In an obscure area in Boni lies Kanto Freestyle Breakfast, a humble shop offering gourmet breakfast. With all the ongoing street renovations in the area, thanks to the upcoming May 2013 elections, it was definitely a challenge to find. The worst part is most of the people around the area, tricycle drivers even, do not recognize the name of the place. We finally found it when one tricycle driver identified what we were looking for, and directed us towards San Joaquin Street. From Tapa King, or from the Mandaluyong Circle, walk towards San Joaquin St., and turn right. It’s in the middle of San Joaquin. You might miss it with the lack of posters and signs, but you’ll know you’ve found it once you see the stretch of wooden tables and black chairs against the red walls of Kanto Freestyle.
Upon finally finding the place after some thirty minutes of scouring Boni Ave, we were surprised to find that yes, it looks like a regular food stand along the streets. The sign, which finally pave the way to use finding the place, was the same as that of sari-sari stores. From first impression, one could say it looked akin to a carinderia, and that set the bar low. It had a small extension, a space inside a two-storey house, where more customers can dine. We took our seats and waited a while, until Sir Vince came.
Sir Vince, who’s been managing the place with Chef Arch, introduced us to Kanto Freestyle Breakfast and what they have been doing so far. Kanto Freestyle Breakfast, while modest, has been featured many times in print publications and television in the past. What Kanto Freestyle Breakfast offers is gourmet breakfast at an affordable, if not cheap, price. A quick look in the menu would reveal that none of their items is priced higher than 100php. Their mission? To allow the Class C and D access to enjoy gourmet food that they would most probably shy away from because of the steep price.
While waiting for food, we ordered drinks. It was a humid afternoon, and what better way to relieve a hot summer day than by ordering a Pinoy childhood favorite: The Scramble, or as I would pronounce it, Scrambol.
As a child, I’ve been overprotected to the point that I never really got to enjoy this drink til it was commercialized and available in malls. The Scramble is essentially shaved ice with pink food coloring, topped with generous amounts of marshmallows, milk powder, chocolate syrup and sprinkles. They served it in a nice wine glass with a straw. This would probably have been better served with a small spoon as well for scooping the marshmallows that wouldn’t fit the straw. I consumed my drink before the food even came!
The pancakes, which they are popular for, might just give IHOP a run for its money.
Now if the IHOP pancakes didn’t suit your taste because of being too dry and crumbly, at no more than 90php, you get three pancakes, with a spectacular topping of crushed oreos and butter. The pancakes might appear to be smaller in the photo, but trust me, they serve regular-sized pancakes, and considering the thought that was put into this and the taste, they offer it cheap!
For the chocolate lovers, this is the ultimate sugar-rush experience. Try Kanto Freestyle Breakfast’s Fluffy Pancakes Topped with Goya and Choc-nut Ganache.
The butter slid off the top of the pancakes, but it doesn’t make the Mixed Berry Pancakes any less delightful. Among the three pancakes the Mixed Berry Pancake is “awarded” by the bloggers present as the Most Photogenic among the bunch. But I think my favorite still would be the Fluffy Pancakes with Crushed Oreos and Butter on Top :)
Regularly offered with five pieces of Churros, the Churros con Chocolate features churros with a special chocolate dip, made with Tablea chunks from Batangas. Tablea is a good choice for the chocolate dip since it’s not too sweet or bitter. It’s not nakakaumay, and you would not find it difficult to consume this cup or chocolate goodness.
If you’re not up for pancakes, Kanto Freestyle Breakfast also offers more brekkie items that will catch your attention (and appetite). Their French Toast with Bacon and Eggs got me at the sight of the Scrambled Eggs. They were so fluffy and tasty. They were a little too generous on the butter serving for this dish, though. The bacon was thin, but was just right. This dish is 40% Eggs, 40% Toast and 20% Bacon.
