Test Kitchen Caffe located at Tropical Avenue in BF Homes, Las Piñas City
New Year has a different meaning for everybody. For some it means resolutions; for others it’s starting over. But for one restaurant, New Year means offering something new to their customers, and that is what Test Kitchen Caffe has done recently.
You might already recognize Test Kitchen Caffe
for their famous liempochon
(grilled pork belly), but the owners made a bold move to make the café worth more visits: they added something new to their mix of offerings. Surprisingly, the addition is not food or beverage even, but a boutique located above the restaurant! This might make you scratch your head a little but their system actually works perfectly well. If you’re still not convinced, read on.
Revisiting Test Kitchen Cafe
Revisiting Test Kitchen Caffe and their classic best-sellers
Test Kitchen Caffe or TKC came from the minds of Chefs Gigi Parco and Vincent Completo. Despite coming from entirely different backgrounds (the former a corporate world veteran, the latter a registered nurse), their shared passion for cooking led them to pursue it full-time and under their own terms. Thus, the Test Kitchen Caffe was born.
team got a chance to visit this old favorite that has been pleasing diners for over four years to check their new offering and to revisit some classics as well.
Small accent lamps give TKC a homey vibe.
A quick drive at Tropical Avenue and you’ll immediately recognize Test Kitchen Caffe for its bold red doors. Upon entering you’ll be welcomed by pastel-colored walls, wooden chairs and tables, and quaint accent pieces spread all throughout the place. The café maintains an elegant but minimalists design inside that will make you feel cozy and will make you want to stay for a long period of time. They also have a private parking in front of the café and free wifi!
TKC keeps it simple with their table décor.
Chef Gigi shared that the idea for Test Kitchen Caffe came about during one of her travels in South Africa. While dining in one of the popular restaurants in the area, she had a light bulb moment and was inspired to open up her own restaurant in the Philippines. So, instead of doing her internship in another restaurant to complete her course at the Global Culinary Hospitality Academy, she decided to open up her own. She shared her idea to her classmate Chef Vincent who fortunately shared the same vision as her. The two partnered and Test Kitchen Caffe was born.
Comfort Food to the Next Level
The goal of the duo is to bring comfort food to the Filipinos created in a professional way using endemic Filipino ingredients. And you’ll recognize their goal translated in their menu consisting of Filipino favorites like liempochon and adobo pasta made using prime ingredients and without shortcuts.
The ShoppersGuide team was able to sample some of their best-sellers, and true enough their food are comfort food raised to the next level owing to the ingredients and innovation they used and apply to create each dish.
Their Liempochon will satisfy your cravings and will fill your stomach as it already comes with a cup of rice!
Their Liempochon (PhP250), as always, is the best-seller in the café. Chef Vincent shared that they slow cook the pork for five hours and that they have their ‘secret way’ of making the skin of the pork similar to the texture of a chicharon (crispy pork rind), making it crunchy for a long period of time. The pork is served golden brown with lemon grass filling in the middle to make it extra flavorful and to stay true to the lechon way of cooking the meat. They also partner it with mango salsa to refresh your palette.
TKC’s Peri peri chicken will make you convert from fried chicken to this healthy and herby one.
Another favorite in TKC is their version of Peri peri chicken (PhP275). Instead of partnering it with sauce like how other restaurants do it, they instead incorporated the sauce in the cooking process to make the chicken more flavorful. The chicken was cooked perfectly with the skin and meat softly falling off the bones. Their chicken is not the typical salty fried variety that we are used to, but this healthier and herbier version will make you convert.
Who says you can’t eat adobo without a cup of rice?
Aside from the rice dishes, TKC also has some pasta for the Italian food lovers that crave for some al dente spaghetti. But rather than serving the typical spaghetti with red sauce, Chef Vincent boasted of their Adobo Pasta (PhP180). The dish perfectly captures the saltiness and sourness that we enjoy in our favorite adobo. They also added a sunny side up egg on top with its yolk left runny so the customer can mix it with the pasta. The sauce of the adobo mixed with the egg yolk gave it a thicker and smoother texture that worked perfectly with the pasta.
