Dessert Comes First

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

Magnum White King
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Coffee, Food, & A Little Something Extra

posted by in Cafés, Restaurants

This coffee shop serves something familiar, but only to those who know to ask for it.

I admit to feeling consternation and frankly, frustration at the lousy restaurant experiences I’ve been having lately. So, to get myself to an even keel again, I’ve been baking a lot, revisiting what I call my restaurant reliables, and regrouping in coffee shops.

Unlike restaurants, there’s a certain romance to be had in cafés and the fantasies they convey in cups of caffeine. That the air is alive with an alluring perfume is a plus of course, and so is the energy gained from inhaling it energetically.

Epic_interiors

Epic Café in Kapitolyo is introduced to me by one of my best friends, Zarah. Street smart and tough-as-nails, the woman knows her brew back and forth because she works in the coffee industry. She taught me how to drink my coffee black because she despises milky joes.

Epic-front

Epic_long-bench

From the get go, I’ll tell you now that whether Epic lives up to its name or not entirely depends on you and your definition of that word. When it opens late last year, I meet Epic’s PR manager and the daughter (I think) of the owners. The café’s superlative name is chosen, I’m told, because of its notable position in modern day colloquialism, right up there with ‘awesome’ and ‘hot.’ For me, I don’t see Epic as an adjective; it’s just its name.

Epic-telephone

More on the coffee later but for now, Epic’s interiors are highly engaging. Entering the glass door is like being transported to the intersection of wood and retro at the stop sign of brick. I love the look of these roughly finished materials and how they complement the seating set-up. A long bench takes up residence at the back facing a white wall scribbled – like the other walls are – with pithy sayings, mostly about bicycles and balance. And yes, there are about 2-3 bicycles on the premises, part of the owners’ collection, as are other memorabilia; look carefully and see what you can spot.

Epic_cheeky-signs

Epic-teakettle

My favorite accent pieces are on the far wall arrayed with cheeky signs and shelves of coffee merchandise for sale. Especially enviable is the top shelf above the baristas where an arrangement of copper tea kettles, siphon brewers, and antique coffee grinders are displayed.

Now, about the coffee. Half of Epic’s beans are sourced locally, quality stuff from Bukidnon to Benguet. The coffee menu (P80-P100) is small and armed with the basics, with a nod to an affogato since Epic also sells gelato, and matcha tea, a concession to non-java drinkers. The baristas move with an economy of movement and speech: there’s no pulling of shots with drama or flair, and orders are served at table sans the hyper-enthusiastic name-calling prevalent at other cafés.

Epic-pastries

Epic_black-coffee

When I’m at Epic with Zarah, we like to gab over cups of black coffee. Steamy and hot, it washes down our sweets quite well. The first few times I’m here, the pastries are, bluntly put, as dry as the desert and equally uninteresting. Zarah, who knows the people behind Epic, tells them, and I’m happy to report that the pastries have greatly improved. The Rhum Cake (P75), though not especially rummy, has a tight, buttery crumb perfect for dipping into coffee. The Farmer’s Muffin (P95) is tall and imposing, stuffed with all manner of dried fruit.

Epic_cover

When I come to Epic with my Bin, we order different things because he’s not a coffee drinker. The only way he’ll drink coffee is if it’s milked up and “mocha’ed.” So the Mochachino (P100/P120) it is for him, sweet and swirled lazily with chocolate syrup. My Cappuccino, though not served in the proper mug, has a velvety foam, more akin to a flat white but it fits me fine. I’ll go so far as to say that the coffee and food at Epic isn’t ‘epic,’ – what is, really? – but it’s sufficient and honestly offered.

Poco_at_Epic

Epic also has a special service that not many people know about. Because it’s owned by the same people as Poco Deli, you can eat the latter’s food at Epic. “Ahhh…” is the collective reaction to that revelation. Just ask for the menu – it really should be left out on the counter – and a telephone call quickly dispatches the orders. Give or take 15 minutes, and the food comes in through the front door brought by one of Poco Deli’s waiters. And isn’t that nice, the food is properly wrapped up to protect it from the elements. My Bin likes the Meat Loaf with Rice (above; P350) alternating it with the Thick Bacon with Rice. Zarah loves the Tapa with Rice, and I swoon for the Bolognese pasta, one of the best in Manila. Eat and enjoy it here at Epic.

