Food

Crave Breakfast for Every Meal? Almusal Cafe Is Now Available on GrabFood

Now, this is the breakfast takeout you need.
IMAGE Facebook / Almusal Cafe
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A restaurant would have to be either crazy or crazy brave to open a brick-and-mortar establishment during a pandemic. The Almusal Cafe in Katipunan seems to be the latter after it set up shop during lockdown inside the Pop Up in Quezon City.

While others are closing their doors, Almusal Cafe is throwing its doors wide open even if the odds are against them.

“Of course the conditions aren’t ideal,” said managing partner James Thomas. “But we wouldn’t call it crazy to be opening right now. More than ever, people want comfort food. And Filipino breakfast food is about as hearty and comforting as it gets.”

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Thomas and his business partner Matthew Lay married their two cultures, Thomas being a New Yorker and Lay being an Australian, to deliver a uniquely transatlantic cafe that paid homage to their home countries as well as Filipino culture. The two, like many other expats, visited the Philippines pre-pandemic for a short vacation, but decided to make it home when the culture grew on them. Thomas brings his experience working at New York’s Michelin-starred restaurant Jewel Bako, while Lay brings to the table his experience at Melbourne’s competitive food scene and his Italian training as a gelatiere.

Almusal Cafe, like its name suggests, is a love letter to the quintessential Filipino breakfast, which gets a New York- and Australian-flavored twist every now and then.

It’s a fine dining brunch experience with well-loved classics like beef tapa and pork tocino as the staple dishes. Almusal Cafe’s bacon slab is cured with honey butter, its lam adobo is slow-roasted to perfection, and its coffee is freshly roasted in-house. These are all the ingredients of a timeless cafe, one that combines the cafe cultures of New York, Melbourne, and now, QC.

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Almusal Cafe has all the makings of a successful urban establishment, but then the pandemic happened, forcing the restaurant to rewire its strategy, from finding the best eco-friendly packaging to selling its jarred sauces and frozen meats for customers to cook at home. It’s a rough start, but like the rest of the food industry in the Philippines, Almusal Cafe perseveres.

“I actually think it’s a time for local food to shine—we source a lot of produce from neighborhood markets and really prioritize sustainability, and in turn the community has come out to support us in a big way,” said Lay.

“When people come in and tell us they’re excited to eat our food, that it’s a little something they can look forward to in these uncertain times—for us, that makes it all worth it,” said Thomas.

If you want to keep the country’s diverse food industry alive, be a patron of local establishments like Almusal Cafe. Its menu is available on Grab Food or you can order via almusalcafe.beepit.com or 0966 523 5562.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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