There’s a new coffee culture brewing in Antipolo. This vibrant city well known for its pilgrim church as well as its suman (rice cake), mangga (mangoes) and kasoy (cashew nuts), is now a new destination for coffee patriots.
College students, artists, yuppies and even professionals have found the perfect way to match their suman with hot brewed coffee. It’s no longer unusual to see Antipolonians huddle in quaint coffee shops, now sprouting like wild mushrooms in the city, until the wee hours of the morning. To date, there are more than a dozen (and counting!) coffee shops within the city proper.
Hookah, gelato and coffee, are the three popular offerings of Seisha Coffee, a resident coffee shop, which has been running operations for the past five years. The establishment got its name from the word shisha, which also refers to hookah, an instrument used for smoking tobacco popular in the Middle East. Seisha Coffee has now two shops located along Circumferential Road (near Gems Resort) and P. Oliveros Street (near Antipolo Cathedral). I visited the former.
Founded by Engr. Ely Condat and his family, the coffee shop started from humble beginnings but has now emerged to cater customers’ coffee cravings with hot and iced coffee, tea and chocolate; smoothies; frappes as well as pasta; pastries, gelato; and sandwiches.
Although small, the coffee shop intuitively invites customers to relax and have fun. There’s no blaring background music to distract you. Its red and orange stripped walls are very vibrant while its familial photo mosaic is very inviting as it showcases the many happy customers they’ve served food and drinks over the years. I personally like the chairs, very comfy and perfect for those long hours in front of the laptop.
Since it’s my first time to try their coffee, the friendly baristas gladly suggest I try their Triple berry mocha frappe (P95). It consists of strawberry, raspberry and blueberry; according to them, this is one of their best-selling concoctions. The refreshing drink came in a glass goblet and as I took a sip, I was delighted with the taste -- it introduces your palate with rich coffee and leaves a lingering mild berry aftertaste.
Of course, I had to match the drink with a meal, so I tried their Carbonara (Php70). As the waiter placed the carbonara in an oval plate, seemingly filled with spaghetti noodles richly topped with crispy bacon, diced red bell peppers, mushrooms, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, I could see right away why it’s a favorite. Its béchamel sauce is so creamy that I had to literally mop it clean with the pocket bread which I also ordered. The pocket breads are filled with light mayonnaise. Both were really filling.
On a side note, I was delighted to know that there were vegetarian items in the menu. They have Caesar and green-tossed salads for the health-conscious eater. They also have a selection of sweet treats such as cakes and pastries in their display fridge. A slice of Blueberry cheese cake costs P70 while a Choco mousse fetches for P60 -- not bad!
I was quite intrigued with the shishah, which were displayed inside the store’s shelves. I know that there are certain clubs in the metropolis offering this sort of smoke but I’ve never tried it since I don’t know how to smoke (fail). The store owner tells me that I’d need 3 more friends to finish up a half-filled shisha.
Seisha Coffee offers deliciously flavored smoke in strawberry, apple, grapes, mint and chocolate. For the heavy puffers, you can choose to have your shisha full at P200 or go halfway at P150. I notice the shop’s door sign informing customers that they’re strict as they won’t allow young customers (below 18) to smoke the pipes.
So instead of flavored smoke, I amused my taste buds with their Affogato (P95) in chocolate. Affogato, which means ‘drowned’ in Italian, really suits its name as it consists of a scoop of ice cream or gelato with a shot of hot espresso poured over the top. Aside from its well presentation, Seisha’s Affogato had also something extra special --- whip cream with drizzled chocolate on top! I enjoyed this. The gelato’s sweetness and the espresso’s bitterness mixing together is a lovely combination of flavors and textures, softly, fluidly! I think I got most of my coffee kick from this dessert.
Halfway through my late-afternoon meal at Seisha Coffee, I decided it was the tastiest and value-for-money meal I was likely to have within the city. Each mouthful was a delight, whether it came from the pasta or from the dessert that followed it. Service was prompt and efficient, and apparently the waiter knows every food listed in the menu.
An honest meal, satisfying and reasonably priced, no wonder this coffee shop has lasted so long since its opening in the mid-2000s, and will certainly be back for more.