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Half Saints’ new menu turned me into a brunch person

Half Saints’ new menu turned me into a brunch person

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  • Featuring a special pie from the Tokyo outpost, a brioche that induced happy tears, and bread pudding that ends the meal on a warm, sweet note
half saints brunch

I have a confession to make: I used to not like brunch. Although many have advocated for this meal (from as early as the 1890s, when an article entitled “Brunch: A Plea” was published in Hunter’s Weekly, and as close to me as my own Nolisoli colleagues), I just wasn’t too into it. I didn’t hate it or find it repulsive, but I wasn’t a big enthusiast, either. I wouldn’t go around saying “I want to have brunch.” 

At least until I ate brunch at Half Saints.

I’m no stranger to the Quezon City restaurant and bake studio’s creatively developed menu (and I’d go as far as to say I’m a fan), but their introduction of brunch into their offerings also served as an education. 

[READ: A Half Saints approach to brunch and cocktails via F&B Report]

Where I previously thought of brunch staples dominated by eggs, bread, and sandwiches as safe, convenient options for days I just didn’t know what to eat, Half Saints proved how enjoyable they could be. The magical thing was, on paper, the brunch menu seemed to be filled with classics themselves. Think cheese sandwiches and bread and butter plates. But bite after bite of each dish that came to our tables the day we visited Half Saints proved there’s something new to enjoy here.

half saints mole
Eggs and mole
half saints grilled three cheese sandwich
Grilled three-cheese sandwich

Half Saints’ brunch menu is inspired by the bread and coffee sets often found in menus of French cafes in Tokyo, chef and co-owner Christine Roque told us over our meal. We were able to sample nearly everything on the new menu, paired with refreshing housemade soda.

The meal kicked off with a plate of eggs and mole. Admittedly not a common sight on brunch menus, but a bite of poached egg with red mole, goat cheese, sour cream, and mint over sourdough toast was the sign that brunch here was going to be far from ordinary. The spicy mole isn’t something you’d expect to enjoy early in the day (aka before lunch), but it’s balanced by cheese, sour cream, and the richness of the egg.

There are two sandwiches on the menu, which were both strong contenders for dish-I’d-come-back-to for brunch. First was the grilled three-cheese sandwich, which also came with a sunny side egg on top. Instead of tomato soup, which usually accompanies grilled cheese sandwiches, Half Saints opted for something simpler: cherry tomatoes and arugula with balsamic glaze on the side, which served to better highlight the mix of gruyere, aged cheddar, and mozzarella on sourdough. The next is the pastrami sandwich, which has New York-style pastrami with horseradish sauce, lettuce, cheese, and tomato in sourdough. This had a wonderful balance of flavors right off the first bite—proof that each ingredient was layered and arranged perfectly within the sandwich. 

half saints pastrami sandwich
Pastrami sandwich

Being inspired by French cafe concepts, the brunch menu also features more straightforward dishes, like their simple bread and butter plate, where diners can choose from their housemade sourdough, brioche, or whole wheat croissant. The choice of bread is served with a knob of butter. 

Despite the simple concept, there is nothing plain about Half Saints’ bread. This was a thought reinforced after I took a bite of their brioche with a dab of butter, which, in all honesty, was unassuming but nearly brought me to happy tears. The golden brioche was just so soft, complemented by the mild but delightful housemade butter. 

(L-R) Brioche, bread sampler, sourdough. I thought about the brioche again the morning after this meal, while I was on the road to an early morning shoot out of town, regretting I didn’t order one to take home.

For something on the sweeter (but actually not too sweet, which is to say, it’s Asian perfect) side, there’s the cinnamon apple bread pudding, topped with vanilla semifreddo and sesame tuile. It’s sweet but technically isn’t part of the dessert section, and is a welcome break from all the savories.

Another special item in Half Saints’ brunch menu is a full circle moment in the form of their pie of the week. The featured pies are originally developed for and served at the Tokyo Dome branch. The week of our visit, we had the spanakopita, a savory spinach pie with a chunk of white cheese. The pie has already been a regular on the Tokyo Dome outpost’s menu since it opened in April 2023.

Cinnamon apple bread pudding
half saints cocktail
Beyond brunch: Half Saints now also offers cocktails
half saints 20 layer chocolate and orange ombre cake
One of Half Saints’ new desserts: 20-layer chocolate and orange ombre cake

I posted about Half Saints on my Instagram Stories after that meal-slash-shoot, and friends who were fellow Half Saints fans were also quick to declare their love. To them, I had an honest reply: “I wish I could move to Quezon City just so I can eat at Half Saints more often.” And if I did, I’d probably enjoy brunch even more, too.

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