If there’s one thing that’s closer to homemade recipes just like Mom does in the kitchen, it has to be at ManilaBake. Yes, baked goodies are created with tender loving care, using both traditional and modern process and methods with only the best ingredients. It is an artisanal shop, where the baker as the artisan uses his skill and attention to details in creating quality baked goods for his customer’s satisfaction and health.
I so love the concept of artisanal baking where I get to enjoy little nibbles in an unhurried atmosphere surrounded by family and friends. With drink in hand such as a cup of houseblend coffee and armed with stories and jokes, every bite of bread or any pastry gets more enjoyable especially when accompanied by the ringing of laughter.
|Pan De Sal with Barbecue filling|
SeryeCafé Filipino, the Filipino restaurant we’ve grown to love over the years, opened Manilabake in July of 2012, when a portion of Serye’s commissary was transformed into a bakeshop. Thus, Manilabake became Serye’s to-go bakery café at Blue Ridge A. Thanks to their clients’ positive feedback. Manilabake was born out of necessity, the owner; Ms. Gretchen Lim wanted to share her passion to eat healthy (with occasional indulgences, of course!) With Manilabake’s heavenly breads, desserts and pastries—made and sourced locally, and are preservative-free, to boot.
Serye Café Filipino brings authentic artisanal baking using local flour and locally sourced ingredients via Manilabake—plus the pastries and pasta dishes they have come to be known for—to the throngs of students and offices from nearby universities and offices. On top of all that, they’ve done well in having the bakery café as an alternative to the neighborhood coffee shop and one stop goods-to-go as guests and customers get to bring home heaps of freshly baked treats as pasalubongs.
The light interiors and comfy atmosphere seem tailor-made for customers coming in for a quick and light snack or simply craving for their comfort foods. I’d say Manilabake had a homey feeling, but the shop also a traditional and cozy vibe.
Of course, the shop succeeds in keeping the warm, family-friendly environment that makes Serye Café Filipino known for. Using natural and fresh ingredients, Manilabake whips up a menu good from morning breakfast ‘til late afternoon merienda. They sell packs of baked goodie treats great for grab and go.
|Chocolate Marble Slices|
I was busy exploring the charmingly quaint store and upon entering the store, you’ll get a fresh whip of the enticing aroma of the newly baked breads. The bread from Manilabake is so good, especially when paired with a hot cup of coffee or tea. They use unbleached, chemical-free flour and their own sourdough. They sourced their eggs farm-fresh, their wild honey from Palawan, muscovado from Sultan Kudarat, tablea chocolate from Malagos, cashews from Bataan, longganisa from Vigan, buffalo mozzarella from Nueva Ecija and coffee from Benguet and South Cotabato.
As a pastry chef, I am glad to learn that Manilabake allow their hand-shape dough’s to be fully developed both in flavor and structure (proper fermentation period). In fact, according to them, for their Pan De Sal alone, it takes about 12 hours of fermentation! This is so because Manilabake’s motto is “good bread comes from good baking.”
|Bonete and Sesame breads|
Manilabake breads are baked in a charcoal-fired, hot ceramic oven that naturally gives the proper moist heat that dough’s need and make them into caramel colored rolls or loaves. Try their filling breads such as bonete, bonuelos, sesame breads, dinner rolls, their variety of loaves, brownies, equally yummy cupcakes, cookies, muffins, pies, and empanada, apart from their huge Pan De Sal (also available in wheat bread).
|Unique and naturally flavored Calamansi Polvoron|
My family and I truly enjoyed their Muscovado cookies. Not too tough and not too sweet, these delicious cookie bits will certainly be the perfect pair for any kind of tea or coffee. It is indeed a taste of heaven in every bite. I think I could finish off an entire cookie jar and be called a “cookie monster”. Cookies had never been this good! I highly recommend you get your own jar when you come and visit Manilabake.
Although Manilabake also offers meals, they aren’t as extensive as the ones on Serye. Here, meal portions are meant for sharing especially with comfort foods like their popular Shepherd’s Pie (Mashed potato and mashed sweet potato blanket with a la Cuban filling), Chicken Pot Pie (Tender chicken simmered in San Miguel Beer, topped with homemade puff pastry) and Champorado (made from Tapol—highly nutritious, wild, glutinous purple rice served with coconut milk).
|Chicken Pot Pie|
|Shepherd's Pie ala Cubana|
Speaking of their champorado, I’d like to commend Manilabake for coming up with an old-style champorado, the one that’s been said to be Dr. Jose Rizal’s favorite as a child. Yes, according to reports and several books, our national hero, Jose Rizal enjoyed tapol tablea champorado with coconut milk as he was growing up. And unfortunately, nowadays, it is difficult to find that version since most champorado uses evaporated milk instead of coco milk. So am really happy that Manilabake serves this kind of meal on their shop.
|Tapol Champorado with coconut milk|
I also like their version of Vigan Longganisa pasta—creamy, meaty, savory. You would think that the cream in the sauce and oil from the longganisa would make this too rich but it is surprisingly less overpowering than I had expected it to be. There’s a bit of sweetness and saltiness in the longganisa that offsets the creaminess, making this dish the perfect guilty pleasure.
|Vigan Longganisa Pasta|
Chocoholics will be happy to know that Manilabake serves the ultimate chocolate and coffee dessert with Manila Mocha Cake. Imagine a slice of Manila Mocha with its towering chocolate and coffee layers. It’s a sure treat for chocolate and coffee lovers.
|Mocha Manila cake slice|
Not being a sweet tooth, I am normally indifferent to cakes. But I liked their Macapuno Pandan Cake, with texture so soft that melts in your mouth and the subtle sweetness of milk, butter, pandan and cream plus the coconut shavings stole my heart. I am also surprised with Manilabake’s calamansi (read; Philippine Lemon) cupcake—you could actually taste the zest and taste the zing, truly refreshing! Best paired with Manilabake’s house blend coffee.
|Grissini with sesame seeds, cheese and chili.|
After all the rich food we indulged in, there’s this wonderful cup of herbal—fruit tea from Daude Tea gave me just what I needed and wanted—a warm soothing drink reminiscent of mangoes.
|Daude Mangga tea|
Overall, I’d say I’d give Manilabake a thumbs-up, except maybe there were items that may be quite expensive for me. But for most items on their shop, I’d say it’s worth your every cent. So if you want to experience Manilabake by SeryeCafé Filipino, come and visit them at 206-A Katipunan Avenue, Blue Ridge A, Quezon City. Operating hours is from 6AM-9PM, from Monday to Sunday. Deliveries are free within five-kilometer radius. For orders, call (02) 509-1973 or (0916) 4984547.
Security Blanket thanks Ms. Nana Nadal and Manilabake owners Mr. Alvin and Ms. Gretchen Lim.