Being an oatmeal junkie, I just had to try Kanto Freestyle Breakfast’s Oatmeal with Apple, Mango and Raisins. They used cream instead of milk, and the fruits were fresh, too. A reminder, though, that oatmeal might not make a good side because it’s heavy in the tummy.
The Pan de Sal with Eggs Hollandaise, a pair of Pan de Sal stuffed with spanish sardines and topped with eggs and cheese, was one of my favorites. The sardines provided the spicy flavor, that was perfect with the pan de sal, eggs and cheese.
Kanto Freestyle Breakfast’s Hashbrown topped with eggs and Lima Beans, with tomato on the sides, were a little too heavy for my palate. I found it a tad too oily for my taste, although it is undeniably thick and delicious. I could only muster to eat a bite.
My ultimate favorite among the bunch, the Pork and Beans‘ taste deviate from the ordinary canned dish. This packed a little spice, and I’m admittedly biased towards spicy dishes. A bite off the Pan de Sal slice would neutralize the moderate spiciness of the dish. I would tag this as a great pulutan dish, only, Kanto Freestyle Breakfast doesn’t serve alcoholic drinks.
Kanto Freestyle Breakfast’s Champorado with Tuyo is delicious, albeit not something I’d eat at this time of the year. A popular Filipino dish, the chocolate rice porridge is usually served with tuyo, or dried fish, to neutralize the sweet taste. Instead of milk, they used cream, which provided a new taste to the classic dish. I found the rice too fine, which made me feel like drinking than eating it. And because of that, you’d tend to eat more of this.
The Tapsilog was arguably one of the best I’ve tasted. Since it’s a given that I love their scrambled eggs, the beef tapa did not disappoint as well. It was sweet, tender and juicy. Normally, I’d dip tapa in generous amounts of vinegar, but with this dish, I found no need for the condiment. It was perfect the way it is.
I love how, despite the breakfast items offered cheap, they did not leave out anything like the presentation and the taste. Chef Arch and his team has put a lot of thought and effort into the dishes they offer. Believe me that a great part of my fascination with Kanto Freestyle Breakfast has a lot to do with how they managed to surprise me. That underneath a carinderia-type facade lies a treasure trove for the gourmet brekkie fan. You really cannot judge a book by its cover. Even with regular menu items such as the Tapsilog, Kanto Freestyle Breakfast never failed to deliver.
With the media attention that it’s garnering, Kanto Freestyle Breakfast is not only patronized by their their target market Class C & D, but also the Class A crown and showbiz personalities as well. Karel Marquez, Carlo Aquino, and members of the Philippine All Stars have visited the place and tried it out for themselves. It is amazing how a small and humble place such as Kanto Freestyle Breakfast can bring together people from different walks of life in their search for quality and affordable food. It’s so comfy too, parang tumatambay lang talaga.
I think that’s pretty much it, with the only thing they can improve on is the space and amount of seats. Parking might prove difficult, as you just park wherever there’s space. Also, you might have a hard time finding the place. Just remember it’s along San Joaquin St. Try getting to the corner of Boni Ave and San Joaquin St. first, and with your back to the Mandaluyong Circle, turn right at San Joaquin St. The important thing is to know the address, because even if the tricycle drivers don’t know the place, they can always find it if they have the exact address of the place.
Also, a word of warning: most of the items featured here are new items, so they might not have it when you visit. You might want to inquire first by calling if they’re already offering most of those items featured above. This shouldn’t stop you from trying out their specialties, though :)
Kudos to Chef Arch, Sir Vince, their partners and staff, for the awesome work that is Kanto Freestyle Breakfast. I would definitely come back and introduce my friends to the best and the most affordable gourmet breakfast in town. -HANA
PS. Thanks to Wazzup Pilipinas for organizing this foodie event!
Kanto Freestyle Breakfast
24/7 Gourmet Breakfast by the Street
549 San Joaquin St., Brgy Plainview, Mandaluyong City
If you want to know more about Kanto Freestyle Breakfast’s Menu offerings, as I’m sure you would after seeing all the food and drinks from this post,