Dessert Comes First

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

Magnum White King

Another Great Kopi Tiam

posted by in Asian, Restaurants


My first visit to NP Kopi Tiam (North Park Kopi Tiam – NPKT) is on Valentine’s Day – of all days – in 2006. The serendipitous result of “nowhere-driving” in the Santolan area, it had only been open for a few months at the time. Having just finished a full lunch but angling for dessert, I drop in for a cup (and a glass) of coffee.

NP Kopi Tiam 2
NP Kopi Tiam

Though the “NP” isn’t spelled out, it’s apparent once I go inside that the two letters stand for North Park: cue the “ahh!” moment of recognition. From the placemat paper-menu with its recognizable blue and yellow lettering to the wooden interiors composed of slats and sloping ceilings, every person who’s ever been to North Park (and that’s almost all of us) will instantly feel at home.

fried rice

Back in 2006, the restaurant was divided into two – the main dining area and a smaller space designated as the bakery. Because of NPKT’s success – and anything that owners Gabby and Paeng Soon does become successful – the bakery was moved inside and its former space was made a dining area as well.

crab and corn soup
crab and corn soup
Korean beef stew
pansit, Korean beef stew

Kopi Tiam is generally known as “coffee shop” in Chinese, Malay, and other related languages. The Soon brothers have given it their own twist by offering a broad spectrum of food, North Park faves (mami and dimsum); Asian classics (Korean beef stew P210; Teriyaki Beef Belly) to café standbys (all-day breakfasts like Angus beef tapa, pastries, and desserts). The dishes are from recipes culled from the Soon family favorites and creations, hence NPKT’s menu undergoes frequent revisions. Every visit of mine has seen different and new offerings. I especially like the fried rice, the house Kopi Tiam Chami (P170), which doesn’t look like much but is slippery and satisfying, and the Corn and Crab soup (P190), so thick with real crab that it’s almost a chowder.

house kopi

Although I have yet to come here for breakfast, it’s one I’m highly anticipating.


Of course you can’t eat here without having one of their coffee drinks. Whether it be the House Kopi, the Kopi with condensed milk, or one of the newfangled specialty coffee drinks, you can order something to pair it with from the menu or give in to one of the visual temptations on the cart laden with doughy treats. There are also a number of coolers like the Storm (P90, above), a fancy halo-halo or another kind served on a buko shell half. I’m not a big fan of the cookies and cakes here but the main dishes have me purring with contentment.

NP Kopi Tiam
3 C. Benitez St, Bgy. Horseshoe, Q.C.
Open everyday 9 am – 2am.

Related Posts:
Old Chinatown KopiTiam
Kopi Roti

7 Responses to “Another Great Kopi Tiam”

  • This is what my neighborhood in the Washington DC suburbs needs more of. We have a place called Malaysian Kopi Tiam downtown, but it’s more restaurant than Kopi Tiam in my humble opinion.


  • i like this place better than the usual north park.. prices are a bit higher though…


  • We went to this restaurant some time ago upon the high recommendation of friends. We were in for a big disappointment. Though there were attempts to serve Asian dishes like Korean and Japanese dishes, they definitely did not deliver. I think the safest is to stick to the original North Park menu which they do well. The other dishes like their Korean beef stew and their California Maki were a major let down. It is a pity because the place looked quite nice. The interiors was quite pleasant but the food mediocre. Definitely not a place to be repeated.


  • lovely pictures. it’s made me quite hungry right now, especially that crab soup!


  • Sorry, this place plain sucks.

    We ate at this place a few months ago, and vowed never to return.

    Food — bad. We both had LBM immediately after.

    Not at all tasty, expensive, pork tasted like rubber, soup too hot. The list goes on and on.

    Just my 2 cents worth. Peace out.


  • Oh dear. The husband and I went to the Santolan branch, ready for a big brunch, and though we arrived after the lunch rush, it took forever before we got to sit down at the empty table beside which we were made to stand. I was looking forward to having a cold coffee drink, but I never got my order as service was just terrible! We ordered a bunch of food, and were quite disappointed to get a poorly made maki, tough meat, squishy noodles, and sad little dimsum dishes. We grabbed a delivery menu out of habit anyway, and just concluded that they were having a bad day.

    A week later, we had food delivered, and were a little surprised to see that nothing had changed in the quality of their food. Until, that is, my husband dug into his fried rice, jolted in his seat, and fished out a small, rusty metal screw from his mouth!



  • My family and I are regulars at this place, and so far we haven’t been disappointed yet. Prices are very reasonable and the quality of the food is really good. They have one of the best halo-halo type desserts around.


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