The Canton Club Is Blogger Camille Co’s Cool New Chinese Restaurant In Alabang
Tucked in the South’s Molito Lifestyle Center is a Chinese culinary gem that brings together authentic flavors from Canton with an ambiance that veers away from the decor that one usually associates with a Chinese restaurant. The Canton Club is not what you would expect from your usual Chinese eatery.
For starters, red is not the dominant color scheme—instead, it’s a bright, buttery yellow with touches of cobalt blue from a tiled display kitchen, and the red coming in splashes reminiscent of calligraphy on a wall in the second floor private room. What also catches the attention are neon signs that just go “nom nom nom” for several lines until the words “at The Canton Club” at the end.
wall art by Nikky Rivera and Aaron Manaloto
The design is brilliant, as it presents a fun, quirky vibe that fits the laid-back attitude of Southerners. It’s very millennial too, if you will, and it is courtesy of Camille Co, whose blog readers and Instagram followers love her clean, curated aesthetic.
Modern but legit
Camille says that she has long wanted to open a restaurant, and it’s a family thing. “We are such foodies. We grew up in a family that appreciates food. My mom would always tell me, you can skimp on anything except food. So, it has always been a dream between us siblings to open up a restaurant. I can say that The Canton Club came with such good timing. We found the right partners, there are six of us and we all have our own 'expertise' to bring to the table.”
The project was also borne out of a frustration to find good Chinese food in the south. Even as her family moved here, they would have to go all the way to Manila to a particular restaurant to satisfy their dad’s craving for what he calls “legit Chinese food.” The owner of the Chinese establishment they frequent in Manila is one of the partners, she reveals, so it is really the food they grew up with, in a more modern setting.
Camille laughs when she recalls how adamant she was about how the restaurant should look. “I was in charge of the interiors, and I made sure it did not look like the Chinese restaurants we all know, where you would have the weddings and birthday parties. The dishes, tables, décor, I chose those. Natalo lang ako sa lazy Susan (I only lost with the lazy Susan),” she laughs. “Even the name Canton Club came from me… I wanted to present the feel of the restaurants in SoHo and in other places where you can hang out with friends and get Chinese, Korean, and Japanese and pair it with a cool cocktail.”
Amidst the Scandi style that Camille favors, are dishes that are close to Filipino and Chinese hearts. There is Fried Rice, Sweet and Sour Pork, Broccoli with Beef, Dim Sum, and Birthday Noodles on the menu. House specials include Chinese-style Fried Chicken that is an heirloom recipe from one of the partner’s families—and it is a must-try.
Camille says that since they are still on soft opening mode, they are adding new items based on what customers look for. Some of them are vegetarian options, which are a boon for those who are into veggie-based diets and for those like her who are allergic to seafood. “Let’s face it, Chinese chefs and cooks like to sneak shrimp into everything,” she laughs.
One of their coolest ideas is to offer lunch sets that come in actual lunch kits, the stacked kind that one used to bring to school. These lunches come complete with soup, egg fried rice, a protein dish of one’s choice, and a chilled glass jelly dessert for only P380. At present, there are off-menu items that one can ask about, usually involving live seafood—which every self-respecting Chinese establishment offers. One of the popular off-menu dishes is the Salted Egg Crab. “We actually recommend calling ahead to reserve a table and at the same time, pre-ordering their food, especially if they want something from our live seafood selections,” Camille adds.
Aside from being a fun, Instagram-ready restaurant, The Canton Club is a place to get your fill of authentic Chinese food in a cool setting; and with its early success, there is already clamor for them to open in other locations.
The Canton Club, Molito Lifestyle Center, Madrigal Avenue, Alabang, Muntinlupa, (0917) 718-9929, (02) 968-9929, IG @TheCantonClubPh
Photos by Paola Aseron