breakfast food. what’s good in early bird breakfast club?

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    Lori Reply:

    cris l. -
    At Early Bird Breakfast Club, I’d only recommend the Pancakes and Champorado.

    –lori

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  • I felt exactly the same the first time I stepped into this branch. I was also floored by the glass windows. Outside looking in or inside looking out – perfect for people watching.

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  • i’m always looking for new breakfast joints. i’ve always liked CBTL’s breakfasts. and those pancakes look awesome. this will be next on my list.

    thanks for sharing, lori! :)

    by the way, the link for Maple (last paragraph) needs to be changed. it leads to your bull’s eye cheesecake recipe.

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    Lori Reply:

    Thanks, RJ! Will edit link. Also, the “weave” on the crust is because of the pan I used.

    –lori

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  • I work just a couple of buildings away from CBTL Bistro — do let me know when you’re next in the area! :-)

    I had the exact same reaction as you when I first walked in there. My friend who I was having lunch with suggested it because she was in a hurry and didn’t have time to go far. I was disappointed at first, since I was new to the area and wanted to try something I hadn’t before. When my friend picked a table and sat down instead of going to the counter, and when I saw the menu, I was both bemused and amused…not to mention, excited! Predictably, I couldn’t decide what to order; you know I love breakfast food as much as you do. In the end, I got the Eggs Ben and the same pancakes that you did for dessert. And yes, except for a few bites that I left more because we had to leave than being too full, I finished it all. :-D

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  • I have to say, though, that I found their pancakes TOO thick. I prefer them either the thinner sort, with brown, crispy edges, or, if thick, no more than the type in Pancake House. I like being able to fold it up on my fork and eat each pancake in a jiffy, then reaching for the next one, just like I used to do at home as a kid. These towering, cake-like pancakes like in CBTL are too heavy for my taste. Though as I said, that didn’t stopp me from eating almost all of it! :-D

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  • my type of food! <3 the pancakes looks so delicious. *drooling* i bet that's worth all the calories. hihihi :D

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  • Hi Lori. I was so glad to have finally met you at the CBTL bistro on Saturday morning. My son and I had breakfast there because your post and pics about it were so inviting. I ordered the pistachio and blueberry pancakes and ordered chicken sausage on the side. Both pancakes and sausage were yummy. But I found the tall stack of pancakes over the top … in carbs. Hahaha.

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  • oooh cant wait to try it. thanks for the tip on malcolm’s pancakes btw.

    surprisingly after all the new places ive tried- the best pancakes i’ve had so far are at the filling station :)

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  • that pancake looks absolutely sinful!

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  • CBTL is one of regular breakfast places after church on Sundays. Too bad, their bistro is too out of the way. We’ll just settle with the regular CBTL. Their eggs ben are really good!

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