While their hot meals are amazing on their own, their desserts are not to be overlooked as well. Like their savory dishes, the sweets in the café are made from scratch. They even have a commissary for the desserts where customers can directly purchase them.
The heavenly Oreo Cheesecake will make you want to order another slice.
One of the favorites in Test Kitchen Caffe is their Oreo Cheesecake (PhP150). It is so heavenly it will make you say “mmmm…” for a brief couple of seconds. The cheesecake is not too sweet but maintains the creamy and smooth texture we love in a cheesecake. The base of the cake is made with crushed Oreos to make sure that our well-loved cookies and cream flavor is still there. To top it all off, they drizzled a bit of caramel at the top of the cake to give it a sweet kick.
Vietnamese Drip Coffee is the perfect way to end your meal.
Their desserts are also best paired with their Vietnamese Drip Coffee (PhP80). The strong flavors of the Arabica beans become well-balanced once you add the condensed milk. Yes, condensed milk! The creaminess of the condensed milk makes the coffee smoother and the sweetness is light that it doesn’t affect the strength of the coffee.
The Gem on the Next Floor: George and Rita
After your fill, might as well stretch your legs and visit Test Kitchen Caffe’s new offering: George and Rita.
George is derived from miss Chef Gigi’s name, while Rita is from her daughter’s.
Late last year, Chef Gigi ventured into a new business called George and Rita (G&R), a custom clothing line where they sell affordable and ready-to-wear pieces for working and fashionable women. What sets them apart is that they will make sure that your chosen pieces will fit your body perfectly. How, you ask? Well, they have stylists and tailors in their store that will help you shop, and once you find a piece that you like and it doesn’t fit you well, they will tailor-made one just for you! How’s that for customer service, right?
Spaceous and chic is what will welcome you at George and Rita.
When asked about the inspiration for the boutique, Chef Gigi mentioned that it was inspired by her daughter Rita who is a tall and full-figured girl who always had a hard time finding clothes that fits her perfectly. The limited options in our malls led her to open G&R to not only help her daughter but other women who experience the same struggle as well.
G&R also sells locally made accessories to match their outfits.
Aside from custom-fitting their clothes to customer’s preferences, they also avoid using buttons and zippers to ensure maximum comfort to any wearer of their clothes. If you happen to find a top but want to change its color, you can choose from their available range of textiles and see which color suits you! They also sell contemporary accessories to match the outfit that you can wear once the alteration is done.
Every customer is entitled to one alteration per purchase only and the next alteration will come with a fee so make sure you love the fit and the style of your item.
The Mix Up
Of course, one would be curious regarding the setup of Test Kitchen Caffe and G&R. Food and clothing aren’t really on the same line of services.
Give TKC and G&R a quick visit this New Year.
But the two Chefs disagree. Chef Vince shared that Test Kitchen Caffe and George and Rita goes very well with each other because after eating a good meal at TKC, people especially women can go upstairs and browse through G&R’s clothing racks. Chef Gigi also shared that some women tend to visit the café and eat downstairs while they wait for their clothes to be altered. Even husbands and boyfriends prefer to wait and eat at TKC while they wait for their partners.
At the end of the day, it’s a win-win for both TKC and G&R. And if you’re familiar with Tropical Drive, there aren’t a lot of restaurants with good clothing shops or boutiques nearby, so it’s a win for customers too!
Worth the Drive
If you’re looking for something new this 2017, TKC and G&R will be the perfect road trip for you and your friends! Even if you’re not from the south, their food is worth the drive. Plus, everyone needs a new outfit this New Year, and a quick visit to G&R wouldn’t hurt either.
Our thoughts exactly!
Contact your food and shopping buddies because TKC and G&R should be your newest go-to place this 2017. They are open from Tuesday to Sundays from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
To know more about Test Kitchen Caffe and G&R
, you can check their social media pages and you can also visit their physical store located at Tropical Avenue, BF Homes International, Las Piñas City.
Prices are subject to change without prior notice.