Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Café Monsee’s: Serving More Than Just Breads

Tucked along Katipunan Avenue near White Plains is a charming café that would be very hard to miss. Cafe Monsee’s has two bright red doors (sorry, the shot I took of the facade was not good enough to post) that beckon passersby to drop in and experience the charming ambience inside while feasting on yummy baked goodies and other tummy-filling dishes.

Monsee’s opened just a year ago on November 2010 but one of the owners, Atty. Marina Demeterio, has been selling desserts from her home since the ‘90s. The café was named after a monsignor friend, one of the establishment’s incorporators.

Several friends and I were invited to try out the different offerings at Monsee’s and we were all glad we did. Stepping inside one of the red doors was like visiting an old friend’s home. The interior is cozy and filled with the homey smell of freshly-baked bread. The furnishings are mostly white while some of the walls feature large, and very interesting, drawings made by Chef Marina’s son, Hildebrand

We found out later that the interior design was inspired by Meryl Streep’s bakery in her movie, “It’s Complicated”. We were also told that everything made there is a labor of love because things are done the traditional way; no shortcuts. Monsee’s hand roll their breadsticks and no preservatives are added. The prices are pretty reasonable as well.

Before we started on the main dishes, we got to try some of the café’s different flavored crunchy breadsticks which come in 15 variants! Choose from Garlic, Cheese, Italian Herb, Pesto, Pistachio, Almond, Choco Hazelnut, Milk & Butter, Wheat, Dill & Cheese, Onion & Sour Cream, Dill & Cheese, Flax Seed, Cheese Pimiento, and Basil. Prices range from P65.00 to P140.00 per pack.

Next, we sampled several freshly-baked creations like the foccacia, rye bread, and potato bread. They went very well with the mouth-watering Callos we were served next. This dish is only available by special order and costs P2000/pan, already good enough for 8 to 10 persons.

Atty. Charles Escolin, one of the people behind Monsee’s, presented us with two large pans of Cocido which, he says, isn’t actually served at the cafe but which they would like us to try. This dish is a complete meal in itself because it has veggies as well as pork, chicken, and beef. 

Atty. Charles taught us how to eat Cocido the Spanish way which was to drizzle vinegar and olive oil on a small serving and top it with a pinch of salt. This made the dish very, very tasty! It’s doubly satisfying to take each spoonful in between bites of the soft and aromatic breads.

Aside from the first three breads, we also got to try the Pan de Monsee and the Cheeserolls Petite with its creamy frosting and cheesy filling.

By then, my tummy was starting to protest that it’s near its tipping point but it was hard to resist the hot tsokolate drink I was given plus half each of three cupcakes that all tasted heavenly! The clincher was the sinfully delectable dessert that Chef Marina jokingly calls Cholesterol Special. It’s like leche flan with more texture because of the pieces of bread interspersed with the buttery base. It’s so good, I forgot to take note if its real name was even mentioned :p

Before we left, I took more pictures of the place and was fascinated at the meticulously made cake toppers that come in cute and colorful figures. There are even some that look like Louis Vuitton bags! My sister, who loves to bake, would probably be tempted to buy all the designs when she gets to visit Monsee’s and sees everything they have to offer.

My friends and I went home replete with all the good food and great company that early evening. Each of us was given a boxful of Monsee’s goodies to bring home to our loved ones (I woke up the next morning to see only a couple of items left!). Chef Marina also had their service vehicle drop us off the nearest mall. We all squeezed in inside and it felt just like going home from a children’s party where everyone had a wonderful time. The smiles, alone, already speak a thousand words. Such was the nice ending to a pleasant afternoon. 

*Monsee’s is located at 118 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City. Tel: 352.6721. It has free Wi-Fi and is open Mondays to Sundays from 7am to 9pm. Aside from the extensive selection of breads, you can order soups, salads, pasta, sandwiches, and even rice meals there.

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