CHECK IT OUT: Croque Cafe + Bakery at Arnaiz Avenue, Makati
This place is egg heaven.
Croque Cafe + Bakery
G/F Dominion Building, 833 A. Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Metro Manila has been seeing a massive influx of cute cafes and European-style bistros over the years, and it's come to a point that they've all sort of gotten lumped together into one big blur. What truly makes a great café stand out?
This place is too pretty.
Your eyes automatically go to the couple on the shelf.
Croque Café + Bakery might not be first in mind when looking for a café to leisurely spend an afternoon, but pay attention to this homey place along bustling Arnaiz Avenue in Makati. It might actually surprise you.
The day's fresh picks
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All the elements of an Eggs Benedict
Spectacular starts to any meal are always welcome, and Croque’s soups are instant standouts. Granny’s Onion Soup (P170), with a delightfully sinful slab of bone marrow (an additional P135) nestled in the middle, calls for you to dig right in. Toeing the line between classical styles and a sort of bulalo is this interesting twist on onion soup. It's impressively not cloying—despite the marrow and gooey Gruyere cheese. Their Coconut Pumpkin Soup (P150) is something to talk about, too. Croque’s quaint presentation adds even more pleasure to a dish most might pass up, thinking it was just mere kalabasa soup. Instead, you get extra-creamy pumpkin soup with coconut milk poured over a bowl of crunchy croutons—and that first bite makes you realize that combining coconut milk and pumpkin is absolute genius.
Coconut Pumpkin Soup
Granny's Onion Soup
The Dilis Arugula Salad (P195) is another bistro classic that borrows Filipino flavors. It’s a mélange of textures and flavors: The slight bitterness of the arugula is cut with a refreshing sweet-sour pomegranate vinaigrette, salty dilis, tart tomatoes, and salted eggs.
Dilis Arugula Salad
Fresh Pasta Al Funghi
The talk of the town is the pastas, which you must not pass up. Handmade and fresh, a fast favorite is the Pasta Al Funghi (P345). Its simplicity makes it so delicious. Shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, a generous amount of Pecorino Romano, and a beautiful 64° egg adorn buttery, perfectly al dente pasta. Less is definitely more with this dish.
You can tell that Croque’s dishes are made with lots of love. The Croque Adobo (P385), for instance, is cooked sous vide for 36 hours and is flavorful enough that the extra container filled with adobo drippings meant for pouring over your meat is unnecessary—enjoy it as is! The Shepherd’s Pie (P480) is another dish full of love. Loaded with minced lamb and covered with smooth, fluffy potato puree, it is the epitome of comfort.
Chef-owners Alexa Abala and Paco Lao have spent years fantasizing about their dream café, and it has finally become a reality. Adding their own tasty spin on French classics, this little café has a great thing going, and its originality has the ability to stand out above the crowd.
Photos by Hans Fausto