This Award-Winning Chef's New Café Is Making Its Debut in Manila
Salvatore Cuomo Café is a laid-back version of his bistro at Uptown Bonifacio.
Salvatore Cuomo Café
G/F The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) By Chef Salvatore Cuomo’s estimate, he's now got “over 100 branches” of his eponymous restaurants under his belt, and you’d think there’s no reason to mess with what already looks to be a successful formula. But Chef Salvatore begs to disagree: New to his line of restaurants is Salvatore Cuomo Café, a concept he’s launching in Manila, with the first branch opening at The Podium.
“This café is our means to make our food more reasonably priced but at the same time, you will still get the same type of food we’ve always served,” shares Chef Salvatore. “Here, you can drop by on many different occasions not just when you’re dating someone or on special occasions.”
“Here you can relax, and you get an atmosphere a little different from the office,” the chef adds. The interiors reflect this: heavy on light wood and exposed brick, with tall plants as the centerpiece of all the tables. The laid-back vibe feels like a breather from the gray cubicles of your office.
The pizza is still the star at Salvatore Cuomo Café—diners are greeted by the wood-fired brick oven and open kitchen near the entrance. The Napoli Style Pizzas they’re famous for are still on the menu, with the same smoky, chewy-yet-sturdy crust. You can’t go wrong with the Four Cheese (P650), a sharp, mildly fruity blend of mozzarella, gorgonzola, provolone, and asiago—don’t forget to drizzle the honey that comes with it to enhance these flavors. For something a little different, have the Mixed Capriciossa (P680)—you’ll immediately notice the sharp bite of anchovy, but it blends nicely together with the umami from the smoked ham, olives, mushrooms, and artichokes.
While Chef Salvatore is vehemently against pineapple on pizza, he shares that he is always open to creating pizza in many different ways—hence, the Traditional Pan Pizza, his take on the Italian-American version of the pie. “American pizza, I don’t think it’s wrong,” he explains. The pillow-soft crust’s cheesy flavor may remind you of a certain fast-food chain’s pizza, but the addition of fried eggplant, mozzarella, asiago, and Gran Padano cheese on the Eggplant Parmigiana (P820) pizza elevates it.
While pizza is still unmistakably the standout on the menu, there are lots of other dishes worth a try. Start your meal with Mixed Appetizers (P625), a sampler platter of umami-rich zeppole (fried seaweed), fried mozzarella, arancini, prosciutto, and tender octopus. Also check out the line of Piadina—a type of Italian flatbread similar in shape and texture to a tortilla. The Porchetta Piadina (P380), which comes topped with a creamy, savory blend of porchetta, smoked provola, dijon mustard, lettuce, and mayonnaise, is a handy way to have the pork belly when you’re dining by your lonesome and can’t have the full slab.
Be sure to end your meal with a Sicilian Cannoli (P180)—dark chocolate and cream meld beautifully in this delectable dessert and a generous layer of pistachios add crunch.
“Here at Salvatore Cuomo Café, it’s young and casual. And then, maybe when our diners grow older, they’ll come to visit us at BGC, too,” jokes Chef Salvatore. Though the chef foresees that most of the customers at the café would be on the young side, he has created a winning menu that would get everyone coming over. After all, pizza—especially one this good—chooses no one.
Photos by Ian Santos
Salvatore Cuomo Café opens on July 31 at G/F The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City.