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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WHEN IN CEBU: BRUNCH AT A CAFE !


     During my trip to Cebu a few months back, I did a little bit of research of the new places for me to try. I asked a few friends, and even reached out to the Cebu based blogger, "Babe for Food" for some suggestions. Little did I know, all I need to do was ask my brother's best friend since childhood, Shem, for the best places to eat at. 

      He asked me where I had eaten already, and rattled off some names of places at a rapid pace and their specialty dishes without batting an eyelash. I was just listening to the places and dishes he was saying, but then I heard him say something that made me yell out "STOP!". 

      "Go back to that one again, please?", I asked. "Oh that one's my all time favorite.", Shem explained. "You can't leave Cebu without trying the Biscuits with Gravy of A Cafe." 

       That next morning, Rina, my brother Ryan and I were on our way to pick up Shem for Brunch at A Cafe.


        A Cafe is a part of the Abaca Group, which owns the popular Abaca Restaurant, Maya Mexican Restaurant, Italian restaurant, "Tavolata" and Abaca Boutique Resort.

           Although we got there roughly around 11 in the morning, the dining area inside was already quite full, reaffirming what Shem had been telling us, about their breakfast menu being very popular in Cebu. 

       Design-wise, they kept it rather minimalist, yet the place exuded elegance and class. Wooden flooring against white walls, with a few accents here and there made A Cafe an ideal place to spend your morning. 


THE FOOD


            Rina ordered the Eggs Benedict (P335), which was a little bit surprising because she normally needs rice in her breakfast meals. I think she was anticipating that i'd be stopping by other places on our way home (*Cough Cough* Harbor City *Cough Cough*), in an effort to make the most of my time at Cebu.

         The Eggs Benedict came on top of a crostini (which I'm suspecting was sourdough), which gave it a new dimension of crispiness as opposed to the the traditional English muffin. The savoriness of the shaved ham was complimented by the delicious hollandaise sauce, which gave it the slights tinge of tartness. 


        Cutting the Eggs Benedict right through the middle, It was clear that the poached egg was cooked to perfection. The yolk simply gushed out of the egg and gave the dish a nice creaminess as well. 

      Plain and simply, this was fantastic. 

(I have no idea whose hand that was. But let's just say, Rina was not pleased)

            My brother ordered the Angus Beef and Roasted Onion Home Style Meat Pie (P475). I was a little bit worried when I first saw it, because the pie crust seemed a little thick. It made me wonder if it was dry as well.


             When Ryan cut through the pie, all those fears were dispelled. The crust may have looked rather thick, it was actually quite flakey and buttery. The Angus Beef was tender and moist, with the onion bringing out the flavor of the meat. The pie crust made it heavy enough to not eat with rice. Though it came with the a side of gravy, the few bites that I had (Ryan shelled out P475 for this, so he was understandably quite stingy with it)



          Then came the moment I had been waiting for.. The Biscuits and Gravy (P395). Shem told me that if I wanted him to order something else so I could feature more dishes in my blog... FAT CHANCE. 

       He had taken his Canada based sister her a few weeks back, and made the ultimate sacrifice of ordering something else, just so they would have more variety.. Something he's still bitter about till this very day. And though he's a resident of Cebu and can pretty come here whenever he wants, Shem didn't care. He would not be denied of his Biscuits and Gravy once again.  



           You may wonder what attracted me to this dish. which admittedly sounds so simple. Yes, the biscuit itself is heavenly. It's soft, and had a gorgeous fluffy texture to it.

      But what brought this dish to a new level of awesomeness, was the gravy. The creamy white herb gravy could have stood on its own, but A Cafe decided to throw a little twist to the dish. 

       It added crumbled country sausage. And the rest was history. 

      The sausage gave the gravy a meaty flavor and had a little bit of heat to it that rounded the dish out. 



             Knowing full well that I'd be going back to Manila the following day, I knew I had to savor every last morsel of this dish. It was phenomenal. Oh I left the green leafy thing though. 

DESSERT


        For Dessert, we had the Bread and Butter Pudding, which was served with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream on top. This had bits of cranberry melded into the hot bread pudding. 


           The steaming pudding melded with the sweetness of the fruit and was blanketed by the creaminess of the ice cream.. You had yourself one incredible way to finish your meal. 

Me and my Biscuits & Sausage.. During happier times

             A Cafe is pricey, even for Manila standards, so the mere fact that it's thriving in Cebu is a testament to the quality of food that it serves. One doesn't think money will go to waste for as long as they are satisfied with their meal.. Which we all were. DEFINITELY something I'd SWIM to Cebu for.  

OTHER PIX


Al Fresco area for smokers



Eye Catching Chandelier


My brother Ryan, our Host Shem, and me. 

MENU



A Cafe is located at:
Crossroads, Banilad Cebu City 6000, Philippines
For more info on A Cafe and The Abaca Group,
 Check out there website: www.theabacagroup.com

11 comments:

  1. I've been dying to try the eggs benedict there since forever. Heard it's the best. I love poached eggs. And evrything else u had looked lovely as well.

    Babe for Food - your BFF in Cebu dining! :)
    babeforfood.blogspot.com

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    1. Lemme know when you've done your review, Justinne :)

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  2. looks so good but kinda pricey

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    1. That's a fairly accurate statement BW :) hehe

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  3. This post just made me miss Cebu and its great food! When in Cebu, food trips are a must! :)

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  4. This is just the sort of place I'd love to keep coming back to -- I adore breakfast food and can have it all day! Everything you ordered looks perfect, especially the Eggs Benedict! Plus, they serve BISCUITS! No one (as far as I know) serves biscuits in Manila anymore, not since McDonald's switched to (fake!) English muffins for their breakfast. If you ever go to Angeles, try the SOS (short for S__t on a Shingle): it's basically creamed beef on toast, but you can have it on biscuits, instead. I believe that's what A Cafe's dish was inspired by. One of the places that serves SOS is VFW Canteen, which is a diner-type place inside Clark. At Cottage Kitchen, they also have a version with sausage instead of ground beef, which I love. The problem is, since it's a Cajun restaurant, the sausage version is very spicy and you probably can't eat it. You might like the original creamed beef version, though! :-)

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    1. Thank you so much for the suggestions again, Katrina! I love your comments!!

      VFW Canteen and Cottage Kitchen.. two places that i just research now cuz of you hehe.. both sound amazing!!

      Thanks again!!

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  5. I love going to Pampanga for food trips! I've been there many times for the sole purpose of eating, but there are still many places I've yet to try. But since it's just a little over an hour's drive away, it's easy to keep returning. I was just there last month, in fact. You should go! Spanky's from there -- ask him for tips. :-) One of my favorite restaurants there is Cottage Kitchen. I love Cajun/Creole/Southern cuisine, and there is NO place in Manila that serves it. (I do not count New Orleans.) Cottage Kitchen has a loooong menu that's fun to read, with virtually every dish you could think of from that region. The owner, a retired US Army guy from the South, is very friendly and happy to talk about his food. Of course, many dishes are spicy, but not most.

    Another fave in Pampanga is C'Italian, but since the chef has moved to Manila and opened My Kitchen by Chef Chris in Paco, now there's no need to go to Pampanga for the original panizza and excellent homemade sausages.

    I'm so relieved you like my comments, Richie, because I love to discuss food, and I tend to be very opinionated about it, not to mention, verbose! ;-)

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  6. Thanks to this post, I know now what to order (i.e., Biscuits and Gravy) at A Cafe. And the way you described, I'll probably not share it if I tag my friends along. ;)

    Should you find yourself back in Cebu, I'll invite you and Justinne (BFF) and some other foodies to a 'karenderya' crawl - Entoy's Bakasihan in Cordova, Doming's Ngohiong in Guadalupe, Yakski BBQ, among many others. Cheers!

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    1. Sounds delicious, brennan! Let's do it!

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