This Home Bakery's Famous Cheese Cupcakes Are Now in Kapitolyo
Grab them to go, but stay for the lechon sandwich.
Three Brixton Building, 3 Brixton Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) One good thing about being a coffee and pastry addict in Metro Manila is you’ll never run out of cafés. But it’s also this abundance of options that makes finding the right café, the one with the perfect combination of good food, drinks, and that certain vibe that fits your particular taste quite difficult. If you yearn for a homey hideaway with good coffee and standout pastries and meals, then Bakere Café could be right up your alley.
Bakere (pronounced like “bakery”) first started as a home-based bakeshop, offering mouthwatering cheese cupcakes and ensaymada baked by Eleanor or Tita E (hence, “Baker E”). Their pastries have rightfully gained a cult following, enough for her son RJ Galang to dream of putting up a sit-down place to showcase his mom’s baked goods. “Her stuff was good and people were picking up from the house, and the people who do taste the cheese cupcake and the ensaymada, they become fans and advocates of it,” shares RJ. “So I thought it needed to be more accessible. I needed a pickup point other than our house.”
That planned pickup point is now a minimalist yet homey café along Brixton Street in Kapitolyo. RJ shares that while he wanted to keep décor simple, friends, relatives, and of course, his mom pitched in their own ideas and offered their own knick-knacks which he couldn’t refuse. “I wanted it to feel like there's a story behind most of the stuff,” says RJ. “I want people to think ‘maybe if I ask they'll tell me.’ And it also feels like home.”
Just like how most of the décor in Bakere Café tell a story (the painting, for one, is by RJ’s cousin and the vases are from his mom’s attic), the menu, too is composed of personal favorites of the family. RJ worked with his cousin Chef Miko Calo (who used to do Underground Supper Club with him) to conceptualize the menu, wanting it to showcase not just Eleanor’s pastries but also her cooking. “Since all the pastries are by my mom, we figured we'd do a menu that's still inspired by her,” shares RJ. “So if you look at the menu, it's really simple. It's everything that she would serve us at home. We made the menu based on that and we got her input din so it'd taste just like her [cooking].”
It doesn’t get homier than the Carbonara (P325), with a simple cream-based sauce made richer by cheese. This version doesn’t have any hidden twists to it, but you get the feeling that this is carbonara like how your own mom would do it, and it’s that taste of nostalgia that makes this memorable.
But if you’re up for something heftier, head straight for the BXU (P365), or the Butuan Lechon Sandwich, aptly named after the airport code for Butuan Airport. RJ’s family hails from Butuan, Agusan del Norte, a fact that he is immensely proud of, and this sandwich is his tribute to Butuan-style lechon. “In Visayas and Mindanao, the further down you go, the more potent the seasoning of the lechon is,” RJ shares. The lechon belly stuffed in the BXU explodes with intense flavor from a marinade of spices, herbs, and the distinct zesty heat of tanglad or lemongrass. This is then tempered with a slaw of carrots, radishes, and cabbage that’s been pickled in a sweet-sour bahalina or coconut sap vinegar from Mindanao. It’s similar to how you would eat Butuan lechon, dipped in vinegar instead of sarsa—but the warm toasted bread makes it an entirely new experience altogether.
Grilled Ensaymada and Chocolate Sandwich
Of course, Bakere’s famous pastries are here—RJ shares that they still bake them at their home then deliver them to the café. Their ensaymada takes on new life as Grilled Ensaymada (P95), which we recommend you get as the Grilled Ensaymada and Chocolate Sandwich (P220). Sandwiched between caramelized buttery ensaymada is melted dark chocolate, similar to tablea. For a full chocolate experience, pair it with Bicerin (P155). “The bicerin was our favorite in New York,” shares RJ, “It’s an espresso-based drink from Turin, Italy, and [New York] is the only place where I’ve tried it. I’ve tried to search for it everywhere but [I found] nothing so I decided once I have my own coffee shop, I will serve bicerin.”
Bakere’s Bicerin has an espresso shot layered with melted dark chocolate (the same one used in the Grilled Ensaymada and Chocolate Sandwich) and topped off with cream. Mix it all up or drink it straight—the result is a thicker, richer, more chocolate-y mocha. Some might even say the drink reminds them of tsokolate eh—a grown-up twist to a childhood drink.
Don’t leave without buying Cheese Cupcakes, though you’ll have to order it a day in advance for a box of 12 (P550). Still, the wait is worth it once you get a taste of the surprisingly light but moist cupcake, with a delicate caramel-like flavor. You can also have a piece in-house; paired with a cup of coffee while lounging in Bakere Café with a good book—that’s pure bliss.
Photos by Dairy Darilag