“WHEN I told my mother that I wanted to cook, she did not want me to,” said Flossom Kitchen + Café chef and owner Jessica Wong in the vernacular about her decision to pursue a career in culinary arts.
Ms. Wong began experimenting with food as a child, saying that she would sometimes assist her mother in the kitchen. Ms. Wong’s persistence and skill in cooking eventually convinced her mother to allow her to pursue her passion.
Opening a restaurant was a dream she shared with her childhood best friend, classmate, and now co-owner, Betrina Lee. They took up Hospitality and Restaurant Management programs at university, put up small food stalls in commercial areas, and worked in a café chain (for Ms. Wong) and a hotel restaurant (for Ms. Lee) before abandoning their regular jobs to establish Flossom Kitchen + Café which opened in November 2017.
THE FLOSSOM COMPOUND
The restaurant’s name was adapted from a flower shop called Flossom Place Philippines whose owner is also the proprietor of the Flossom compound in San Juan.
The compound’s owner, Mina Yao, found the space available and decided to develop the area for businesses that cater to events said Flossom Kitchen + Café marketing manager Janna Arceo. Aside from the flower shop and the café, the 600-square-meter compound also houses a salon, a co-working space, and an arts and craft store.
A pink neon light spelling “Flossom” mounted on a gray wall beside a display of flowers and indoor plants greets guests upon their entrance. The light airy space, highlighted by pastel gray, green, and pink chairs, has three dining areas — a main dining area, the glass house, and an al fresco area.
The glass house is available for rent at P20,000 (consumable) for four hours. The café may also be reserved for a minimum of 30 pax.
The menu does not focus on a specific cuisine, rather, it consists of the chefs’ personal favorite dishes with added tweaks. “Modern comfort food with a twist,” is how Ms. Arceo describes it.
“It’s different so that it’s something new for everyone but staying classic and true to what was known before,” Ms. Arceo said in a mixture of English and Filipino. “We make it to a point to present it in a different way that guests would not be afraid to try.”
Among their best-sellers, she said, are the Ube champorado (P280), Honey chorizo (P320), Crispy pork belly (P350), Baked meatloaf (P320), Molten Lava burger made with Angus beef patty and served with potato chips (P420), Grilled cheese sandwich served with either tomato soup or salad (P300), Norwegian salmon (P350), and Truffle and Egg sandwich (P300). Americano coffee is served free of charge from 8 to 10 a.m. It is recommended to finish the meal with the Molten Lava cake served with vanilla ice cream (P220) or the Tiramisu (P150).
In keeping with the name of the restaurant, all dishes are served with edible flowers which are grown in Pangasinan.
Food should always be “Instagram-able,” noted Ms. Wong: “The first sense that eats is your eyes. Before you taste or smell it, you see it first,” she said in Filipino, but Ms. Arceo stressed that the quality of the food should be sustainable. “Your Instagram-able food should have a concept behind it. You need to have good food, service, and atmosphere… If it’s Instagram-able but you don’t have those elements, the people will not go back to your restaurant.”
Flossom Kitchen + Café is located at 187 N. Averilla St., San Juan. It is open Monday to Friday (8 a.m. to 10 p.m.), and Saturday to Sunday (8 a.m. to 11 p.m.) For details, visit www.facebook.com/flossomkitchencafe/. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman