Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Croque Cafe + Bakery: Committed to Freshness and Comfort

Wazzup Pilipinas!
"Croque pronounced as “Krohk” came from “croquer” which means crunch in French. It describes us well, as crunch pertains to freshness and comfort which basically who we are and what we serve." - Croque Cafe +Bakery

Croque Cafe + Bakery, a business venture of chef couple Alexa Abala and Paco Lao offers European-Filipino inspired dishes aside from their freshly-baked breads and pastries, and coffee classics. They also have other offerings that you would soon find out as you read this story of my dining experience at their restaurant.

Just like the other famous chef couple that I know (the Laudicos - Chef Roland and Chef Jackie), the lady chef specializes on the pastries, while her boyfriend would always be in the kitchen in charge of the hot dishes. I believe Alexa was the one who conceptualized the homey look of the resto which is now a trending look for other restos who want to project a cozy ambiance that's conducive to hanging out while reading a book, or for today's Millennials, browsing online through an iPad, smartphone or tablet, or simply passing the time chatting with friends.

It is not my first time to visit the cafe as I attended an event that was held there a few months ago but I never got back to visiting them on my own. However, I met Alexa in a certain gathering of people managing hotels, resorts and restaurants where they raffled off a gift certificate for the restaurant which I won. So that basically how I found my way back to the cafe to try again their dishes.

Located along Pasay Road, now known as Arnaiz Avenue, Croque Cafe +Bakery is just one of the many restaurants that you can find in that long road stretch from the corner of EDSA to the Makati Square.

I would often pass that road when I'm on my way to Makati Square which I used to frequent during the times when my colleagues and I used to play bowling there. But that was a long time ago and I already moved on to a different career so it is now very rare that I find myself going there.

Now, there's a good reason why I should keep coming back on the same road now that I've discovered a new food destination.

The only hassle about coming here with a car is finding a closer parking space. But for me who usually just commutes because I couldn't tolerate the heavy traffic congestion at almost every hour of the day, that is never a problem.

As you can see from the photos, the sun was shining bright directly facing the restaurant. The giant menu displays the many food choices so passersby could easily know what they have to offer even before entering the cafe.

Once inside, you won't feel the scorching heat from outside anymore as their place is well cooled and ventilated.

I could see some minor changes done on the furniture settings of the cafe, like this new set of couches added which is probably now the highly in demand spot.

The place actually looks better during night time. a very cozy place filled with all sorts of eye-catching "abubots" placed neatly on the shelves hanged on their walls. Every corner is "Instagrammable" but since my Instagram account is connected to my otehr social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr, you might find my posts about the many places I visit in all accounts.

They also opened up the rear portion of the cafe to make room for more customers or offer a function area where private events can be held. Their place from the outside is actually deceiving because you'll realize they can seat a lot of customers once you've seen the entire space.

The decorative shelves are filled with all kinds of items which makes you feel like its an extension of your home. But the real advantage is that you can easily order some snacks, or a full meal for lunch or dinner, while doing your thing.

The friendly staff in and out of the kitchen will make you feel comfy and pampered as they attend to your every needs.

Their menu is quite new and a few dishes added to offer customers more food varieties added to all-time favorites.

Even though Croque is a cafe and bakery, you can also toast on various wines from their partner wine merchants. They are serving Wines, Bourbon Whiskeys, Scotch Whiskeys, Rums, Vodkas, Tequilas, Brandies, Imported Beers and Local Beers anytime of the day!

A simple table set-up does not mean their food will not be extra special. They're just reserving the spotlight for their food.

The bakery offers a wide variety of pastries and breads that they bake fresh daily. You might find their Blueberry Birds Nests, Coffee Buns, Sausage Rolls, Speculoos Rolls, Buttermilk Buns, Pork Floss Buns, or Cream Cheese Buns on your visit. But be there early as they ran out of these bread quickly. You can get them crusty, soft, sweet, or savory!

For take-outs or dining in with your friends and colleagues, their freshly-baked breads offer quality beyond compromise.

Complimentary Bun (Free)
Have a bite of their complimentary buns while they're still hot and fresh from the oven! You can actually ask for more while waiting for your order to arrive. I think I had three of this, not because the dishes too time to be served but it's because of how good the buns were.

Dilis Arugula Salad (P295)
To start you with an appetite, they proudly recommend the Dilis Arugula Salad that teases your palate with their salted dilis and duck eggs components that makes the mixed green veggies more interesting. There's also toasted bread, and the salad is drizzled with onion Italian dressing.

Are you wondering why it's served in a half-bowl presentation? They say that is intentional to give you more room to toss the salad.

Croque's Original Lamb Lasagna (P320)
Here's another shot of Croque's Original Lamb Lasagna (P320)
Aside from the bread, their hand-rolled pasta is also made fresh inside their kitchen everyday. Thus, this lasagna dish they call Croque's Original Lamb Lasagna was undeniably fresh and delish. It's made up of Lamb Ragout with sauteed spinach and Parmiggiano Reggiano.

Pasta Bolognese (P320)
The Pasta Bolognese is made up of Tagliatelle pasta with pork and beef ragout. It's slow-cooked in homemade tomato sauce and topped with Parmiggiano Reggiato. I wanted more pork or beef for this dish as I felt it would have been better if there's more mixed with the pasta.

Croque Adobo (P385)
The Croque Adobo is 36-hours slow-cooked Sous-Vide pork served with organic black rice and assorted veggies. The pork was so soft and tender that it almost seems like it will melt in your mouth. An appropriate portion of veggies balances the dish for a complete meal.

Here's another shot of the Croque Adobo (P385) so you can see the organic rice and veggies
Three Layered Chocolate
The Three Layered Chocolate is an exquisite mini cake dessert that has leveled up into an amazing five layers. Though they kept the original name, you'll be surprised realizing you're biting on more than what is advertised.

They also have Salted Caramel & Ganache, Baked Cheesecake, Carrot & Walnut Crumb, Blueberry Cheesecake, or Red Velvet & Cheese Mousse.

Coffee Classics (P85 to P105)
Since Croque is a cafe, there's bound to be good coffee that's perfect after every meal, or along side their specialty breads and pastries.

Watermelon Mint Fling (P130)
Not a coffee drinker? No problem! They also have fruity coolers like this one made from watermelon! The refreshing taste of the Watermelon Mint Fling gives justice to its very creative name.

Virgin Calamansi Mojito (P120)
There's no rum in this concoction made up of a combination of calamansi, mint and soda. The Virgin Calamansi Mojito is perfect to fight the summer heat.

Other drinks include Chocolate Cake Frappe, Mocha Koola, and Ice Blended Dulce de Leche

Thank you to Chef Alexa for personally joining me during my visit at Croque Cafe + Bakery. Chef Paco was in the kitchen so he could not join us for the photo ops.

Croque Cafe + Bakery is open open from 7 am to 10 pm and is located at the G/F 833 Dominion Bldg. Arnaiz Ave. (Pasay Road) Makati.
You can also celebrate your milestones – birthdays, promotions, engagements, or weddings – here at Croque or right at your own place because they accept caterings for such memorable gatherings and events.

For reservations or inquiries about Croque Cafe + Bakery or Banquets by Croque, you may contact (02) 956 7534.

Keep updated with their offerings by liking their Facebook page:

Check out more photos at our Facebook page:

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