|The BENCH Flagship Store in BGC
My love for world renowned brand BENCH encompasses the celebrities in their roster, the fragrances I love and fashion they put out on the runway. They’re practically everywhere now and it’s a good thing. Just a couple weeks ago, they’ve gone and got good looking Brooklyn Beckham in the country for a couple days so he could meet and greet his fans plus a book signing event where thousands of people actually attended.
Suyen Corporation is also bringing in food brands left and right, making this island nation no stranger to international cuisine, world class food on the Filipino table, among of which are Paul (the boulangerie), Pablo Cheesecake, St. Marc Cafe, Maisen (my favorite Katsu place!), even yummy heartwarming Marugame Udon which opened a couple months ago. Now they’re ramping up local brand BENCH in the mix putting up another feather to Ben Chan’s hat with this new brand called BENCH CAFE. This is with partnership to long time restaurateur, mogul and owner of FooDee Global Concepts - COO Eric Dee (who's a very nice chap, so passionate too by the way!). I’ll take you around their flagship store in BGC which I visited ahead of everyone last Sunday, thanks to their lovely people who invited me for dinner. :)
The Bench Flagship Store operates from 10AM-11PM more or less and this is the same schedule which they plan to follow for the store (according to the person waiting tables) but they plan to actually still serve food as long as there's still people who want their food. The concept is simple, to make Filipino food more upscale (like a glamorized Turo Turo style dining). When I looked at the menu, there wasn't much item on it which cost an arm and a leg, probably so that they can serve food within the Php 250-450 range. That I think would make this a whole lot different from the restaurants in this vicinity, I bet they wanted to change the food landscape in BGC.
This first BENCH CAFE is located at second floor of the Bench Flagship Store. It's at the corner of Lane O and 9th Avenue in BGC, you won't get lost when you're there. The signage, the Bench store paraphernalia stands out so if you miss this place it's your fault. Yes the store is still open while you plan to dine in so even while you're waiting for your food to arrive you can shop at the store which is connected to this place via a door on the left side or the stairs. I mean who doesn't love shopping? You'll see this and the whole menu downstairs, trust me, you won't get intimidated with the prices.
The menu is pretty varied. It's like your usual favorite Filipino dishes but done with modern techniques. I'll show you later what I'm talking about, but in a nutshell you'll never run out of favorites here because it's like home. Expats or Tourists visiting Manila may have a better way of adapting to food if you take your first shot of Filipino food here. Dishes are done impeccably with European/American/French/Spanish influences but still is first and foremost Filipino.
|This is their bar, where most of your coffee and drinks will be prepared.
|There's a long bunk chair stretched on the right side of the bar and that door on the end connects to the second floor of the Bench Store. This part is very modern art deco.
|It's a mix as you can see, but still clean looking. It's not too cluttered, white brick walls and wood trims, you'll feel it's fresh as soon as you step in the cafe.
|Printed table mats for dining customers. Please don't stay too long unless you're going to eat.
|This one is served in threes.
|This is the BENCHANTED ICED TEA, who's flavor profile is more on the sweet tangy, but lemon grassy style. Since you are dealing with pretty heavy flavors, this would work well in between bites.
|It wasn't hot so I made the initiative to chop up the Siling Labuyo and mix it up, but there's a separate mousse on a plate that needed to be also mixed in.
|They serve it with Pork Crackling on the side.
|They marinated this well, the vinegar permeates inside the pork's skin and meat so when they grill this thing, it becomes a dreamy chunk of fat that you won't be able to put down once you slice into it.
|Two things, the ATCHARA and FILIPINO SALSA (chopped tomatoes, onions, spring onions and cilantro on soy sauce) was the perfect thing to cut the oiliness of the pork dish. Make sure you prepare that perfect bite each time you eat this BENCH/TO!
|I couldn't eat the rice because of Keto, but you can opt for the Garlic Rice if you want to indulge with it on your cheat day. Remember to NEVER deprive yourself!
|Imagine me drooling while I watched this on my camera LOL. Ooh I can see some of you are drooling!
Special coupons will be issued to dine in customers who will be the first 10 (1 Year, 1 BENCH/TO per week), next 20 will have (6 Months, 1 BENCH/TO per week), next 30 will have (3 Months worth at 1 BENCH/TO per week), last 40 guests will have 1 complimentary BENCH/TO. Now you know how to get the biggest prize of them all, try the food, be proud it's Filipino, take time to love the cuisine, the coffee because we deserve the small comforts that BENCH CAFE can give. Indulge in what they have to offer at Bench's Flagship Store at BGC.
It only happens today, January 25. You'll probably have to line up early, but don't worry because the food's not just good... it's divine!
Trust me on the Latik Latte and the BENCH/TO #12. The INASAL NA LIEMPO and that darn heavenly GISING GISING had me still craving for it at this hour. It's 3AM and it still haunts me.
Thank you Mr. Eric Dee for explaining the dishes, it was awesome to experience BENCH CAFE, I'll be back!