You Can Get Café Bola's Chorizo Pasta at This Hidden Café in Makati

Plus a creamy burrata-topped tartine, and more!

LANAI Café by M
The Alley, Karrivin Plaza, Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City
(02) 880 25427
Open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Tuesday to Saturday), 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sunday)

PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

(SPOT.ph) You probably know LANAI as a lifestyle store-slash-secret sanctuary located within Karrivin Plaza. More than that, however, LANAI also serves coffee and light eats, in the form of LANAI Café by M. Past its grand wooden door and the flowers and intricate ornaments that greet you as enter, you’ll find tables decked in green cloth, further adorned with plants, cone-shaped lamps, and vintage mirrors in varying sizes. There’s a vogue feel to it, but it somehow feels like home.

Like the boutique side of LANAI, the cafe's interiors are eclectic yet chic and somewhat laid-back. 
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
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The Iced Coffee is a hit with regulars.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
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While the café itself has always been around, it wasn’t until late 2018 that Margarita Forés (of Cibo, LussoGrace Park, and the now-closed Café Bola) took over the kitchen. They’ve retained a few of the former café favorites, including the fan favorite Iced Coffee (P220) using coffee beans sourced from the Cordillera region. But they’ve given the rest of the menu a makeover, with Forés injecting her touch to their lineup of aperitifs, soups, salads, pasta, tartine, mains, and desserts. Unlike with her other restaurants (Cibo being Italian, Lusso being French), Forés does not necessarily follow any one cuisine here; instead, you’ll find a diverse selection of dishes—some old, some new—all hearty, filling, and perfect any time of day.

The Penne Ilonggo Chorizo takes advantage of the Ilonggo sausage's garlicky profile. 
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
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Forés harks back to the Café Bola days with the Penne Ilonggo Chorizo (P230). The dish highlights the said Ilonggo sausage, which comes as crispy-fried bits and whose juices flavor the cream sauce below. You might not think there’s enough of the chorizo at first glance, but trust us, it’s so potent that you get a good burst of its characteristic garlicky flavor with each bite, adding a lively punch to the al dente pasta.

This ravioli dish pairs sweet pears and Ilonggo biscocho with a pungent gorgonzola cream.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

For a one-of-a-kind bite, go for the Pear Ravioli pasta (P360), which Forés had previously served to the Italian ambassador (who gave the dish two thumbs up!). Sweet meets salty here, with ravioli sheets housing a slightly sweet pear filling, given a pungent touch with a gorgonzola cream that hugs each raviolo. While the pear-gorgonzola pairing isn’t necessarily new, what takes this dish to the next ingenious level is the crumbled bits of Ilonggo biscocho on top, adding a light butteriness and mild crunch—as well as baby broccoli sprouts, whose earthiness keep the dish from being cloying.

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Mix the Poke Seared Tuna well to get a little bit of everything for a variety of flavors and textures.
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The Poke Seared Tuna (P320) is a good candidate for a light lunch, what with its simple but hearty mix of seared tuna, red wine tomatoes, cucumbers, and mangoes on a mint- and basil-spiked quinoa base. It might sound like a mouthful, but it all comes together with a honey-lemon vinaigrette, whose sweet and tangy profile unites the whole mix and makes for a refreshing bite.

Beneath the creamy burrata hides an umami-filled anchovy paste that adds depth to the rest of the flavors. 
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More on the deceptively light end of the spectrum are their tartines—of which the Burrata, Rucola, & Anchovy variant (P390) is a fan favorite, and for good reason. Atop a slice of sourdough you’ll find creamy, dreamy burrata cheese sourced from Negros, accented with red wine tomatoes, arugula, and extra-virgin olive oil. Take a bite and you get a mix of milky, tangy, and earthy—plus a surprise umami burst from the not-so-secret addition of anchovy paste under the cheese, adding depth without overpowering the other components.

Just about every corner of this lifestyle boutique is worth taking pictures of.
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More than its amazing interiors, LANAI Café by M extends the experience to their food and does so in such a way that’s consistent with their eclectic yet laid-back aesthetic. Distinctive as the dishes are, at the end of the day, what they serve up is pure comfort.

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Photos by Majoy Siason

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