If Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin lived in our modern day millenial-driven metro, where in Manila would they kick back for good coffee and food? The team behind Pablo's Pub draws inspiration from the dapper duo for their new cafe in Forbes Town Center.
"Even way before we started building it, we knew it was going to be about coffee, chicken, and pizza, mainly because Pinoys love it--coffee shops, fried chicken, pizza joints," shares Miguel Escueta, one of the managing partners of Frank & Dean.The next step was now about presenting these three favorites well, while offering their food and drink in a hip setting cool enough for your modern-day Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to call their hangout place.
"First and foremost, we put the coffee front and center," Miguel adds. To fuel coffee addicts with the perfect cup of joe in every visit, the coffee shop has partnered with Yardstick, showcasing 100% local Arabica beans. "We have the neon light coffee sign, first thing on the blackboard is coffee, and when you walk in you see the coffee machine," he continues, "off the bat, you will experience the look and feel of a coffee shop, then everything else comes after that." Aside from the standard coffee beverages, like F&D Basic Brew (P85), Cappuccino/Latte (P140 hot, P160 iced), and Long Black/Espresso (P120), they also offer Yardstick's Cold Brew (P200) and their own F.E.S. Frank's Espresso Shake (P190) -- think ice cream meets espresso.
Frank & Dean opened their doors for soft opening last June 5, and today July 29th is their grand opening, featuring their now polished menu of coffee and food. And since day one of operations, the food favorites have alwas been, unsurprisingly, chicken and pizza. Since we all have our different takes and cravings on what kind of fried chicken and pizza is delicious, I had to ask Miguel what his inspirations were on preparing the two food favorites in the metro. Escueta, while most popular for his talent in music, is also quite an artist in the kitchen -- his delicious creations have been duly noticed at their first restaurant venture, Pablo's Pub, now popular for the juicy Pablo's Half Pounder Burger and addicting Paprika Fries.
"I had a trip to the States, so I went around New York and then I had life-changing pizza," he says with a laugh. "So I was like, okay, this is my peg--just a hole in the wall place. Luckily, when I went in, the pepperoni pizza was newly cooked and you can order by the slice. When I bit, I knew this was how it was supposed to be. The texture, the flavor, it took us about forty tries until the final recipe."
An order of F&D Pizza gets one an American-style New York pizza in terms of heft, thickness, and texture--but in a manageable size (12 inches), and the pie is cut into four big slices for your 'hold and fold' enjoyment. Ditch the fork and knife and get to know your slice of pizza better with your hand, it just tastes better that way. The most popular variant is the classic Pepperoni (P399), and they offer offer other variants like Margherita (P300), 5 Cheese (P440), and All Meat (P480).
And what about the chicken? Think good old Southern Fried Chicken (SFC). "For the chicken, I had life-changing chicken in North Carolina," Miguel shares, "it was really legit southern comfort. What we have here now, the plating is very similar, and it took a while to perfect the recipe, especially with the flavors and spices for the crispy chicken skin."
You can order their Southern Fried Chicken (SFC) in 1 piece (P260/with 2 Glazed Doughnuts, P350/with Mac 'n Cheese, P230/with Rice) or 2 pieces (P335/with Rice, P420/with Waffles), and these golden pieces of chicken boast of their F&D original breading with a uniquely flavorful blend that's spiced enough to make it so tasty even without the homemade gravy. But to ignore their gravy is also quite a mistake, as the thick brown stuff is also delicious, having a right kind of tang that combines well with the chicken meat and its crisp, succulent skin. An unbeatable southern combination would be having the SFC with waffles drizzled with made-from-scratch syrup or their homemade rustic Glazed Doughnut (P55/piece, P500/10 pieces), adding sweetness in the mix. But Pinoys will be often craving their cup of fluffy rice, so rice option is always available to enjoy it your way--go drizzle that gravy in the rice and have a blast.
While coffee, chicken, and pizza is shaping up to be the delicious trifecta of Frank & Dean, must-tries also are their breakfast items, as they obviously go well paired with one's morning coffee. Every item on their All Day Breakfast menu available from 7am to 10am comes with free basic brew, and highly recommended are the hefty One Eyed Jack (P335) , Truffled Scrambled Eggs (P280) with homemade hash (you can add bacon for P100), and Salmon Rosti (P350). For sandwich cravings, don't miss out on their Raclette Grilled Cheese (P335) --a three cheese sandwich, really, with raclette, cheddar, and mozzarella in between soft brioche slices. Instead of the usual tomato soup pairing, a lipsmacking marinara sauce is served alongside for dipping.
Frank & Dean Cafe x Kitchen is now open at Burgos Park at Forbes Town Center beside Tipsy Pig in BGC, Taguig. Like Frank & Dean in Facebook (/FRANKxDEAN) and follow on Instagram (@FrankxDean).