~

Epic Café
102 East Capitol Drive
Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City
631.0057
Open daily.
On Facebook: coffeeisepic

Another Kapitolyo post:
Pop! Goes The Pandesal

10 Responses to “Coffee, Food, & A Little Something Extra”

  • Ahhh… yes. Cafes. :) On par with the typical Parisian bistro. Romantic and charming places that bring back fond emotions of carefree childhood days :)

    Oh, and English pubs, too. These are more for the blokes and their beers :D

    That thick bacon from Poco Deli is always fantastic. The other one that we loved was their pasta with truffle oil :)

    [Reply]

  • Oooh, this looks worth a visit to the Kapitolyo area! My boyfriend loves these cozy, hole-in-the-wall type of coffee shops. Last weekend he brought me to this coffee place in Quezon City near QC Sports Club (across the McDonald’s at the corner of Broadway and E. Rod). It used to be called Craft but they’re undergoing some changes so there’s currently no signboard over the door (just look for the spiral staircase in front). I really liked the vibe of the place, and the proprietors Peter and Ray really seem to know their stuff. I never take my coffee black (I know, I know), but they had me try a cup of their Ethiopian Red Cherry blend, and I enjoyed it without a single drop of milk or cream. I know how much you love your coffee Lori, so you might want to check it out. :)

    [Reply]

    Lori Reply:


    Hi Ailee-
    I’d visited Craft a few times before it became the current -cafe-without-a-name; although I’m told that it’s unofficial name is Cafe 66 since it’s at 66 Broadway. Whatever it may be, I love coffee shops. I hope you and your boyfriend can check out Commune also. And of course, Magnum Opus as well. Just click on the podcast link on the sidebar.

    [Reply]

    Ailee Reply:

    I did see your podcast featuring Magnum Opus, will definitely check it out if we’re ever in that area (sadly, that rarely happens, especially now with the insane traffic along the Highway to Hell a.k.a. EDSA). A visit to Commune is more likely!

    [Reply]

  • I’m in love with the chairs in this place, as well as the vibe.

    [Reply]

  • You should give Kuppa Roastery & Cafe at BGC a try. Their Ben’s Cappuccino may be small, but it packs quite a punch. They also have Pizza Cristina which is topped with blue cheese, gorgonzola, and figs. I’d go there just for that. Haha!

    [Reply]

    Lori Reply:


    Hi Kathi-
    I’ve been there several times. Maybe I will feature it on DCF one day.

    [Reply]

  • Thanks for the candid comments about EPIC Cafe.

    The name actually came up long before today’s folks use it as a superlative for everything. “EPIC” comes primarily from the cycling community – epic bike rides/races; then thee would be epic travel, then finally epicurean-the utmost enjoyment of food.

    Expect EPIC Cafe to evolve, the vibe, the advocacy for cycling and local artisans, to the coffees , pastries and home made ice cream…. EPIC is community-based, the neighbourhood and the artisans will shape what it will be.

    Again, a big thank you, we value your inputs!

    [Reply]

    Lori Reply:


    Thanks for your comment. I look forward to the evolution of EPIC.

    [Reply]

  • This looks like such a cozy, quirky, and homey place — the sort I enjoy relaxing in with a cup of coffee and a slice (or two) of cake. I had already made a note to visit Epic when I’m next in the area, and despite your caveat about the desserts, I was still thinking of trying those cakes in the picture of the display case. But, after you said the cafe is owned by the owners of Poco Deli, I changed my mind. I’m sorry to be so frank, but I’ve tried several of Poco Deli’s cakes, as well as the choc. chip cookie, and I was disappointed with all of them. I know many people love their desserts, especially the choc. cake, so I know I’m in the minority here. The choc. chip cookies, especially, was big and looked homemade, which is why I was so excited to try it. But one bite, and I was let down. I even — and you know how rare this is for me — gave most of it away. So I’ll keep going to Poco Deli for their main course dishes (I want to try the Bolognese now — it’s hard to find a good one!), and I’ll check out Epic for the coffee, but I think I’ll move elsewhere for dessert.

    [Reply]

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