An evening jaunt in the Katipunan area led us to the doors of Tyler’s Café. We originally wanted to dine at Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza next door, but it was packed to the rafters. A tentative step inside the more quiet, less frenetic restaurant led us to discover that the two establishments were actually connected—not only was there an entryway adjoining them, they apparently shared the same owners.
You could say it was a blessing in disguise to not have found available seats in Gino’s; otherwise, we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of trying something new. Where Gino’s is yellow light and brick-red hues (like a cigar room of old but with more casual furnishings), Tyler’s is muted white light (great for taking photos!) and a combination of a deep shade of Mediterranean blue with light browns and white (like a hipster cafe that would fit nicely in New York).
Just opened last February, this neighborhood cafe can be considered the morning shift of sister restaurant Gino’s, which opens right before lunch (around 11 or 1130am, according to the server). As of this writing, dining hours are from 7am to 8:30pm (previously, it was reported to be from 9am to 9pm).
During that first visit, we got the Ricotta Pancakes with Strawberries (P275) after cross-ordering our main dinner dishes from Gino’s.
These were utterly good! Even if the medium-sized pancakes were on the flatter side, they’re probably one of the lightest and fluffiest we’ve ever come across. The ricotta mixed into the batter must have contributed to that. Taste-wise, there was only a hint of the mild cheese in the pancake itself. The sweet strawberry jam and the slightly tart strawberry slices provided most of the flavor in the dish, complemented by the side of whipped cream. Although we were surprised to find basil leaves in our dish, we went ahead and ate them together with everything else, trusting there’s a reason for their presence there. It was strange (at first) but delightful.
As with most pancakes, it came with syrup on the side. Here, a light sugar syrup was served instead of maple or maple-flavored heavy syrup. The dish didn’t need it, really, but a few drizzles didn’t take anything away from our enjoyment of it.
A week after our first trip there, we went back to Tyler’s Café to try the Bacon and Eggs (P285) and the Ricotta Pancakes with Bacon (P245).
All the elements of a simple yet great breakfast came together in this dish: thick but tender, honey-cured bacon, runny sunny-side-up eggs, and aromatic garlic rice. We liked how they didn’t waste the ultra-delicious but utterly sinful bacon grease by using it for the rice, imbuing it with meaty and smoky flavors. But as bacon dishes go, it didn’t offer an exceptional or distinct ‘taste’ experience. Basically, it’s straight-up comfort food—a no-nonsense breakfast.
Ricotta Pancakes with Bacon
Since we loved the ricotta pancakes from our previous visit, we knew we had to order some other version of it. We didn’t mind that the one we picked had bacon; our server assured us that it was different from that of the Bacon and Eggs’. True enough, the two pieces of bacon were traditional slices with an even distribution of meat and fat. But what really caught our eye about this dish was the inclusion of salted egg butter. We wondered how it would pair with the rest of the elements on the plate.
Well, we were happy to note that the ricotta pancakes were as light, moist, and fluffy as the last time. It was just harder to pinpoint the taste of ricotta as the flavor from the salted egg butter took over. One thing about that butter: although it spread so smoothly over the pancakes, there was a grittiness to it that was only made apparent once it reached the tongue. It may be a savory dish, but we didn’t hesitate to use the light sugar syrup on it as a foil to the saltiness of the butter and bacon. Its sweetness actually made the dish less umay-inducing. (Note: It’s best eaten warm.)
We missed out on ordering any of their drinks both times—from the coffee to the teas from Tsaa Laya to the healthy juices, among others. But we did overhear from a nearby table that the latte was good.
“Tyler’s Cafe. Your Neighborhood Cafe.” That’s how it’s positioned. Too bad we don’t live in the vicinity as it’s the sort of cafe we’d love to have in our community. A cozy space for hanging out morning, noon, and night. It’s interesting to note that there didn’t seem to be much of a difference between the daytime and the nighttime feel of the place. It didn’t matter whether the sun was shining or had already set; the space remained bright and crisp as ever. It’s as if time stood still inside Tyler’s Café. Regardless of the hour, it’s always brunch o’ clock.
317 Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City