113 Beverly Hills Avenue, Beverly Hills Subdivision, Antipolo City
Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Wednesday and Thursday) and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Friday to Sunday) (By reservation only)
(SPOT.ph) "Going down the rabbit hole" means an entry into parts unknown, where surprises usually lie in wait. Such a rabbit hole exists in Antipolo, though what awaits on the other side isn't Wonderland, but a secluded haven called Burrow Café.
Tucked within a sloping terrain that overlooks a river, Burrow Café is a coffee shop and restaurant accessible through a narrow staircase within creative space and events venue Antipolo Beehouse. Originally envisioned as a café by Vitty and Marie Gutierrez, the place has since evolved into a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The secluded ambience of Burrow Café encourages diners to linger after meals, with only the gurgle of the nearby river and the singing of birds keeping them company. "It's an indoor space, but you feel like you're outdoors," says Marie.
Burrow Café is chock-full of outdoor tables and chairs to further paint the picture of a rustic getaway. There are even hammocks to lounge in if you need siesta time after a heavy meal. Vitty, an engineer by profession, designed the interiors to mirror the untouched beauty of its surroundings. Surfaces are left untreated, the columns and walls crawling with vines and lichen. The entire place emanates a DIY vibe with nature as its architect.
The food does its best to reflect this atmosphere. Chef Danilo Puga II was given the freedom to cook whatever recipe that germinates in his mind, a challenge the chef has wholeheartedly embraced. "What we want is to offer guests food that they won't be able to taste anywhere else," says Chef Danilo. "As much as possible, we want to make their trip here worthwhile." They plan on changing the breakfast and lunch menus every quarter, while set menus will be offered for dinner reservations.
Fresh Harvest Salad
Most of their ingredients are sourced from the Antipolo market or grown on their grounds. The Fresh Harvest Salad (P385) best showcases Burrow Café's homegrown philosophy, with its varying mix of fruits and nuts depending on the season. The reds of watermelon and grape slices peer out from the thicket of lettuce leaves moistened with honey balsamic vinaigrette. Kiwi slices and cashew nuts further freshen up this salad.
Bacon, Sausage, and Egg
The all-day breakfast options don't leap off the page at first, being familiar dishes that you're likely to start the day with. What sets them apart is their sublime flavor born from surprising ingredients and cooking methods. The BSE (P395) or bacon, sausage, and egg is a classic breakfast option, but it's the thick slab of bacon that elevates this dish into a can't-miss item on the menu. Because the bacon is smoked in a grill with santol wood, there is an earthy flavor ingrained within the meat, enveloping the tongue after every juicy bite.
Tender Beef Tapa
Their bestseller, the Tender Beef Tapa (P320) is even better, as it uses Japanese beef cut yakiniku-style. Like the BSE, the tapa has an imperceptible taste that wavers between sweet and salty, with the meat melting in your mouth before you've quite captured it. Eating it with a spoonful of garlic rice enhances the flavor.
Salmon Poke Bowl
Some of the items on the menu are Chef Danilo's takes on the recipes of Vitty—an avid cook himself—such as the Salmon Poke Bowl (P475). The dish is more of a rice bowl with salmon cubes and red cabbage slaw on top, drizzled with ginger garlic and sweet soy glaze.
Dayap Creme Brulee
Chef Danilo's experimentation has yielded dishes that both excite and fascinate. The desserts are worthy follow-ups after the main courses, with the Dayap Creme Brulee (P160) being the most unforgettable of the bunch. A pop of citrus lingers after each spoonful, with the soft and creamy texture moistening the mouth. It's a veritable garden of flavors as slices of grapes, strawberries, and kiwis counterbalance the sweetness of the creme brulee.
The Parmesan-Encrusted Suman (P160) is a new addition to the menu, and soon to be every customer's favorite. The crunchiness provided by the parmesan crust is unexpected yet welcome, introducing a twist to our beloved suman. A scoop of cinnamon vanilla ice cream resting on an oatmeal soil complements the suman well. If that isn't sweet enough for you, there's caramel whiskey glazing around the plate for you to slather every morsel with. Meanwhile, the Tiramisu (P160) doesn't pack as much sweetness as the previous items, making up for it with the thickness and creaminess of the cake which melts as soon as it enters your mouth, leaving a subtle coffee aftertaste.
Everything about Burrow Café feels organic, as though the whole establishment sprouted up from the ground on its own. Even its retail area is filled with all-natural items such as raw honey, homemade body soaps and lotions by Body Food All Natural, paper products by watercolor artist Emma Gutierrez, and homeware that promotes zero-waste living. In a way, Burrow Café isn't just a restaurant that leads you deeper into a rabbit hole of flavors—it's a tribute to the environment from which we take, but rarely take care of. If this burrow's beauty and food fail to move you, maybe you're better off dragging yourself back to the city.
Photos by Marikit Singson