Military-inspired ensembles and floral patterns inspired by Britain's countryside dominated the Penshoppe collection
MANILA, Philippines - We’ve been told too many times to count breakfast as the most important meal of the day.
But, also too many times, reasons come up to miss it: late nights, hurried mornings, laziness, or simply a lack of substantial options. And no, a coffee on the go is not breakfast.
Breakfast, in a way, has become a conditional meal. We know it’s good for us but, really, sometimes we just can’t be bothered.
Breakfast-lovers Kendrick and Ellen Co think otherwise. They have a plan: to put an end to that mindset. In fact, they want to push the concept of breakfast from a meal merely defined by the time of day into a daily glorious experience.
Redefining breakfast habits
Of course, the definition of breakfast does impose that one takes it in the morning. At least those sensible enough to wake up as the sun does need to break their fast in the earlier hours of the day.
But does breakfast really need to be a 7am to 10am affair? This is the time usually set by restaurants that “now offer breakfast.”
“I used to work in Singapore,” begins Ellen, “so when I moved back here, I’d always be in the office early. When I wanted to have a full breakfast, there was not much around.”
Remembering the brunches that she’d indulge in back at the Lion City, Ellen lamented at the breakfast choices she faced being limited to fast food joints and coffee shops.
“I told Kendrick that I wanted to open our own breakfast place,” Ellen proclaims, “where there’d be a nice ambiance. You wouldn’t feel like you’re eating in the city. You wouldn’t feel like you’re being rushed. And you’d get a lot of nice breakfast options.”
And so Early Bird Breakfast Club came to be. “We’re a group of 5 friends who share a passion for breakfast,” states Ellen simply. That passion is the foundation for the venture. From management to the wait staff, from the founders to the kitchen staff, everyone needs to be on the same wavelength about breakfast.
Ellen adds, “Our mantra is: we serve beautiful food morning, noon, or night.”
Yet it seems that the generous time frame is still not enough. The restaurant, which is barely a couple of weeks old, is already getting requests for a round-the-clock breakfast schedule, primarily from club-goers who party all night long near the area.
Kendrick takes it as a good sign. He says they’ll be giving it a shot. For this weekend — note, not even a month into operations — they are making changes to their operating hours. For Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, Early Bird Breakfast Club will cater to its patrons at all hours.
Variety and specialties
The menu features breakfast fare favorites, tweaked to the taste and standards of the team behind Early Bird.
With a whole lot of personal taste dictating the initial menu brainstorming, the final repertoire is a list of gastronomic offerings that straddle the line between familiar and happily surprising.
“Take the champorado,” says Ellen, “it’s a Filipino favorite. But the way we created it is unexpected. It’s a yin-yang of white and dark chocolate.”
Champorado is one of Ellen’s professed favorites, but the restaurant aims to cater to all.
“We feel that breakfast is such a personal thing,” Kendrick states. “Every person has their own preference of how to start the day. We made sure that we covered enough of a variety of what people will expect for breakfast.”
Besides variety, the menu features special items created especially for Early Bird. The blend for the coffee, for one, was created especially based on the menu by Boyd’s coffee.
The longganisa is a special concoction, too. “You can’t buy it anywhere else,” Kendrick proudly claims. “We developed our own recipe. It’s not typical, which has lots of fat. It’s a garlicky kind that we serve two ways: with rice, cooked the traditional way; or a breaded version, which you can have as an appetizer to share with friends.”
The result of all this detail-oriented testing and reworking is a well-thought-out list that crosses boundaries, reinvents recipes, and tempts the palates, each item ending as a lovely dish on a plate.
Spreading the breakfast love
Kendrick compares an all-day breakfast restaurant service to a breakfast buffet that is popular in hotels. He points out that buffets, though the selection is wide and appetizing, still have a feeling of limited time attached to it.
“We want people to just come in and have a beautiful plate in front of them,” he proclaims.
“We’ve been getting walk-ins from people who live and work in the area,” he adds. “When they pass by, they see us, they come in, try the food out.”
The early patrons already have their favorites: adobo sunrise, steak and hash, “and the pudding dish, because our chef is British, so it’s one of his specialties,” adds Ellen. The kids enjoy the French toast fondue as well as the babycino – chocolate with sprinkles served in tiny espresso cups.
Have they succeeded in pleasing everyone yet?
“Well, we’ve had a lot of foreign guests,” Ellen says.
“The other day we had a couple of Canadian diplomats who were very happy to discover us. They said they will keep on coming back. In fact they already made requests for Canadian breakfast to remind them of home."
It’s our guess that both foreigners and locals have found a new home, fitted with the most welcoming aspect: comfort served as satisfying meals to perk anyone up, on any day. - Rappler.com
(Early Bird Breakfast Club is at Unit C G/F Fort Pointe 2 Bldg, The Fort Complex, 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City. Contact them at 470-8847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Who will inherit the throne?
Rappler takes you through the Miss Philippines Earth 2013 competition with these specials: