Ghetto Grub: Kanto Freestyle BreakfastJuly 1, 2019
Located in the residential area of Barangay Plainview in Mandaluyong, Kanto Freestyle Breakfast is a place where people who binge-eat come. This carinderia-looking eatery blends in with the rest of the area’s suburbia in the day, making it appear like your neighborhood sari-sari store. But come nighttime, this all-day breakfast place is packed with night owls sobering up before they head home.
The eatery’s name is confusing at first: its location is on a roadside, and there’s that promise of breakfast, yet where does the “freestyle” come in? The answer lies in the menu, and how it spoils customers with choice. The “freestyle” refers to being able to mix and match your viands, which range from bacon, beef tapa, Pampanga tocino, pork belly, ham and cheese omelet, just to name a few. If you’re after a contrast between sweet and savory, then you can have the any of the classic Filipino breakfast ulams with pancakes or French toast. You can order an entire set so each person can get a taste, but still get dibs on a dish that will satisfy those breakfast food cravings.
Each viand, sweet carb, and set meals are sold at ridiculously low prices. The breakfast meals that include garlic rice, two eggs freestyle, and tomato pesto are just at PHP 90. There are also pancake and French toast sets priced at PHP 90. The freestyle choices range from PHP 20 to PHP 60, depending on the size and type of viand. Sides such as pancakes, toast, and wedges are between PHP 15 to PHP 25. These prices, however, don’t compromise taste or presentation. During our visit, we ordered the Batangas Beef Tapa (PHP 90) as the standard meal, and the Fluffy Pancake Topped with Goya and Chocnut Ganache (PHP 90) as the alternative. We also got the Eggs Benedict (PHP 90) just to see how this otherwise pricey dish was like at less than a hundred pesos. None of these dishes looked PHP 90 when they were served. Each part of the Kanto Boy Breakfast—from the rice, tapa, to the tomato pesto—was neatly positioned on the plate. The Goya and Chocnut Ganache was generously spread on three pancakes, and were mixed in with syrup.
The pancakes and tapa did not disappoint. The tapa wasn’t too salty, and had a hint of sweetness in each bite. The pieces were cut the right size, allowing for easy eating, without overwhelming the mouth with flavor. The tomato pesto wasn’t just a plate decoration, and actually complemented the tapa. The eggs were decent, but the quantity was way beyond what we paid for. The pancakes were the highlight of my day: the goya and chocnut combination provided that sweetness every girl looks for. The thick glaze put a wide smile across my face, and gave me a feeling parallel to kilig. I just kept digging my fork into the pancake pile, soaking them more into the ganache and syrup that was spread across the plate’s surface. The eggs benedict looked impressive for the price, but I could barely taste the eggs, and the hollandaise was overpowered by the sweetness of pandesal. I have no right to complain, however, given how gorgeous the plates appeared, and the price we paid for. You wouldn’t believe that we ate the food on a sidewalk while swatting away flies.
As I sampled each plate, I tried to imagine how much better they’d taste after a few beers and/or shots. The food did not disappoint my sober self on a sunny afternoon, so I was assured it would be ten times more delicious under the influence. I look forward to dragging friends here come sunrise, when it’s time for breakfast.