For many Filipinos returning home, grabbing a serving of adobo or a visit to Jollibee are pretty high up the list of things to do. Now vegans arriving in Manila don’t need to miss out on the comfort food experience that locals treasure.
Enter Juicesabel. Started by Isabel Lanas and her partner; Juicesabel started off just providing cold-pressed juices to the Manila masses, but quickly found a niche market in creating vegan versions of Filipino favourites.
Juicesabel is situated in the Collective, a funky space in Makati with a hipster vibe and some crazy street art. Juicesabel is right next to Wabi-Sabi, together forming their own “vegetarian corner” of sorts.
You’ll likely be greeted by Isabel herself as you enter the small but well lit and laid out space. Your first impression will be one of warmth and kindness and she will happily answer any questions you have about the food.
Juicesabels menu is small but sufficient; with local classics like Sisig and Longanisa sitting alongside modern day marvels like the double patty cheeseburger. So how does it fare? Well in a word – excellent.
The burger patty is a unique creation made with the left over pulp of juiced sugar beets and carrots mixed with tofu and fried to replicate a truly meaty like texture. This patty (or two if you get the double like I did) is then layered with a great house-made cheese which melts delectably over the edges.
Remember that scene in Pulp Fiction with the Big Kahuna Cheeseburger? “Mmmm, That IS a tasty burger.” Well the Juicesabel cheeseburger looks that inviting, and tastes every but as good too.
We also ordered the Longanisa, traditionally a meat-heavy sausage dish; Isabel has recreated the dish with the same meaty substance as the burger patty; only this time with some added spice to give it a real local kick. On the side was no-other than the holy-grail of veganism – the vegan egg. Juicesabels vegan egg is a nifty sunny-side up creation made of tofu and pumpkin puree and a generous amount of black salt.
Lastly for the mains, we tried the Adobo, normally a chicken or pork dish season with vinegar and bay leaves; this unique version was made with tofu and coconut meat and still packed with all of the local taste.
In addition to great comfort food, Juicesabel are making a name for themselves with desserts and cakes. We have been fortunate enough to try a few cakes here with our Manila visit overlapping with my birthday. The local faves; Mango Bravo and Ube Macapuno (purple yam with coconut meat) are replicated faithfully. The Mango Bravo was deliciously moist and the fresh mango on top balanced out the decadence of the cake.
Foreigners may find the idea of purple yam in a cake strange, but it works delightfully and creates a texture like no other when you bite into it. It’s topped off with macapuno (coconut meat) which gives yet another layer to the cake.
These are distinctly local delights, and visitors should definitely give them a try when in the Filipino capital. We also tried the coconut-based cookies n cream ice cream and it was outstanding.
This is just a small sample of whats on the Juicesabel menu, and yes – they still do cold press juice, as well as some of the best Aero-Pressed coffee we have experienced.
Juicesabel are constantly evolving and experimenting, so you’ll likely to be able to try something fresh and unique when you visit
HOW TO GET THERE?
ADDRESS: The Collective, 7274 Malugay St,. San Antonio Village, 1203 Makati, Philippines
PHONE: +63 906 468 3426
HOURS: Monday – Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm ; Sunday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm