Kraver’s Canteen launches its first hybrid concept, Keepers.
While it was deemed as one of the essential services, the local food scene faced great challenges during the height of the pandemic. With everyone cooped up in their homes for months—eventually years—many restaurants and food spots were pushed to close their doors due to lack of foot traffic. To survive COVID-19, many adapted to the cloud kitchen business model, where food is prepared in commercial kitchens solely for delivery and takeout with no dine-in option. Among those that pioneered that in the Philippines is Kraver’s Canteen.
Co-founded by Eric Dee and Victor Lim, Kraver’s Canteen now explores a new hybrid concept through its newly launched gastropub in Poblacion dubbed Keepers. A dining setup suited to our pandemic-new normal milieu, the bar brings food, culture, and tech together, offering a new kind of gastronomic experience, both URL and IRL.
“We need to have this hybrid approach,” Eric tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “Back in 2020, everyone was on the screen looking for the next best food on delivery. Now, they are just looking for the next new restaurant. We are adjusting, wherein we are developing our brands online and introducing our diners to an offline setting.”
Eats, drinks, and blockchains
Located at Alfonso St., Poblacion, Makati City, the food spot features a menu of elevated Asian dishes that go well with its curated drinks. Keeper’s menu is divided into two sections featuring small-plated dishes and mains for sharing. During its launch, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle gets to try some of the gastropub’s best eats led by Eric and Victor.
What diners shouldn't miss trying is its very umami crispy salmon belly coated with miso honey gaze. Its short rib tacos are perfect for Korean food lovers with its kimchi cream and pickled slaw. Everyone will definitely grab their phone to capture the show courtesy of its tasty gambas and smoked chicken sate. Something for sharing are its L.A. Galbi and Bo Ssam, a plate of juicy bulgogi, the other one with tender pork belly, with greens on the side.
Its bar features cocktail creations by Lee Watson, Marco Viray, and Jason Soong of Kampai, The Spirits Library, and Gugu Room, respectively. The tech theme (more of that later) plays on the bar’s signature concoctions. One example is the NFT & Tonic, a refreshing drink featuring gin, lemon juice, elderflower syrup, blue curacao, tonic water, and rosemary.
“Keepers is shaking things up, adding a different dimension to Poblacion,” Lee muses. “We’re excited to work with the team in capturing the essence of Keepers into the growing nightlife scene.”
What makes this new space unique is its use of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Instead of getting a bistro card, patrons can have the Keepers NFTs, which will give them owner-style benefits on top of deals and freebies. Think of it as the “next-level loyalty program,” holders of the NFT can “participate in community-based decision-making and share in the success of Keepers.” This tech inclusion in the bar will not be possible without Kraver’s Canteen’s partnership with Commonwealth Labs, a Web3 startup that uses blockchain technology to help elevate businesses, together with Kaya Founders. According to Commonwealth Labs co-founders Gabie Tanjutco and Joshua Co, the Philippines is one of the largest MetaMask holders (a software cryptocurrency wallet used to interact with the Ethereum blockchain) right now, making NFT a good inclusion to startup enterprises.
“We are excited to help further build the local startup ecosystem,” Paulo Campos, managing partner of Kaya Founders, says. “Commonwealth Labs is positioning Keepers as the hub for Philippine startups and their founders to gather as a community.”
Keepers is open from Thursday to Sunday evenings. But to further optimize the space, Kraver’s Canteen is operating the facilities in parallel as a pop-up experience for its online brands. During the day, customers can enjoy their favorites from Tokyo Don and Krave, among others, in a dine-in setup.
“By launching Kraver’s Makati together with Keepers, we are able to capture the best of both online and offline market, creating better experiences and reaching more customers,” Eric ends.
Keepers is located at 5663 Alfonso St., Poblacion, Makati City, and operates from Thursdays to Sundays from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. To know more about it, visit @keepers.bar on Instagram or its official website.