June 22, 2009

Finally, The White Hat

I WENT to the new SM Annex at North Edsa, QC last week bec. I needed to buy a USB modem. On the fifth floor of the newly-designed annex (which is huge! btw), is the Cyberzone, featuring whole slew of computer stores and camera/TV shops, and stalls of the latest electronic gadgets, laptop sleeves and bags, accessories and all sorts of gee-gaws to please all you nerds out there. Well, instead of buying an inexpensive USB modem for my Macbook (the one by Apple costs P3,400...ulk!), I came home w/ a new digicam instead. That's what I get for spending too much time at Cyberzone! Hay naku! (The story about that in a future entry.)

(White Hat at the 2nd floor, SM North Edsa Annex)

Anyhoo, before I went to the fifth floor, I finally decided to go to White Hat, this frozen yogurt place on the second floor of the Annex. I've been getting invites from its marketing/PR people since its first outlet opened at the SM Mall of Asia sometime last year. I never went since, of course, it's far from where I live. So I waited 'til White Hat opened a branch here in Quezon City.

As far as I can tell, the owners are Filipinos, and according to their web site, they import live active cultures of yogurt from Italy and brought in an Italian gelato maker create their frozen yogurt dessert. Frankly, I'm not one who gets easily impressed by branding ("made in Italy!" "direct from France!", "created w/ American hands!", etc.) unlike other people. When it comes to food, taste is what counts the most, then plating, the service, and then the price.

(Cute posters of little kids wearing their yogurt dessert on their heads.)

White Hat only has one one flavor, the usual yogurt flavor, but the idea of course, is to put your toppings on it. I'm a purist when it comes to frozen yogurt. I don't like putting any toppings on my dessert. To me the toppings just distract my palate from the actual taste of the yogurt.

Now, White Hat's yogurt is creamy and basically tart as a yogurt's supposed to be, but this one leaves a sweet curl on the tongue. Maybe it's because they used an Italian gelato maker to create the dessert? I dunno. My taste buds go for the sour, tart, tangy and citrusy, so I wasn't digging White Hat's too much. But if you're into the sweet treats like ice cream or chocolates, then you will probably like it. (Those who like White Hat say it's closest to Pinkberry, the other froyo place in the States. And yes, the latter has a sweeter blend.)

(Some of the toppings at White Hat.)

The restaurant itself is mejo small and kinda clinical, but which could possibly sit about 20 people comfortably. What gave some life to the place were these posters of cute little girls w/ ceramic bowls of yogurt on their heads, worn, yup, just like hats! The people at the counter wait for you to make up your mind and are not pushy about the toppings on your dessert. Btw, it has a limited amount of toppings compared to the competition, although they have almost the same price points. (P85 for a small serving at White Hat, P80 for same size serving at Red Mango, original flavor.)

(A small serving of White Hat's frozen yogurt.)

What surprised me was that contrary to the white ceramic bowls in the posters, my frozen yogurt was served in a white paper cup, with a plastic spoon. The kicker was, as I was about to leave, I asked for a glass of water, and the server at the counter told me I had to buy the bottle of water. I'm not sure if this was deliberate on the part of management to push bottled water or bec. SM didn't give them access to clean potable water to serve to customers.

Anyhoo, while White Hat is alright, it just has a less professional feel to it (notice its hand-written labels for its toppings). Red Mango, has a lot more going for it despite being in the same price category. For one, its yogurt is really tart not sweet, and the dessert gets served in deep fluted dishes, and you use a real teaspoon. It also has more exotic toppings to choose from (e.g. almond mochi, laban ka?), the ambiance a lot more relaxing and classy, and yeah, the water's free.

(White Hat is also located at the SM MOA, Robinsons Place in Ermita, Rustan's Supermarket Makati, SM Clark Pampanga, and Shangri-La Plaza Edsa mall.)

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