Answer: Populate your place with stuffed animals.
At least, that's the idea behind Zoo Coffee. Originating in South Korea, this café currently has over 100 stores in its home country, China and Taiwan. Now, they have their first Philippine branch at the Alphaland Makati Place, where they'll have their grand opening on July 8. Since that's only three days away, let's take a sneak peek at what this place has to offer.
True to its name, the café has stuffed versions of the most common attractions in zoos. You can have them "sit" with you as you sip your coffee, or you can give them to your kids (complete with reminders to take good care of someone else's toys).
Apart from those, though, the café feels like how you'd expect it to be. The ambience is mellow, the tables and chairs are comfy, and the dining areas are designed such that they can accommodate groups, couples or solo diners. Occasionally, they play K-pop music in the background, along with songs you hear on the radio today.
Zoo Coffee offers a wide variety of food. They have cakes, waffles, sandwiches, tea, coffee, latte, smoothies, frappes and the largest bing su you ever did see. If you recall from a previous post, bing su is a dessert made of finely shaved ice topped with sweets. Basically, it's the Korean version of parfait.
Anyway, since we came to the place around 9 A.M., we figured a breakfast meal would be appropriate for the time. We tried the solo version of their American Hotdog sandwich. (With their sandwiches, you can order either the solo version, or the version complete with salad if you're craving for a filling yet healthy meal.)
To accompany this dish, we had the Iced Red Ginseng Honey Tea. (In case that name sounds like a mouthful, you can just say "Red Ginseng.")
The moment we sipped the ginseng tea, we knew it was a drink we wouldn't forget. It has an earthy yet sweet taste, like drinking from a cool, clean stream in the jungle. Pretty fitting, considering the overall theme of Zoo Coffee.
Last, but definitely not the least, we had a medium size gelato. For the flavors, we chose one scoop of Salted Caramel and one scoop of Strawberry (not shown in the picture, because it's buried underneath). You can also order a single scoop version of this, but since we needed to sample as many dishes as possible in one visit, we figured two scoops would let us kill two birds with one stone.
Thankfully, both of the flavors we tried had just the right amount of sweetness. The Strawberry, in particular, had tiny crunchy bits, which gave it a more dynamic texture that tickles your taste buds. And since this is gelato, expect a healthier version of your regular ice cream.
As mentioned earlier, the baristas were dressed in explorer outfits. It must be true what they say about how the clothes make the man (or woman), because they were really friendly and enthusiastic to us. They answered all our questions as completely as possible, and even joked with us about eating a large tub of bing su early in the morning. Unfortunately, we couldn't do that, but maybe one of our dear readers would?
At any rate, we didn't have too much trouble with our orders. Granted, the sandwich may have taken a little longer to serve than necessary, but considering that it's not the usual "slap a hotdog into a bun" type of sandwich, we can let that slide.
All in all, we highly recommend this café to anyone visiting Makati. The ambience is unique, the service is great, and their offerings are more varied compared to the usual coffee and tea shops. If their cameo in the Korean drama "Innocent Man" didn't convince you to try them out, we sure as heck will.
Address: Unit G-12, G/F Alphaland Makati Place, 7232 Ayala Avenue cor. Malugay Street, Bel-Air, Makati City
Opening Hours: 7:00 A.M. – 11:00 P.M. (Monday – Friday), 8:00 A.M. – 10:00 (Saturday), 10:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M.