Even before I went to visit the coffee shop, I was drawn in by a particular section of Commune’s thoughtfully decorated walls. This particular wall is almost always the main attraction of their social media marketing strategies. On a stark white wall, there are three images: two ladies gossiping over coffee, one woman on the phone, and a man thinking to himself, “That COMMUNE drink was good!” In brief, this is the story of what Commune is all about: good coffee, good company, and good conversation.
Commune’s owner, Ros Juan, is a coffee lover and social media maven all rolled into one. “The whole concept of Commune is to give people a place to talk,” she shares. “Here at Commune, people have the option to have coffee or cocktails, or even take lunch, dinner or light snacks. But what makes it different from other coffee shops is that we take social networking offline here. I organise workshops and tweet-ups—these are meet-ups for people who are active on Twitter. It’s basic community management, which is the physical manifestation of what I like to do.”
Inside Commune, located at Salcedo Village
The menu is modern Pinoy in nature. “We’re talking about slow food here,” Juan says. “Think of the kind of food that you would serve in your own home. Most of our vegetables come from our own farm, and the chicken that we use is of the free-range variety. We also have our own blend for our coffee—a mix of Robusta and Arabica. These are all Philippine beans.”
Rosemary Herb Chicken Sandwich
The first dish that I was asked to try was their best-selling Rosemary Herb Chicken Sandwich (P295). As a sandwich lover, this particular dish was highly enjoyable for me. All the homegrown ingredients used were fresh, and the delicious sauce ties everything very well. Even the bread itself is a standout in the scheme of things (which is unusual as far as sandwiches go), as it is special malunggay wheat bread. The sandwich also comes with their house salad, which is a sweet treat thanks to the dried mangoes and candied cashews.
True to modern Pinoy form, their adobo rice meals come wrapped in sweet-smelling banana leaves. Their Pork Adobo (P190) is a wonderful take on a beloved home-cooked dish. It is, in essence, very similar to what you might prepare at home, but makes a solid impact as a bold, flavourful dish, nonetheless. This viand, in particular, goes spectacularly well with the red rice that Commune offers. I also had the Chicken Adobo Sa Gata (P190), a recipe slightly more unfamiliar and a bit more exciting regardless of the subtlety of its flavours. This was served with plain white rice.
Chicken Adobo Sa Gata
For a dessert coffee power combo, I had the Apple Pie (not on the regular menu) and a cup of Café Mocha (P110). The apple pie, a creation of Ros’ niece, is a secret family recipe that very few know of. Unlike most pies, it is flakier, more flat and stuffed to the brim with apples. The coffee, following the Commune Blend, is an excellent pick-me-up. It is aromatic, rich and energizing thanks to the kick that the Robusta provides.
Due to the continuing popularity of social media, Commune is definitely going to be a place of interest for the months to come. What’s great about this particular coffee shop, though, is that it brings us social media-savvy folk back down to earth by stressing on the importance of the basics. Smartphones are fantastic inventions and all, but it’s always a good idea to step back and take things offline from time to time.