I had the opportunity to reconnect with my high school batchmate, former bandleader, and good friend Louie Ocampo just the other day at the opening of his little boulangerie in Pasig’s Baranggay Kapitolyo. It was a couple of hours to closing time by the time I reached the aptly named Kitchen Diaries Cafe, but the place was still bustling and packed to the rafters, giving the rudimentary three-man crew quite a challenge—one that, I’m happy to say, they met with aplomb.
Ever since I’ve known him in our LSGH days, Louie’s always been something of a gearhead. This reached its peak during our early 20s, when most of us were starting professionals. He started collecting guitar gear with the steely-eyed taste of a connoisseur, and never looked back. He’d arrive at our gigs weighted down with a trunkload of guitar gear (because the sound just isn’t the same without it), although I hear he’s trimmed down on his working equipment these days.
This intense attention to gear detail and use would continue on to his latest passion: espresso coffee. I’m not sure where exactly his passion for the beverage started (I hadn’t been in touch for quite a number of years), but I know, through social media, that he recently bought a home espresso machine to play around with. He brought the talent he’d acquired from his time with the machine to the collective intelligence that is the Kitchen Diaries Cafe, of which he is the coffee master.
And KiD—the shorthand name of the cafe—is a fun neighborhood coffee shop, the kind that I think the Philippines should have more of. It’s small and cozy, with tables bolted into the wall and an interior of bright, happy colors and neat, whimsical decor. It is situated in the vicinity of some of the bigger establishments in the area; you’d probably miss the storefront if you didn’t know where to look.
But perhaps this suits them just fine, since KiD is an outfit run by just three people (as of the soft launch, anyway). There’s just a coffee master, a chef, and a guy working the tables. You placed your order at the counter, and wait for your food to be brought in. While waiting, you can sit down and read a book, or shoot the breeze with any of the crew.
Because that’s ultimately the goal of KiD. I called it a collective intelligence earlier on, and that’s precisely what it is. Louie brings the coffee knowledge to the shop, while one of his partners brings the culinary skills (their Buffalo Kid wings are delectable and spicy). An anonymous commissary provides some of the dessert items, while the same chef prepared the cupcakes. And as they go along, Louie and his crew are planning on letting people who are interested in adding to the richness of KiD—whether that’s in the form of art for the interior, more food items for the menu, or even performances, that remains to be seen. But I like the concept that this unassuming cafe brings to the table. It’s a refreshing change of pace in the industry of the Filipino coffee shop.
If you’re ever in the Kapitolyo area, and you’re looking for a bite to eat, a cup of coffee, and a story, head on to KiD cafe. You never know what you might end up discovering. And Louie makes a mean cup of espresso.
Kitchen Diaries Cafe
Unit 1E, 1st Street
Baranggay Kapitolyo, Pasig City
0905 472 2211
Photos (except for the last one) are from their Facebook page.