J.Co and A Veneto: when desserts come before actual meals

After Manila International Book Fair, we decided to get some glucose and go somewhere with chairs, our feet were sore from all the walking inside SMX. We went to J.Co Donuts and Cafe in the nearby Mall of Asia because it was still early and not too many people were there (because God knows this place is known for two things: good doughnuts and notoriously long lines).

J.Co is an Indonesian brand that started operations in 2005. According to Wikipedia, it’s the fastest growing doughnut and coffee chain in South East Asia. The first branch in the Philippines opened earlier this year at SM Megamall (not sure).

Their space in MoA was small compared with other branches. Most of the tables were outside and when five PM came, people arrived from fudge-knows-where and it got a little cramped inside. Had to use whatever ninja skills I had to take a picture without anyone looking at the camera lest they start giving me that why-are-you-taking-my-photo look.

SONY DSCFrom left: Iced chocolate for Tords, very ordinary. Cafe Avocado for me, interesting taste. Strawberry frappe for Chabs, a bit sour. I think the lack of “wow” factor could be partly blamed to under staffing. There were too many customers for the crew to handle. If you look closely, on the bottom part of our drinks is a watery substance I assume is melted ice or whatever. Maybe it took too long for the whip cream to be added or the drinks to be served and voila.

When we arrived there, 80% of the trays on display were empty so we just pointed at whatever was left but waited for Al Capone and Oreology.

Clockwise from Left: Green Tease. Green tea with some foamy filling. Tords approves, I hated it, Chabs was partial. It reminded me of the green tea ice cream (not for me as well) we ate once. Crunchy Crunchy. Chocolate covered doughnut with crunchy chocolate rice crispies on top. This was not too sweet, sort of like an equalizer and I love rice crispies because they’re crispy! haha. Oreology. My second favorite, better than Cielo’s. The amount of Oreo on top was generous. Al Capone. Belgian White Chocolate sprinkled with roasted almond slices. My favorite, crunchy and soft and not too sweet. Also, J.Co’s bestseller and the first to be sold out. Why Nut. Chabs liked this one sans the peanut butter filling because it negates the sweetness. Choco Caviar Strawberry. Nothing special but looks cute.

We were fortunate enough to get a table inside the store so we stayed there for a long time and then everyone started glaring at us so we left. The queue was too long someone always bumped with Tords’ chair. We will definitely be back to try Avocado Di Caprio and their yogurt (J.Cool) plus more Al Capone! Maybe in a few months when the craziness dies down a bit.

For dinner, Chabs said her brother recommended a place called “HEBENETO” saying the food was good and not expensive. We looked for the restaurant in the food guide, to no avail. We asked a lady guard if there was such a place and she said none but there was “HABENETO”. She pointed us to the proper direction and we walked all the way to the other side of the huge mall (this is why my mother hates MoA, too much walking). Still, there was nothing with that name in sight. We approached another security guard, asked where it was and he grumpily pointed to a place beside Bo’s Coffee. The only thing we were able to do was laugh because the restaurant was called “A Veneto Pizzeria Ristorante”.

SONY DSCWhen we saw the place, we had second thoughts if it was really budget friendly. Thank God it was! The place was actually spacious but the tables were set too close to each other an obese like me would have a hard time walking in between. I observed that most spaces on the anterior part of the mall are really small (like J.Co) while those at the back occupy bigger ones.

SONY DSCCarbonara Pasta with Chicken. The serving was big, one order was good for 3 to 4 persons. The bread was less than ordinary (bad, actually). The dish was meaty and there were lots of mushroom and sausage and tomatoes and chicken.

SONY DSCChicken Wings. We were shocked when this was served because it was 6 pieces of medium sized wings and we expected a smaller order. It was good but lacked the kick of spiciness. Then we had to remind ourselves it wasn’t “hot wings”. Basically it’s fried chicken wings with sweet and (not so) spicy sauce.

SONY DSCSmall order (10 inches) of Bacon Cheeseburger Pie Pizza. This was good even if the crust was not thin.


Overall, A Veneto is very generous with their portions we were able to finish only half of what we ordered (yay for take outs!). Good thing I restrained myself from ordering Pesto (because I thought an order was good for only one). Plus there was Parmesan cheese on our table, this we abused.

SONY DSCNice shirt spotting: The Beatles. Aside from that, we saw two impossibly cute babies. No photo because the tables were getting in the view of the strollers.

SONY DSCAside from big servings, A Veneto also has good waiters. We didn’t have to raise our hands for a water refill and we appreciate assertiveness (Thanks kuya!). Again, the group picture.

SONY DSCWe miss the phyton. Our order was good for four people.


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