(AUTHOR’S NOTE: This restaurant has long been defunct. Its former spot is now occupied by Cup Fiction Cafe, owned by Saab Magalona-Bacarro. Timestamp: 9 March 2017, 11:46 am.)
Whenever I’m stressed out or I just feel like doing so, I take long walks from one area to another. It’s both a form of exercise and a way for me to discover places I haven’t been to yet. One time, I saw a place called Raintree along Katipunan Avenue (near St. Ignatius Village) whilst walking from the Anonas area to Ortigas. I wanted to stop by the place, but I was already tired and it was late so I promised to find time and visit this place on a free day. Fortunately, I managed to get some spare time after a meeting with a college batchmate that ended early. I took another long walk from Katipunan to where Raintree is located, a few meters away from the Boni Serrano intersection to work up an appetite. It was worth it.
As soon as I entered Raintree, I felt the cozy ambience of the place. Most of the seats were soft couches, with only four stools located near the entrance. There were jars of loose-leaf tea, a variety of teapots, and their corresponding teacups displayed on on a shelf to the right of the counter. There weren’t much customers during my visit that I could even hear 105.1 Crossover (a local radio station that plays jazz) in the background. Parking space isn’t a problem as they have a large area dedicated to that; the guard on duty will even help you park your vehicle.They offer an ample selection of coffee and tea drinks (milk tea included), cakes and pastries, shakes, and confectionery such as macarons. I was surprised that they served rice meals, too. Here’s a little trivia: Raintree’s owner is the son of the Pampanga’s Best meat products owner. Indeed, the knack for business runs in their family.
Raintree’s staff was very accommodating, which made my stay even better. They suggested some favorites from their milk tea selection, but since it was a cold day I preferred a hot drink. I ordered their Irish Early Grey (P70 a cup), something warm to match the chilly weather. This is Raintree’s take on the traditional Earl Grey (tea with bergamot orange peels). The tea bag they used contains more leaves, giving the brew a fuller flavor – however, it tastes the same as the Twinings Earl Grey I once drank. I didn’t put sugar and milk in it anymore, and I asked for some when I realized this – only to find out that they don’t have them for hot teas.
Since I haven’t had lunch yet, I ordered their Beef Salpicao (P150) for a start. I didn’t expect them to serve rice meals as I mentioned earlier, since pastas and sandwiches were the only savory fare they had based on what I read from other blogs. Thanks to this visit though, I just confirmed that they do – although they’re not advertised as much compared to the beef bowls (of which the salpicao is counted as part of). They even had a promo in which every order comes with a free macaron. Finally, my order came and it was served in a large bowl which I found visually appealing. However, it wasn’t the traditional salpicao I visualized with lean beef cubes. Their version uses beef strips topped with green chili slices and chopped garlic. I have a feeling this was also made by Pampanga’s Best. The taste was rather average and didn’t stand out. Looking at the bright side of things though, this dish has much room for improvement in the future.
I managed to finish the Beef Salpicao despite its low points. I wanted to have dessert, so I ordered some additional items. Remember the free macaron I mentioned earlier? I chose their mint chocolate macaron to sample how their macarons fare, and I was hooked! I ordered a box this time (P35 per piece, P210 for a box of 6) and I didn’t regret doing so. Raintree sells the second cheapest macarons next to The French Baker’s P32 and the size is almost the same as that of TWG’s. The taste is reminiscent of Better Than Ice Cream’s mint and chips frozen dessert. A bit of a warning, though: people not used to eating mint chocolate might find this unappealing with a taste similar to toothpaste. Moving on, the macaron’s texture is chewy as expected of a quality one. The mint cuts the chocolate filling’s sweetness and is densely packed in both halves. It’s refreshing to the palate, a nice dessert to cleanse the salpicao’s strong taste lingering in my mouth. As much as I wanted to try Raintree’s other macaron flavors, it might have to wait for another day and another post.
Accompanying the macarons was their Lychee Milk Tea (P105 for 22 oz). It had the right amount of sweetness with the lychee’s acidic notes cutting it. They might have used real lychees for this one, and plus points for them if they did.The pearls were chewy – not too tough and not too soft. I’d order this as a personal favorite the next time I come back. From what I’ve read in other food blogs, Raintree Teapresso Blends has received generally positive reviews. I guess they were right when I visited the place myself. As a parting gift, I wish the business more power and success in the future. Check them out on Facebook for more details and promos.
Until the next review, bon appetit and please feel free to visit and like The Monching’s Guide on Facebook.