CO/OP Manila in A. Mabini, San Juan

Despite the extremely short vacation that Paul and I recently had in Manila, we came back to Singapore weighing a bit more but definitely happier, more relaxed and rejuvenated once again. Nothing beats being able to catch up with friends and spending a couple of days with family. Believe it or not, I have to always put together a calendar every time I fly home. This is because my schedule is always packed to the brim with meet ups, errands and shopping. I'm very thankful that no matter what, we have friends who wouldn't mind waking up extra early or staying out a bit later than usual just to be with us. You guys know who you are and for that, we love you with all our hearts. ♥

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Take for example my favorite Nuffies M and A, most of the time, we would just communicate via email but every time I'm back in Manila, M would make it a point to meet up with me. We agreed to have brunch at the newly opened coffee shop named CO/OP Manila along A. Mabini street in San Juan. I've been reading good reviews about it so I was very excited to try it out myself.

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This used to be an old house which now has been converted into a very hip-looking coffee and retail shop which is exactly what the community needs. The first thing that I noticed upon walking inside was the quirky and really cute items for sale. I have a major fondness over notebooks and paper products so I couldn't help but stare at the cute note pads on display. They're quite pricey, yes but really adorable-looking!

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The place is very spacious so people can easily walk around the retail shop and later head over to the coffee shop side and vice-versa. I'm loving the industrial look with high ceiling making it so conducive for meetings and private chit-chats.

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From the time they opened early this year, the menu has been growing gradually. Adding more pasta, sandwiches and salads every now and then. Since we were there for brunch and most of the menu options sounded pretty heavy, we decided to get two dishes to share. The first was the Smoked Salmon Pasta with Anchovies (Php. 370). Al dente pasta noodles cooked in rich and creamy tomato-based sauce, anchovies, capers, asparagus and topped with smoked salmon. Surprisingly, it wasn't salty as I was expecting it to be. The pasta had a good bite to it making it so yummy. I'm really glad we chose this.

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We also tried the Beef Brisket Sandwich (Php. 390). I have to admit I had to stop for a while before ordering this as I've never had a sandwich in Manila worth this much. Sure, that's pretty normal when converted to Singapore dollars but a bit beyond the normal price when in Philippine Peso. This really must be a special sandwich to be this premium. Well, let's start with the kamote fries, I have to say that it was delicious! I loved it that I ended up taking the last piece without any guilt. *oops!* I enjoyed dipping it into the roast gravy that came with this hearty sandwich.

Moving on to the sandwich, a thick slice of beef was in between a piece of buttered toast. I have to admit that the beef was a bit dry which is probably why they served it with gravy on the side. Till though, I wish for it to be more tender as it came out to be a bit bland and boring for me.

I wasn't able to try the coffee which I wish I should have. Maybe next time as I'll surely go back to try more of their menu items too. Nonetheless, I'm so glad to have a new hang out place in the neighborhood every time I get to fly back home.

CO/OP Manila is located at 189 A. Mabini street, San Juan City, Metro Manila. Call them at 925-5885. 

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