Excursions Food

Chantilly Coffee

It’s a strange sight. Almost like a lush oasis rising from the barren desert, the Chantilly is surrounded by surroundings you’d otherwise describe as “countryside” – a dusty road lined by massive trees with canopies touching in the middle, overgrown lots fenced in with skinny cows and bleating goats grazing, a few chickens and fighting cocks thrown in, and a smattering of other businesses like the corner store with near-empty shelves and tables in the sun no one sits at.

ChantillyAnd then, just when you’re ready to get on down the road a few hundred meters to rejoin “civilization,” you see Chantilly.

A coffee shop and restaurant is nothing unique here in Dumaguete, the quaint and sleepy seaside city in the central Philippines, but a GOOD coffee shop that even borderlines on luxurious springing forth in the middle of the jungle? That is notable.

In fact, I’ve passed by Chantilly hundreds of times already in my year living here, but I never went in before today because it looks….don’t laugh…TOO nice!

I’m not exaggerating, as the building itself is painted dazzling white, inside and out, with white marble floors and white wooden counters and chairs. The best part about its appearance is the fact that the shop is lined with floor to ceiling glass walls on two sides, spotlessly cleaned, so you have a full view in – or out – to the country around it.

Inside, the décor is also cute cakeshop simple, with about eight small round glass table and one cushioned sofa chair perfect for reading a book on a rainy day.

Outside, the décor is just as organic and gorgeous, with two wooden tables adorned with green plush booths right on the shaded front patio. Chantilly even has a side deck with half a dozen more bigger tables with shade umbrellas. They keep it meticulously clean, inside and out (rare here), and even have an evaporative cooler outdoors (unheard of here!).

Walking in for lunch on a scorching day, I was pleased to feel that they have great aircon kicking, making it pleasantly cool.

I was actually surprised they had a solid food menu since Chantilly is obviously a coffee shop, first. The dead giveaway (other than the sign out front that says “Coffee Shop”) is the large glass display case in front of the shop, with the day’s colorful cakes, cupcakes, and other sweet. Creations in full view.

The prices are also comically low. The steak sandwich was only 60 Pesos, (about $1.20), as were most of the items on the menu, including fish sticks, BLT with egg sandwich, and others. That’s what I just ordered, but instead of adding in the French Fries for another dollar, I choose a side dish of mixed vegetables for only 70 cents or so.

The BLT with egg wasn’t huge (might have to order two if you’re really hungry) but well made with quality ingredients, and the homemade or bakery-fresh soft bread was great. I also ordered a blended iced coffee since it’s so hot today, but they have a wide assortment of espresso drinks and teas.

Chantilly will be my new go-to coffee shop with a view here in the countryside!

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Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post, Business.com, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo, Hotels.com, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.

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