Common Ground: Inspired by a Miami Neighborhood, This BGC Cafe Blends Street Art with an Inclusive Menu

Fat Seed Café + Roastery wants to be a destination that embraces all communities.

Since its opening in 2018, The Fat Seed Café + Roastery earned a warm reception for its vibrant interiors, extensive menu appealing to different tastebuds, and creative take on coffee shops. With a name coming from the idea of a seed planted in well-nourished soil, they are committed to their mission of bringing people together.

“When you’re trying to create a lifestyle coffee shop, you have to have everything where you can see from start to finish,” founder and owner Bryant Dee explains. The store has to have life that no matter the background or purpose of visiting, customers will leave with a smile on their faces. “I want them to feel welcome… [the café] is kind of like a common ground for everyone.”

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Murals painted by visual artist Jaime Pacena II. (Photo by Floyd Jhocson of STUDIO 100)

Outpouring of art

Having worked in Miami for a year, Dee was inspired to bring the lively neighborhood of Wynwood—its colorful murals, art galleries, stylish bistros, and artisanal eateries—to his coffee shop. “The community is very centered around people who care about the quality of food and drinks, who also know how to genuinely have a good time.”

Visual artist and video director Jaime Pacena II painted the murals on the café’s walls. “That’s how we view our aesthetic energy… vibrant colors [that] also seem to work when you’re in a tropical area,” Dee affirms.

Apart from the graphic artwork, a beautiful antler chandelier draws attention. It relates to the Jackalope, a mythical animal of North American folklore, which serves as the café’s mascot. The choice was born out of serendipity—a random trophy in the store that eventually established itself as the café’s identity. While the owner admits there is no direct connection with the concept, he counters, “it depends on what spirit animal speaks with you.”

L-R: Tuna Poke Bowl, Plant-based Scrambled Egg on Toast, and Seafood-style Paella Adlai Risotto. (Photo by Floyd Jhocson of STUDIO 100)

For all palates

Taking off from the identity of inclusivity, Dee crafted the menu such that anyone can find something to eat and enjoy. No matter if they are vegetarian, craving Filipino breakfast, an Italian dish, The Fat Seed has a little bit of everything to offer.

Among their new highlight dishes is the Plant-based Scrambled Egg on Toast. Tofu and soft turmeric are mashed to resemble eggs. Together with cherry tomatoes and pesto, it is a creative take on the popular avocado toast. “I’m happy to say we’re one of the first people who are selling that,” he claims.

Another of their must-try is the Seafood-style Paella Risotto which is made with Adlai rice. Similar to barley, the rice has a nice, al dente texture “since we wanted to find something that worked with seafood, we decided to make like a saffron-style rice,” Dee explains.

One of their most well-known selections is the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Ube Waffles. From the buttermilk marinade, the egg yolk sauce, to the maple syrup, all these make for an interesting dish. “We’re not afraid to mix flavors together. These are things that we want to push the boundaries in terms of the tasting experience.”

To complement these dishes, The Fat Seed offers specialty coffee, beer, wine, and cocktails. While they source coffee of different global origins, they proudly support local ones. They even have the Mt. Apo series featuring rich-tasting and aromatic flavors Honey (chocolate, walnut, tamarind), Semiwashed (cashew nuts, cacao, and spice), and Natural (milk chocolate, orange, and jackfruit).

What makes the identity of their coffee distinct is Dee’s preferences for chocolates, fruits, roast level (medium to medium-dark), and the “kick.” To obtain the latter, he takes in the Robusta coffee of Ilocos for its sweetness, heaviness, and the strong ‘kick.’

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Cups of creativity

For Dee, inspiration comes from everywhere. “I look at what’s out there and I like each one of them [but] I wanted to build something of my own.” When he sees a common dish, tempura for instance, he takes its basic aspects and adds his twist on it. Be it the batter, the way it was fried, and even its shape, there is always something he can add his creativity on.

He associates such a process with Math which he admits to being passionate about. “I derive the recipe, break it down [like an] algebraic equation, and then convert it to another algebraic equation and use the same philosophy, the same logic behind it,” Dee says about the way they work. “For me, you should always give customers something that they cannot make at home.”

Brewing Growth

Soon, the café will open branches in Makati, including their flagship store. “We’re going to try to make waves in the food and beverage industry and that’s what we want to do,” Dee says. It may be a challenge as, like other cafés and restaurants, they are fighting to survive through the pandemic.

“My customers and my staff are the two things that I value the most in this whole restaurant industry,” the restaurateur says. With his compassionate and forward-thinking leadership, it won’t be a surprise to see The Fat Seed Café + Roastery reach greater heights while growing a community.

The full story is in Volume 3 of Lifestyle Asia 2021

Photographs by Floyd Jhocson of STUDIO 100

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