Figaro used to be one of my fave coffee places. I would meet most of my clients and friends there. I would also opt to get my coffee there after a visit to the MMPI office in Ortigas Ave, Pasig City, for my writing assignments instead of the other nearby coffee place, also because they have this list of delectable real food to choose from -- yummy muffins, a really good sans rival (my little oscar, I think, is how they call it), generous servings of pasta and freshly assembled and panini-pressed sandwiches. I am also crazy about their bread pudding with vanilla custard.
The lighting in Figaro is warm and cozy, and probably because they serve real food, they have more of those curved cane chairs and marble-topped tables than easy chairs and couches. So, it's relaxing, but you won't get too relaxed you'd stay all day.
Back when I was working at The Fort in Taguig (y2k), I had a non-fat latte from Starbucks in the morning, then a flat white coffee from Figaro after lunch and in mid-afternoon... every single day. That's how much I loved their coffee.
If the local coffee expert I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs were to be believed, they have the best-tasting coffee among the bigger coffee places, because their coffee is not freeze-dried, packed, and sent here from another country. They're grown and packed here, served as close to the date packed, and ground right before being served.
I ordered the plain brewed coffee last night, instead of the latte or cappuccino because for some reason that baffles me, esp since most Asians are lactose intolerant, they haven't had non-fat, low-fat milk and/or soy either for many months now. With a latte, the milk would be about half the cup, so that's a lot of whole milk to take for people who can't take milk. It really would be unfair to let coffee lovers order fresh-brewed world-renowned barako coffee with packets of powdered creamer. So please bring back the non-fat and/or low-fat, and start serving soy!
It's not that I didn't like the coffee, which I found a bit more on the acidic side. I probably was looking for the fuller taste of espresso, which I believe is what they add the milk to for the lattes. I'll try that next time.
Oh, and maybe -- something can be done to perk up the personality of the staff in some of their branches. A ready smile always helps. A person standing behind the counter always helps, too. I was unfortunate enough to have had to call out, "hello?!" after clearing my throat a couple of times before one broke away from the coffee machines (there were two of them, one just watching) or the room behind to take my order.
I can't believe I am giving Figaro a lower rating than Burger King, but they're not in the same category. And just for this piece, it was probably more the experience than the coffee that got to me. I will definitely go back and order something else, hopefully, with non-fat milk.