Art in Buku Buku Cafe
Along with the rise of the Manila indie culture, concept restaurants have been sprouting like mushrooms. These restaurants double up as coffee shops by day and dining hubs by night, offering a wide array of local and internationally inspired meals.
Once such dining place that has been gaining attention down south is the upstart yet promising Buku-Buku Kafe, owned by mother-daughter-son creative trio Lyn Santiago who heads the operations, Jessica Santiago who handles digital marketing, and Nicholas Santiago who spearheads all marketing efforts. Buku-Buku is a Bahasa term for ‘many, many books’. The idea of putting up a concept café that offers a full dining experience came about when founder Jessica traveled to the US where she chanced upon small street coffee shops with very artsy vibes to them. She saw how the spaces allowed artists to do poetry reading and live sessions with bands. “Traveling made me want to bring my experiences home”, said Jessica Santiago, Digital Marketing Manager.
More than just a dining spot, Buku-Buku Kafe serves as a ‘book reading space’ which bookworms will definitely enjoy. They also have komiks and zines, which the owners have been collecting for years – one thing that’s not usually common in most mainstream bookstores. Apart from that, they also sell prints, postcards, notebooks, and other unique finds.
Love for comfort food is the one thing that the owners enjoy the most. Whenever they travel, food tasting is on their priority list. Across their travels, they’ve explored different dining gems in Malaysia and Europe, the founders decided to add a well-curated full dining menu to their café. If you’re a meat lover, indulge with their Beef Brisket Tapa – a full plated dish of slow-cooked beef served with garlic rice, fried egg, roasted tomatoes with added pickled onions and corn salsa. Another best seller in the house is their Romi Lamen which is a creative twist resulting in something that looks like ramen but tastes like upgraded lomi. This dish is something you wouldn’t want to miss. Served with pork broth, roasted pork, pork liver, soft-boiled egg, shitake nori, chicharron, and kimchi. Apart from their staple coffee drinks, they also serve cocktail drinks that are perfect for a chill night with friends and live music.
Buku-Buku Kafe not only provides good food and comfort, it also serves as a space for young, independent artists to showcase their craft. The prints, zines, and trinkets in the café are curated by members of the team, who also participate in small press expos and comics conventions themselves.
The emergence of dining spots like Buku-Buku Kafe is a testament that the food and art scene down south is surely picking up.
Buku-Buku Kafe is located at the ground floor of Promenade Wing, The District in Imus Cavite. Check out Buku-Buku Kafe on Facebook (facebook.com/BukuBukuKafe) and on Instagram (@buku.bukukafe) for more information.