manila: chocolate from the bald man.

binky is a girl, not a doormat

there was NO way you could have told me in all the years i've visited manila, that hanging out on the sidewalk right next to makati avenue would be something i would ever do--and maybe even find enjoyable. but funnily, that's where i found myself one night, at max brenner, a "chocolate bar" and café based in israel, with shops in london, australia, israel, singapore, and manila. go figure. the manila shop is nice--creamy walls, dark woods, warm light, high ceilings, with pipes of hot chocolate running the length of the ceiling (wonkish!). the outdoor seating shares space with the next door coffee bean and tea leaf, and sits right on the very busy makati avenue. i doubt i would sit here in the day, but at the end of the evening, it almost seemed like a good idea.

i don't know if it's like this in the other cafés, but all the male servers are bald. is this a requirement, as the slogan is "chocolate from the bald man" (i assume that's max, that is, but you know, in accordance with the theme and all that)? and they wear sweatshirts, which looks hella uncomfortable in manila heat, even at ten in the evening. maybe that's why they were lethargic and unresponsive. it's a good thing we didn't order food (there is a full menu, along with the chocolate stuff), as it took over half an hour to receive our hot chocolate drinks.

max brenner chocolate

i ordered the equador dark chocolate with orchid flowers oil, in a "hug mug", which is meant to be cradled between your hands (it also looks like a bald head). "hot" is a misnomer as it was just lukewarm, but considering the ambient temperature hovering in 'preheat' mode, it wasn't too much of a concern to me. i am the first to tell you i know nothing about chocolate, except the difference between nasty and not. this was not. i don't know if i could actually taste anything special about the orchid oil, except for considering that vanilla comes from orchids, this had some definite vanilla overtones, but nothing particularly flowery.

since this was the only thing i ordered, i wasn't going to blog about it, but i decided to because of one event: as we were sitting there, a group of people walked by, and an elderly gentleman suddenly collapsed. within seconds, the servers had propped him up, fetched him a chair, and called security. our server was, with us, lethargic, but for the concerned group, calm and steady. in a couple of minutes, two security guards secured the area, and within five minutes from that, an ayala center ambulance (okay, less of an ambulance than a jeepney) worked its way through the traffic and whisked the group away. anyway, i just found it very reassuring that should i drop dead in the middle of greenbelt, the ayala corporation is prepared for it.

and, although i'm not a chocoholic, i did buy quite a few of their treats to take home as i am rather partial to the packaging of max brenner products. kawaiiiii!

max brenner tins and things

max brenner
L1, greenbelt 3, makati


thank you for always making me want to come there. that hot chocolate mug is so intriguing.

I almost got what you ordered when I was there before but changed it to the chocolate with chilli. It wasn't as thick or spicy as I expected but the place seemed nice. I've not been back recently.

I get that contraption they have that melts the chocolate chips which you then mix with some milk and suck through a metal straw (ok, that was so not poetic!). It's like paying for something you could do at home, but hey, I have fun, haha! You can actually buy the contraption. My cousin did and she melts her candy bars in them...

BTW, in Trellis we had the sisig...that's what we usually get :)

that is WONDERFUL. wonderful. i wish i knew of a place like that around here.

maybe one day we will be blogging by mail partners and ill get some max brennan stuff :)

hi santos, hilarious post, as always...apparently bald, lethargic and unresponsive are attributes prized in their employees ;) the packaging, like you say, is just too-cute-to-resist...

In Singapore they have bored servers too, just not bald ones...

I used to go quite often, because the name "suckao" amused me.

hello shuna! i think you'd be fascinated with all that goes on here--it's a nice mix of asian and western culture. and yes, that chocolate mug is intriguing! very organic.

hi karen! yeah, i'm not a big chocolate consumer, so i don't really know all that much about what chocolate should be like. i did know the trees in front were brown because they were dead, and not because they were made of chocolate though >snorttttt<. i think i said something about it too loudly because the next day they had marginally less dead trees :)

hi joey! is that the suckao? i love the name, it's a little nasty >:)

hi violet! it's a deal!

hi j! one woman's lethargy is another woman's strength, i guess....although one man's baldness is the same man's hair loss???

hi shukumei! ah, a kindred spirit.

Yup...that's it...suckao! :)

i just found it very reassuring that should i drop dead in the middle of greenbelt, the ayala corporation is prepared for it.

That's strangely reassuring to me too!

I love Max Brenner. I've only been there once to really hang out though. The other two times my officemates and I held a brainstorming session there. It's very conducive to that! I like the cozy feel of the place.

You should've tried the churros! They only serve it in the afternoon though.

hi toni! there were quite a few office groups having informal meetings when i was there. i'll definitely try the churros sometime.

i know of two or three other people who have wondered whether being bald is a requirement for all male servers in max brenner. so i did a little research and found out that it is. apparently, they are even given monthly haircut allowances. :)

hello qish! that is so funny. i wonder if the women servers are given the option to shave their heads as well.

Max Brennan's is devine. Every time I've been the shop is always busy which of course adds to the amount of time your in there waiting, but it is so worth it. Meals and drinks are simple gorgeous every last drop off them is just beautiful. And of course while you wait, you can checkout all the Mas Brennan accessories. A great cafe. A great time had by all.

also loved the orchid flower oil hot chocolate but desperately trying to find a hug mug do you know where i can order one from?

you used to be able to buy them through the website, but it looks like they are redoing their site and preparing for a us launch. i guess you could try calling your nearest store...?

hi my name is reece. I was just online and searching for the address of max brenner at phils and came across ur blog and got it. but i was amazed with ur comment about the waiters being bald! And are there any female waiters? Cuz here is aussie we do. Im just so dissapointed that i wasnt aware max brenner existed in the phils, watta shocker.. aniway thnx

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beautiful interior, menu is a novelty, staff attentive when we were there. am not a chocolate person but i can't help but put this on the list of where to go in greenbelt after dinner or after watching a movie. right, ryan? told you you'd love it there, too! --harmony c

fabulous....authentic especially the lacquered rib...though my last visit last month wasnt that good the taste.....what happened?...d ko nga naubos eh......why is it not constant in taste?......

tet, consistency is one of the things that is so difficult to maintain, but is so important to a restaurant. quality, max brenner people, come on!!