Think about what you want in a great neighborhod cafe. You want enough space and sunshine so that it feels like you’re out of the home, and you need enough communal space for meeting up with friends or even business contacts. Probably more important than anything else, you want it to strike a balance between great drinks and still being affordable enough to patronize regularly. And if you’re gonna be running a neighborhood cafe in Metro Manila, Quezon City is a really great place to start. There’s a pretty equitable balance of homes and businesses, as most people working there also do live within the same city. These are the elements that lead to a solid group of regulars — customers you can expect to see in the cafe two to three times a week.
Enter Prominent, a gas-station cafe on QC’s D. Tuazon street. On first glance, Prominent seems to check all the boxes. The ambiance is bright and clean. The location is accessible without being busy. And the drinks are affordable, offering up the expected choices (Espresso, lattes, cappucino) alongside more experimental drinks like their new Honeycomb Latte and ChocNut Latte.
On this visit, we decided to try the ChocNut Latte. For the unfamilliar, ChocNut is a local Filipino candy bar that combines pulverized peanuts with cocoa with coconut milk. ChocNut has a distinct flavor and is inexpensive, which has lead to it’s popularity over the decades. Every pinoy kid knows ChocNut. It has also more recently been front of mind culturally because of it’s appearance in the Netflix anime series, Trese. And to be honest, this is probably why we chose this drink over the rest of the menu.
The drink itself was quite sweet, but not more sweet than a ChocNut. It’s essentially a cafe mocha with the chocolate swapped out for the crumbly candy bar. The espresso is then pulled directly out of Prominent’s newly upgraded espresso setup, which features a Compak E10 conical burr grinder paired with a custom Synesso S200. The espresso is a blend from Mandaluyong-based Plain Sight Coffee Roasters, dropping down into the cup to melt and caramelize against the ChocNut. Steamed milk is poured into the cup to complete the drink.
Taste-wise, this ChocNut Latte is a home run. It combines the need for coffee with a nostalgic aroma and flavor. Pure comfort in a cup. You probably won’t want to order it every day, but it’s an awesome afternoon or late night latte that you can go to once a week. It’s a treat.
Rounding out Prominent’s neighborhood cafe experience is their retail rack. Pick up a Kalita or Origami pour over dripper, filters, or whole bean coffee. But on top of that, Prominent if featuring another product that’s unique in the market: their own house-made workwear fashion line. The first to launch are a set of heavy cotton t-shirts and linen trousers. Both pieces come in a number of colorways and are embroidered with Prominent’s coat-of-arms-style emblem. True to the rest of the Prominent experience, the designs are clean, for day to day use, and balance quality hand-made product with prices that are affordable.