JEE Village Center, BF Resort Village, Las Piñas City
Open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Monday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) Ask anyone who’s been to the Land of the Rising Sun and they’d likely agree that the café scene in Japan is a special one. In particular, you’ll find plenty of small coffee shops of the minimalist sort—where you can sit back, relax, and have your cup of joe in a totally serene setting. For now we’ll leave our Japanese-café bucket list for post-apocalypse times (whenever that might be), but the good news is, you can get a similar experience from one new spot in the South of Manila. Check out Izu Koffee in BF Resort Village, Las Piñas City, which has been on soft-opening since September.
Check out this cool new coffee shop in Las Piñas with minimalist interiors:
The word Izu is a derivative of a Japanese surname, with one of their three partners being half-Japanese. “The meaning of the name “Izu” in Japanese creates a good-natured personality,” explains Marie Streegan, another one of the café’s partners.
True enough, it’s as relaxed as can be: From the outside you’re greeted by a clean white store front, consistent with the totally Zen vibe as you step inside their premises. Their small yet well-lit space is fronted by pale, pearl-river walls, with light wooden tables and shelves that are easy on the eyes, plus touches of black from the paintings and chairs that make for a minimalist-industrial, homey yet sleek look—accompanied, of course, by the telltale aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
“Since we are a neighborhood coffee shop, we wanted the place to be a café with an easygoing and vibrant appeal,” says Streegan. Japanese coffee shops served as a “major inspiration” for them, as they aimed to have a space that’s “really visually clean,” inspired by modern Japanese aesthetics. “Nothing too distracting, cluttered nor too loud. We wanted the coffee to speak for the place.”
And speak for the place, their coffee does. The Izu Koffee team aims to make specialty coffee “more accessible” to their neighborhood, and they brew up excellent versions of classic cups of joe using 100% Arabica beans from Brazil and Costa Rica. The Flat White (P140) is a great rendition of one that highlights the nutty-fruity note of coffee rounded out just a tad by milk, while the Spanish Latte (P160) brings in sweetened milk to the mix but notably still allows the coffee to shine through.
Another must-try is the Mocha (P160), which goes for a chocolate-forward flavor profile that’s deep, dark, and decadent all the way through. Beyond their coffee, they’ve also got a short-but-sweet line of other drinks; the Yuzu Citron Drink (P160) has our heart for how it highlights the distinct zestiness of the Japanese citrus of the same name, and strikes the right flavor balance without being too sour or sweet.
Your best bet, of course, is to pair your drink of choice with one of their pastries. Nothing goes with coffee quite like doughnuts, for one, and you can take your pick from one of their Sourdough Donuts (P80): The Almond Vanilla has a creamy custard filling and sweet glaze plus almonds for a welcome crunch, while the Ube Coconut goes the more Filipino-style direction with a pretty purple hue to boot. If you prefer more textural contrast on your pastries, don’t miss the Portuguese Egg Tarts (P50)—it pairs a crisp, flaky crust with a rich egg filling and is at its most drool-worthy when taken hot!
Though the coffee shop is just a couple of weeks old, Streegan shares how they’ve had their share of regulars who visit the shop almost every day. They’ve even made friends with many of their customers in the process—which is right in line with their goal of making Izu Koffee a space where people can easily show up to “connect either with friends, or with themselves.” “No one would feel out of place here,” says Streegan. And with their soul-soothing space and great eats and drinks, we’d definitely agree.
Photos by Majoy Siason