Tuesday, July 2, 2019

First Bite: Elephant Grounds Opens in Manila

Bonifacio Global City is staying true to the word global with the number of international brands and concepts filling all those empty spaces in the growing business district. Shake Shack just opened a few months ago and it was not too long before foodies shifted their attention towards another brand-- Elephant Grounds.

Hello, Elephant Grounds.
Elephant Grounds is finally open after almost a month long delay and its jam-packed shop is enough to prove that many were waiting to get a sip of its famous coffee and a taste of its ice cream and food curated and developed by Chef Nicco Santos. I actually haven't visited its main store in Hong Kong but I've heard from a few foodies that this place serves great food and drinks. And that was enough to keep me excited. 
The interiors of Elephant Grounds is wood heavy with touches of green and white. It exudes a very warm and rather chill ambiance despite the crowd. There was about 20 minute wait when we dropped by (around 2 p.m. on a Saturday).
Since it was our first time here, we decided to go with my friend's drink recommendations -- Dirty (PHP150) and Mocha (PHP170). We also got a Red Velvet Oreo Smash Ice Cream Sandwich (PHP165). H on the other hand went with Scrambled Eggs and Bottarga Toast (PHP345). 
Dirty was served first and I was surprised that it was served rather cold. It turns out that it's a combination of cold Holly's Milk with espresso instead of the usual steamed milk. Taste-wise, it was not my cup of tea (or rather coffee). It had this weird familiar aftertaste which I couldn't distinguish. R also found it too milky. And for 6.5 ounce drink, we felt it was a waste of money. 
Mocha was a lot better. It had a thick texture which I liked. Serving size was bigger too! However, I've had better hot mocha elsewhere and Elephant Ground's version was nothing special or worth lining up for.  
H's toast was served next and it was quite big and could be filling for one person. It also had an interesting blend of briny, bitter and salty flavors of bottarga balanced by scrambled eggs and sourdough. The greens on the side further muted the saltiness of the fish roe.
We were all getting ready to leave but my ice cream sandwich was yet to be served. I followed up if it'll be ready anytime soon because if it's still in cue, we'd like to have it cancelled so that we could bill out and go. But I got confirmation (twice) that it was being prepared. Then I was caught off-guard when Chef Queenie approached our table to tell me that they had problems with one of the ingredients of the red velvet ice cream sandwich and to make up for the long wait, she offered for me to try their High Societea ice cream sandwich instead, on the house. I refused but Chef Queenie insisted and wanted me to try something else before leaving. And it was actually the best one I've tried there.
I'm not saying that it's good because it was complimentary. It's good because there's this lovely deep Earl Grey tea flavor in the ice cream. Turns out they churn their own ice cream using Holly's Milk and steeped Earl Grey tea leaves in the milk giving it that pronounced earthy flavor. The bold tea taste is then balanced by the delightful cinnamon-y flavor of Biscoff bits and chocolate chip cookie. And to enjoy this, ask for a spoon as it would be very hard to bite this like sandwich. 
Though I don't think I'll be going back for its coffee, I'll swing by again to try its rice bowls and perhaps another ice cream flavor. 

Elephant Grounds is located at Ground Floor. One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 5th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Elephant Grounds Manila Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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