In BGC, HK’s Elephant Grounds Brings Its Famed Coffee And Asian Comfort Food
Elephant Grounds opens on June 28, and it promises to be the “next big thing” at the One Bonifacio High Street Mall. Established in 2013 in Hong Kong, Elephant Grounds rapidly became a favorite for coffee, Asian comfort food, and its chill atmosphere among the Hong Kong hip and artistic. For want of a better description that the uninitiated here in the Philippines may be searching for, it’s similar to a Starbucks but with a cooler, younger vibe—and more food.
A relaxed, chill vibe at Elephant Grounds
Think of great coffee, freshly cooked food, freshly baked sourdough bread, pastries and giant cookies; add its own in-store ice cream and ice cream sandwiches with imaginative flavors and combinations, and top that off with Executive Chef Nicco Santos (formerly of Your Local and Hey Handsome!) brought on board to develop the menu, and presto—you have the most exciting, casual dining, java joint in the metropolis.
Elephant Grounds is brought to us by Mike Concepcion and his team behind Yabu, Ippudo, and Mighty Quinn’s, so we’re assured of their enviable track record and how serious they take their food business credentials. Add to that Nicco Santos who is known for his adventurous takes on Asian cuisine (I still remember fondly the Hey Handsome! Beetroot Salad), and he will surely add flavors and imaginative twists to the items on the EG menu.
Chef Nicco Santos
I had the chance to talk to Nicco during the Elephant Grounds sneak preview for media. While he is all for brand building, he is happy that the EG principals in Hong Kong encouraged some tweaking on the menu to make the dishes more appealing to the Manila market, as well as allowing Nicco some creativity in how to define Asian comfort food. The menu choice that best epitomizes this is Nicco’s Tapa Donburi, a rice topping that artfully combines Filipino tapa with some Japanese twists. I predict this meal-in-itself will become EG’s all-time favorite, the go-to among the rice dishes.
Tapa Donburi, which I predict will be their best-selling dish
There’s also a tasty Duck Krapow with minced duck, and a Prawn Paste Chicken which imparts a very unique, but familiar veneer of flavors.
Duck Krapow, my favorite among the rice toppings options
There’s breakfast fare as well at EG, and I absolutely love the runny, super wet Scrambled Eggs and Bottarga on Sourdough Toast. I told Nicco how I liked that this one, unlike conventionally prepared fluffy egg dishes in most places, can be stamped a signature dish, one that EG could be known for, as no other place quite makes it this way.
The excellent Scrambled Eggs and Bottarga on Sourdough Toast
The Açaí Greek Yogurt is healthy morning goodness with slices of fresh banana, strawberry, and kiwi, and with thick açaí Greek yogurt found underneath the fruit and grains. The Yuzu Salmon Eggs Benny is their version of Eggs Benedict, given a citrusy touch.
Açaí Greek Yogurt and Fruit Bowl
Made in house, the Ice Cream Sandwiches have really interesting names, like Red Velvet Oreo Smash and A$AP Rocky Road. The EG cookies are humongous creations, similar in size to the famous Levain cookies of New York which, for me, remain the gold standard for cookies. But these EG cookies come very close, and I like how strong the Salted Chocolate tastes.
Red Velvet Oreo Smash
Elephant Grounds will be a favorite among those looking for their coffee fix but wanting it along with food and desserts that are more exciting and adventurous than those offered at your regular globally franchised coffee havens. It’s a wonderful and timely addition to our dining landscape, and I do hope it’ll eventually develop beyond this first Bonifacio High Street location. Got to spread the coolness and chill!
G/F One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, IG @elephantgroundsph