Cafe Kitsune, The Podium, Manila

@candidcuisine Manila wins this round lol #manilafood #christmas2022 #wheretoeat #tiktoksg ♬ Originalton – Jodok Cello 🎻

Address: The Podium, Ground Level, 12 ADB Ave, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, 1550 Metro Manila
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00am – 10:00pm
Instagram: cafekitsune

After a terrible experience at Cafe Kitsune at the Capitol Singapore, there’s very little to expect from Cafe Kitsune in Manila. Manila is known for bringing overseas brands on its shores, only to trash it a couple of months later with substandard ingredients and subpar cooking skills. Case in point: The Halal Guys, Denny’s, Putien, Din Tai Fung, Tim Ho Wan, Randy’s Donuts. (Man, the latter’s donuts are so horrible nowadays. You can practically taste the cooking oil they used to fry the donuts and the poor quality flour they used.)

So I arrived at Cafe Kitsune with very little expectations. The Manila outpost has no outdoor patio, but the spacious interiors made up for it. Still decked in Maison Drucker bistro chairs and stools, plus apparel and coffee beans littered here and there, Cafe Kitsune stays familiar as a brand at the Podium. Meanwhile, the food stands out.

Here, you’ll get a spread of breakfast spread — egg cocottes, omelettes and even soba noodles. Light lunch calls for garden salad, tuna tartare, chicken confit, croque monsieur — tuna rendition, which is the strangest thing on the menu. If you chance upon dinner, you’ll get steak frites and seared salmon at an affordable price of P650, hardly SGD 20. But what calls out my attention are the pork katsu sandos.

Hello. They’re warm.

Yes, warm. Not cold, Cafe Kitsune Singapore. While the pork is tough to chew on certain edges, the katsu is nevertheless bearable. If you look past the Kitsune flair, it is passable.

Meanwhile, the garden salad is salty. Yuck.

Pastries and viennoiseries are abundant, but they are on a larger side. The Hojicha Puff is a great afternoon tea break, while the Paris Brest is as big as a doughnut. The Matcha Eclair was sadly nowhere near what I’ve tried in Singapore.

Their Flat White barely scratches SGD 7 at Php 190 per cup. And while it is watered down and Cafe Kitsune Singapore’s coffee is more freshly roasted (of course, it was opening week), Manila has a lot of catching up to do on the coffee front. But, my wallet doesn’t seem to complain. It was a cheap cup of coffee.

Hits and misses aside, Cafe Kitsune at the Podium, Manila wins my favor versus the horrible disappointment that is Cafe Kitsune Singapore. Service is fast, friendly, and warm. Of course, you can count it towards the culture of the Filipinos. But at least, I don’t have to wait for 30 minutes to get my cup of coffee.