Alcapones, Jacky Chunk, Berry Spears doughnuts, anyone? How about an Avocado DiCaprio?
These are Hollywood-inspired doughnuts from J.CO Donuts & Coffee, an Indonesian doughnut shop, which is more of “doughnut bar.” It has a variety of doughnuts, coffee, blended drinks and even yogurt.
The first Manila branch was recently launched at SM Megamall.
Johnny Andrean founded J.CO in 2005. It now has 100 shops in Indonesia; eight in Malaysia, three in Singapore; two in Shanghai, China. Contemporain Foods Inc. (in the umbrella group of companies that manufactures Oishi snack food) chair Carlos Chan and vice chair Edgar Sia of the Mang Inasal fame brought the J.CO franchise in the Philippines.
While the witty names are very Western, J.CO vice president for operations Trina Lim said the doughnuts were made for Asians. They have a signature “soft bite,” controlled sweetness and are available in fruity and nutty flavors, aside from the standard chocolate.
The bestseller among the 30 variants is the Alcapone—ring doughnut spread with Belgian white chocolate, topped with slivers of California almonds. The almonds offset the sweetness of the chocolate, and gives the doughnut a nice crunch.
Chocolate choices are Jacky Chunk, glazed doughnut with dark-chocolate and chopped peanuts; Forest Glam with dark chocolate and cherries; Hazel Dazzle with milk chocolate, peanuts and hazelnuts; Oreology with crushed Oreo cookies; Choconutzzy with choco-nut filling; Chocolate Caviar; Why Nut with peanut butter and white chocolate.
Fruit-tinged doughnuts are Avocado DiCaprio with avocado cream and chocolates; Berry Spears with cream cheese, strawberry sauce and white chocolate; Blue Berrymore with blueberry jam; Strawberry Caviar Choco with strawberry glaze and choco dots (a hit with kids); and Copa Banana, dark-chocolate spread with a dollop of banana cream in the center.
If you want a simple doughnut, you can have the basic Glazzy plain glazed; Sugar Ice with powdered sugar; Funilla glazed doughnut with vanilla-cream filling; or Snow White, also with vanilla cream but dusted with powdered sugar. Mr. Green T has a light matcha green-tea flavor.
Most doughnuts are available in J.Pops bite-size pieces; each sampler box has two dozen minis.
Savory doughnuts sound weird but, surprisingly, it works. The Mona Pisa is a pizza-flavor ring doughnut with sausage bits, drizzled with catsup.
J.Club is a doughnut sandwich—halved doughnuts with a slice of cheese in between, topped with a pompom of grated cheese. It looks like our local ensaymada, but this one, Lim said, has four kinds of cheeses.
The J.Club is sold at P45; all doughnuts are at P42 each. Half dozen is P230; a dozen is P350; and two dozens, P500. J.Pops is P250 per box.
Coffee and drinks
Pair your doughnuts with a cup of coffee. House blend is the Jcoccino—Italian espresso, milk and foam. Aside from the usual latte and Americano, J.CO offers Tiramisu, Mochabella, Cappuccino Cherry and Hazelnut Latte, also available iced. Italian coffee is used, as well as Suwalesi and Sumatra blends.
Ice-blended Frappe choices are Cappucino; Caramello; Mochabella; Cappuccino Chip, Cherry, Avocado; Chocomint, Choco Forest—a take on the Black Forest. (“Frappe” is associated with another coffee company but J.CO got the rights over the Frappe brand, Lim explained.)
Non-coffee items are Hot and Iced Chocolate, Chocomint; hot teas; and Iced Thai Tea, a milk tea.
Fat-free plain frozen yogurt can be had with chopped fruit and nuts; strawberry and melon mochi; Oreo, Kitkat, Loacker chunks. J.Cool is a yoghurt parfait with layers of yoghurt and toppings that could be eaten like a halo-halo.
The dining area has a bright, yellow theme with cartoon murals depicting Italian coffee shops. With free Wi-Fi and long store hours (8 a.m.-10 p.m. weekdays, and until midnight on weekends), J.CO aims to give the younger crowd a comfy coffee-and-dessert bar to lounge in.