BY IDGE MENDIOLA
ILLUSTRATIONS BY JON TOLENTINO

Looking for the perfect post-meal dessert around the metro can be a challenge. Despite the many bake shops and ice cream parlors in town, there seems to be a shortage in variety and focus on quality. Many home-based bakers and artisans try to fulfill this demand, yet logistics (read: wading through traffic) can make the pursuit an exhausting one. What Manila needs is an accessible one-stop shop for all things saccharine. Enter Ayala Malls the 30th, an intimate leisure complex adjacent to the Ortigas business district. Quiet and compact, The 30th is not only a site of glorious dining options but also a destination for sweet sensations. From colorful ice cream sundaes and Korean bingsu to Spanish churros and French crepes, the options here will please even the most discerning palates. The best part? One purveyor is only a few steps away from the other. (Yes, why not try two at a time?) There’s always room for dessert, after all.

 

Ice Cream from Emack & Bolio’s

Hailing from Boston, Emack & Bolio’s was brought to Manila by the same group behind Berde: Timothy Kong, Ryan Daniels, and siblings Jaime and Paloma Urquijo Zobel. The famed ice cream parlor peddling some of the the most outrageous scoops and cones in the world. Their signature cones are rimmed with Froot Loops, Rice Krispies, crushed Oreos, and sprinkles. Fill them with a scoop or two of their bestselling Space Cake, Grashopper Pie, or Serious Chocolate Addiction and your day is made. Their first outpost at Ayala Malls the 30th is a little vibrant shop of fun that allows guests to load up their scoops with various toppings and mix-ins or even turn them into milkshakes.

 

Churros from La Maripili

Who doesn’t love churros? Both kids and adults alike can never get enough of dunking these little crispy sticks in thick, warm chocolate. And at La Maripili, this combination is made even more perfect. Their churros aren’t greasy and have the right crunch, which proves that they were fried in the right oil temperature and for the appropriate time. Previously only available in Alabang, the new branch at Ayala Malls the 30th also offers other variants, including sweet-filled and savory-topped ones. While you’re there, try their indulgent French crepes, too.

Fried Cookie Dough from Overdoughs

Ever found yourself gobbling up a batch of cookie dough even before putting them in the oven? Cookie dough offers undeniable comfort, even more when fried into golden crispy balls right in front of you. The inside? You’ll find generous studs of chocolate chips or Oreos and s’mores. This is one of the specialties of Overdoughs, a local concept that specializes in fried dessert doughs. They also peddle crunchy beignets and loukoumades (Greek doughnut balls) that are best paired with their dark chocolate, matcha white chocolate, or toffee sauces.

Rolled Ice Cream from Elait

Here is ice cream that’s not scooped but rolled. Elait offers a new option to a market yearning for a fun dessert experience. A custard or yogurt base is spread out on a frozen tabletop, mixed with fruits and sauces, and hand-rolled into tiny ice cream logs. Watching the whole process is an event in itself. Even more awe-inspiring is Elait’s artisan rollers who are deaf but well trained in their craft. Go for the no-fail Strawberry Trifle, the proudly Filipino Ube Flan, or be adventurous and whip up your own concoction.

Brazo from La Brazorria de Lasevil

Followers of this specialty brazo used to be able to hunt this down only at seasonal bazaars. Luckily, chef Pixie Sevilla, famed for her Forget Me Not Specialty Cakes, decided to set up their first shop at Ayala Malls the 30th. Though theirs is an unassuming stall with barely any ornaments (easily disregarded by the uninitiated), it is the source of arguably the best brazo in town. The meringue is pillow soft, and the filling is divinely smooth and indulgent. What also sets them apart is the variety of fillings they offer. Of course, there’s the original golden egg yolk, but ube pastillas, salted egg, and matcha are also must tries.

Bingsu from Hobing Korean Dessert Café

There’s no denying the love of Filipinos for shaved desserts. Halo-halo and mais con hielo are childhood favorites, while sago’t gulaman and guinumis are almost always present during summer celebrations. This is why when the Korean bingsu started gaining popularity in the country, many yearned to have their fill of a well-made version. Hobing offers nothing less. Its bingsu uses simple ingredients, yet obviously prepared with precision. It all starts with the shaved ice, and Hobing’s is delicate and fine—a perfect vessel for the generous servings of fruits, nuts, and sweets it can carry.

Ayala Malls the 30th is located at 30 Meralco Avenue, Pasig.

 

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