Life can be very stressful for many people, prompting them to find different outlets to vent or unwind. Among the most efficient methods is adopting a pet to help ease everyday stress. Tens of thousands of Filipinos invest in cats, dogs, birds, and more as they offer a sense of comfort and companionship that’s sometimes hard to come by.
However, not everyone is willing to take care of pets yet still wants to experience the joy they bring. Maria Cedilla, an entrepreneur and pet lover, used this inspiration to open a pet cafe with interactive pets where guests can enjoy good food and bond with their furry companions in the restaurant.
She dubbed the safe space The Playpen.
“It’s a place where people, dogs, cats can come together to bond, eat and play together,” she said.
The location was originally in Makati, but the area wasn’t pet-friendly, forcing Cedilla to relocate the restaurant to Madison Square, San Juan City, as the city is very friendly to pets.
Upon entering the restaurant, a friendly Japanese Spitz named Kobe would stand up from her cage to lick people’s hands as a greeting.
Once inside, a pomeranian named Rose approaches and asks guests to carry her. Accompanying her is an army of cats and three lovebirds in a cage, all wanting attention.
The restaurant has a nature mixed with hip-hop interactive feel to it as the diners sit on the floor on fake grass mats and pillows, allowing them to interact with the roaming animals, making the dining experience very interesting.
Guests can even bring their pets to interact with the animals inside the cafe. There’s also a menu for the owners to pick the food for their pets.
In the meantime, the menu apt for human consumption contains rice meals, steaks, burgers, chicken wings, and even Korean food to appeal to a broader range of audiences and ride along the ever-growing K-pop trend in the Philippines. The restaurant initially followed an Italian concept, serving only pasta and coffee. But since it moved to San Juan, it has expanded its menu.
The Playpen head chef Hanna Mananquil served up two of the restaurant’s specials during my visit to the restaurant. First was the pork bibimbap served with kimchi, fried egg, carrots, cabbage, hot rice smothered with Korean BBQ sauce, and pork cooked in a samgyup fashion.
The pork bibimbap rice was perfectly cooked, with the meat and vegetables’ flavors mixing well together, making it a filling meal.
Next was the fried honey garlic chicken wings, which can be unlimited. The wings were juicy and cooked to a crisp, and the marinate was spot on as the flavors went into the flesh, giving it a new depth of flavor.
Customers don’t have to worry about their budget when going to the restaurant because the prices for their dishes are reasonable.
So far, the people who went to the restaurant or have ordered through foodpanda delivery gave positive feedback through their Facebook page and wish to order again soon.
Cedilla plans on expanding further branches of the establishment.