As breakfast food grew in popularity in the last few years, a lot of restaurants specializing in such dishes sprouted all over Metro Manila. It’s not surprising. I mean, there isn’t a rule that says pancakes are exclusively to be eaten before noon. Besides, if you can eat sinigang or whatever’s left over from last night’s dinner in the morning, why can’t you eat tapsilog for lunch or dinner, right?
But I digress.
Anyway, breakfast food being eaten round-the-clock has become popular and the Kanto Freestyle Breakfast Mandaluyong is arguably responsible for helping start the trend. After months of trying to find the motivation to venture into the deep recesses of Mandaluyong, Joseph and I find ourselves with a handful of other diners in this no-frills place on a quiet morning.
There’s a palpable sense of energy in the area despite the lifelessness of the surroundings. Upbeat pop songs from the latter part of the previous decade blare from a radio somewhere inside the screaming red walls. Customers keep streaming in, beyond the capacity of the limited seats, tables and the overmatched staff, though people don’t mind waiting.
This humble-looking eatery serving a number of dishes we normally associate with the first meal of the day has been at it for the past few years. It has garnered so much attention in local online communities, and is especially popular among those looking to sober up in the ungodly hours of darkness following a drinking spree.
Its name comes from the fact that it’s located at the roadside of a residential area (it wouldn’t look different from your typical karinderya) and there’s a part of the long menu where you can mix and match certain ulam.
The dishes have long drawn raves from satisfied customers (including some movie and television personalities), who swear that the low prices do not necessarily indicate inferior quality.
Consider the Kanto Boy Breakfast items, which include the main ulam, an egg (cooked either scrambled or sunny side-up), and tomato with pesto. The Vigan Longaniza Kanto Boy Breakfast has four pieces of the sausage, which aren’t too salty and fatty. The egg, though, was a bit too runny, but not enough to ruin the entire meal.
Still, at PHP 90, the meal is close to highway robbery.
We also try a different part of the menu, settling on the Goya and Chocnut Ganache Pancake. The chocolate oozing on top sends our salivary glands on overdrive and the taste of Chocnut brings a nostalgic delight. But there’s just too much sweetness and flufiness we can handle before we succumb to umay, but it’s a problem we’ll delightfully have, rather than spend more than PHP 200 for less pancakes and flavor.
Kanto Freestyle has created such reputation that it’s easy to get disappointed amid the high expectations. We haven’t explored the menu enough to claim that it’s indeed true, but based on our meal, this is one place we won’t hesitate returning to. That it has put up two more branches – one in Kapitolyo and another in Marikina – not only makes it more accessible; it also proves the fame is justified.
Kanto Freestyle Breakfast
San Joaquin St.
Barangay Plainview, Mandaluyong City
(other branches in Kapitolyo, Pasig and Marikina)