Photos by Karlo Cadang

If we’re being completely frank, we’re starting to look for options outside of boba. The milk tea craze is far from over, thanks to the many additions to the undying roster of international brands being brought over to our shores and even local fast food joints having their own takes. Our palates are thirsty for just about anything different at this point. Which is why news of FRNK – dubbed to be the first authentic milk bar in the country – setting up shop in the Makati CBD was such a breath of fresh air.

The quirky namesake is really just the word “frank”, minus the vowel. True to its identity, the brand is a purveyor of the straightforward. For one, about a good 70 percent of the drink is made in front of you. This practice is borrowed from Chanoyu or Japanese tea ceremonies where tea masters prepare their teas in front of an audience. Now, that’s theater of the stomach.

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Pop of color everywhere. Did you know that the mural on the far end shows the process of Jap matcha making?

Another proof of the brand living up to its name? Everything on the menu is made with authentic ingredients and healthy living in mind. FRNK has made it clear that this is not just something you indulge on, but rather a neat platform for people to be mindful of what they feast on. You’d be happy to know that they have a calorie count visible for all of their items, with low-calorie versions on hand. Plus, most of their drinks are made gluten-free and the ingredients are handmade (we’re told they use fruit honey all the way and unrefined sugar as sweeteners). The five main teas they use as part-base for their drinks are even flown in regularly from Kyoto’s renowned Morihan brand, so you know you’re getting the good stuff.

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You’ll get to see most of the action with your very own eyes
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Matcha gaming strong

Milk reimagined is indeed a promising and trendy premise – especially when it’s from the same guys who brought us BLK 513. Not to mention, it’s the Isabelle Daza’s first foray into the food scene (yes, all the flavor profiles in FRNK’s menu literally has to be Belle-approved). For the frankly unacquainted, here are the drinks we highly recommend.

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The Cereal Miruku comes with a cornflake cookie on top, which we were too keen to devour before taking a snap

The Cereal Miruku has to be our uncontested favorite by far. We shamelessly bet our tastebuds on the fact that this will be the drink you’ll order by default for comfort’s sake. You’re bound to fondly recall those days you woke up early for school and had cereal for breakfast, only to look forward to the part where you get to drinking the milk with hints and bits of cereal straight from the bowl. This is the only drink on the menu without a calorie count. In its place is a timely phrase plastered, It’s worth the calories, and we believe it.

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Your ube dreams realized

The Baked Purple Chizu comes at a super close second. Not only does it come with a gorgeously kawaii color, but the taste is refreshing to the palate too. We highly suspect it’s from the hefty mix of ube. Then there’s the coconut milk as base mixed in with cheese cap and blue tea pearls. We totally understand why it’s one of Isabelle’s favorites.

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Spotted: A Cinnamon Miruku waiting just for you
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Ain’t this drink a pretty sight

For cinnamon lovers, the Cinnamon Miruku is your best bet. What we love about FRNK is the selection of healthier alternatives they have in the dairy department, be it plant-based or nonfat. As such, we tried to pair the drink with nonfat milk instead of their usual fresh milk. On the other hand, matcha fanatics will go gaga over their Ichigo. It’s paired with homemade strawberry jam, basil drops (which are basically basil seeds in cubed form, think nata de coco), and our choice of almond milk.

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Blue Lava Miruku coming up

FRNK is big on customizable drinks, not only for the milk base but also for their sinkers and how much fruit honey you want to put in. We tried this with their Blue Lava Miruku which we had with Brown Rice milk and extra blue tea pearls. If you’re unfamiliar with brown rice milk, don’t be afraid of giving it a try! It provides an earthy tang giving the drink another flavor profile layer apart from its fragrant and saccharine notes.

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Mix it up for maximum flavor

Hot beverages round it out for this milk bar’s wide selection of signature craft milks. The Kokoa Spiced Popsicle is a spectacle on its own right featuring a chocolate popsicle that you melt in your drink for added premium cocoa sweetness. Pro-tip: get it with brown rice milk.

They also have a tight curation of wholesome pastries on hand to tickle your sweet tooth. The Flourless Chizu Cake still haunts our tastebuds to this very day – yes, it’s that good. Chocolate addicts will enjoy their take on the chocolate cake – the Flourless Kokoa. If you’re strict with your diet and want some smaller portions with big bursts of flavor, the Matcha and Kokoa Checkered Cookies and Japanese Kokoa Macaroons have got you covered. Trust us, you’ll have plenty of time figuring out which dessert and drink pairing work best with every return.

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Take your pick

We can’t imagine a time where milk was ever non-existent in our lives. After all, it’s been with us since day one, an ever-present force growing up, and even bleeding into our adult selves. It’s nice to know that FRNK knows we simply can’t get enough of our milk quota.

FRNK Milk Bar is located at the ground floor of Glorietta 3. Check out their socials @frnkmilkbar for more details. Want more stories like this? Click on this next restaurant feature!