Is CO/OP Manila More Than Just a Pretty Face?September 1, 2019
We were warned. “Beware of CO/OP,” our friends said. “The place is gorgeous, but the food? Not so much.” So why did we decide to still make the trip? A good reason (more like, an excuse) was because we were bored and sick of our studio’s white walls. A change of scenery was in order.
The parking lot alone galvanizes all the praise CO/OP deserves. The exterior is superb with a wide and minimalist facade with the name spelled out in big, bold letters and the space held together by ceiling-to-floor glass windows.
The interior is visible from the outside. Its luscious variety of walls being serious eye candy for design enthusiasts. The most prominent figure in this store is an animal with antlers (not sure if it’s a deer, a moose, or an elk because I am a hopeless case at zoology), and given this tidbit of information, I’m sure you get the idea of the type of crowd CO/OP Manila wants to attract.
CO/OP distinguishes itself from the more common coffee shops in Metro Manila by packaging itself in lifestyle store wrapping paper. It’s a diversified spot housing a furniture store, hipster knick-knacks, and of course, food.
For starters, we had the Spanakopitas, which are deep-fried phyllo pastry dough pockets filled with your choice of caramelized onions, shrimp, and cheese, or curried kani. The phyllo was cooked to a perfect golden brown and flaky crisp—the kind that shatters upon every bite and sends bits of deep-fried phyllo crumbs down your shirt, as a surprise when you get home. The filling, though, felt like over-blended guacamole, with chunks that would make you wonder which ingredient you were masticating.
A pastrami sandwich came next with slabs of rye bread that were a bit too thick, it felt like munching on a cheese-filled paperback, serving it open-faced would have been a better option. The homemade Thousand Island dressing was barely present, and the sauerkraut lacked the pickled zing. The star of this meal was the handful of sweet potato fries—junk food with a slighter dose of guilt. These starchy sticks had an audible crisp, followed by a tender bite of sweet potato that’s deserving of applause.
The waterloo of this meal would have to be the dessert. Encased in mason jars are cakes that were disintegrated into a crumbled up mess and slapped back together in a haphazard pile of technicolored mush. It was offensive and tasted like it came out of the box and not even baked all the way through. What were they trying to do? Give us salmonella? It tasted as if they were trying to solidify strawberry lemonade and insult it in the failed process.
CO/OP may not be the best place to grab some grub, but it’s a conducive space to get work done—I mean this because we were able to finish a couple of meetings without much distraction (and complaining!). Plus they’ve got some funky stuff, too. Come here if you need a fresh change of space and a doable cup of coffee.