“Tasty, surprising, chill.”
Those are the three words that dreamers and entrepreneurs Kristine Ongisyping and Jonathan Choi want to be associated with their growing project Bread and Botany.
I would have to agree.
If you’ve been dreaming to work or own your own restaurant or cafe soon (or even any other business), these two can provide you with inspiration. And if you need a space to put together your ideas, crunch the numbers, and fuel your mind; Bread and Botany is it.
Their menu consists of all things wonderful to the tastebuds.
It’s a good fusion of Eastern and Western flavours. Jonathan and Kristine admitted to being huge fans of Cantonese and Western cuisine, both of street and fancy dining. The two are frequent travellers to Hong Kong.
“We basically wanted to create this “Finer Diner” concept where we would focus on two things – sandwiches with international inspiration, and gin, an underrated spirit we feel is the next big thing. It’s a melding of the seemingly simple with the complex,” Kristine said.
It was honestly hard to pick out a favourite, or even to rank the dishes. Each dish had its own unique set of flavours to offer.
After much deliberation and reminiscing, however, we settled on the top 3 dishes – the Banh Mi, the Kyuchimi Fries, and the Cheeseburger.
Banh Mi – Braised pork, Chicken liver mousse, Do chua, Cilantro, Viet Baguette – P250
I am personally a Banh Mi person and even though I have tried several already, I must say that this one is the best one I’ve had. I had to remind myself not to consume it so fast as there were other sandwiches to try out.
Kyuchimi Fries – Triple-cooked spice fries, bulldog gravy – P100
Cheeseburger – Local all-beef Wagyu, Bacon Weave, Onion, Melty Cheddar, Special Sauce, Brioche – P290
My husband and I love bacon. It’s a favourite evil thing you could say, but bacon – artfully weaved – with wagyu beef and melted cheese? This just delivered. It didn’t feel too much in my mouth. I didn’t feel like it was too heavy or rich. It was really just right, but at the same time, it went beyond our expectations.
James So, the head of the artists in the kitchen and responsible for translating Kristine’s and Jonathan’s ideas into a reality, discussed each dish to us with passion. We could tell they were prepared with a lot of thought and care. The freshness and quality of the ingredients came through. They weren’t just served for the sake of it; they were created. It really wasn’t the usual set of sandwiches.
For example, my husband is not a fan of gravy (I know right – WHY?! HOW?!) but this one captured his tastebuds – and his heart. He kept digging into it to the last drop.
When I asked who the biggest influencers are behind their dishes, Kristine shared that they admire people “go against the grain, and people who cook with Science.”
This translates clearly into their dishes. The staple, classic ones like fish and chips and mac and cheese were nowhere near ordinary.
Fish and “Chips” – Tonic-battered sole, Tartar, Marrowfat Pea Puree, Potato Bun – P330
The fish and chips, for one, do not have the usual potato crisps that you would expect. The “chips” refer to the delicious potato bun that they used for the sandwich.
I think my husband put it best when he described the fish and chips with this statement: “Hindi ko alam san nagsisimula yung fish and yung ‘chips’.” The fish was so tender and it really just blended so well with the equally soft potato bun.
Mac and Cheese – Four-Cheese Mac with Panko Topping – P160
Meanwhile, the mac and cheese, another classic, was the one that tasted the most unique to us. The key for me to have a remarkable mac and cheese is to make sure it doesn’t overwhelm. Some mac and cheese can come on too strong, therefore making the person eating it nauseous or feeling full halfway through. This one didn’t do that. It was gently prodding us to take more after each mouthful. It was memorable.