Localized for the Filipino palate
Here’s the real deal: I could not shut up about the place. Post-work debriefing with my best friend? Elephant Grounds. Work lunch by my lonesome? Elephant Grounds. Weekend brunch with the barkada? Elephant Grounds. The moment I tasted the Tapa Donburi (marinated beef yakiniku on top of garlic Japanese rice and a roasted eggplant salad on the side), I was a sure convert—so much so that I proudly carry a black Elephant Grounds tote bag everywhere I go; I’m not kidding.
Operated by The Standard Group (Yabu, Ippudo and Mighty Quinn’s), Hong Kong favorite Elephant Grounds opened their doors to customers June 2019. At the forefront of the independent micro-roaster and café concept is Your Local and Hey Handsome’s Chef Nicco Santos and Chef Queenie Vilar. It’s next-level comfort food serving all-day brunch, home-churned ice cream and artisanal teas. A haven for coffee lovers, they offer specialty third wave coffee made with a base blend of beans sourced from Costa Rica, Brazil and Sumatra—roasted locally to ensure freshness.
Standard Group’s Executive Chef Nicco Santos had the privilege of localizing the menu for the Filipino palate and culture. He shares, “We spent a lot of time understanding the local market and how we can build on the already growing vibrant community of BGC. I truly believe local consumers and suppliers deserve more thought and intention. We thought of our market, guests and suppliers first, then together with our partners from our marketing team, we conceptualized the menu.” His must-try from the menu? The Duck Krapow paired with a Black Tie; end the feast with the Toasted Rice Ice Cream!
Start with their original selection of rice bowls. The Prawn Paste Chicken fried to a crisp with a refreshing papaya salad on the side is so fantastic, I actually forgot I was allergic to prawn. Try their latest dishes—so new, it’s not even on the printed menu—the Duck and Waffle (Duck confit, housemade Belgian waffles, duck jus, sunny side-up egg and maple syrup) and the Egg Salad Toast (egg salad, Japanese mayo, furikake and pickled cucumbers served atop a crisp sourdough slice.) Ask your server! wink
Indulge in their artisanal ice creams with flavors like Toasted Rice—essentially tutong—an ode to classic Filipino ingredients. (How the brilliant minds behind the restaurant concocted this clever creation is beyond me.) Their ice cream sandwiches are something else; a personal favorite is The High Societea, made with Earl Grey ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, topped off with Biscoff cookies. An addition to their roster of sweets is the Waffle a la Mode especially made for those looking for an excuse to have ice cream for breakfast a.k.a. me.
Truth be told, it will be a while before I find anything like Elephant Grounds. For the meantime, you’ll find me here, under the gleaming signage, with a cup of their divine signature Salted Caramel Latte completing another piece—or perusing another read. I’ll see you then!
Elephant Grounds is located at One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City. It’s open from Monday to Thursday and Sunday from 8AM to 10PM and Fridays to Saturdays from 8AM to 11PM. Stay updated by following them on Instagram and Facebook.
Photography Elisa Aquino
Art Alexandra Lara