A neigh­bor­hood café pays homage to a mother’s recipe

Bak­erē re­flects on mem­o­ries of home-cook­ing

Northern Living - - CONTENTS - TEXT ANTHEA REYES PHO­TOG­RA­PHY DANICA CONDEZ Bak­erē Café. 3 Brix­ton St, Pasig City. 0917-8421123

On a warm July af­ter­noon, Bak­erē Café owner RJ Galang wel­comes our team into his quiet es­tab­lish­ment and re­gales us with tales of the wo­man be­hind the ‘E’ in Bak­erē: his mother.

Eleanor Galang was al­ready a housewife in the ’70s when she dis­cov­ered her love and tal­ent for the culi­nary arts. Af­ter tak­ing cook­ing and bak­ing classes, she then cre­ated her ver­sion of the quin­tes­sen­tial en­say­mada. Made as tra­di­tion in­tended it to be, her per­fectly fluffed pas­try that’s just on right side of sug­ary be­came a hit in the neigh­bor­hood, and Eleanor soon be­came known as Tita E.

Decades later, her cheese cup­cake was re­dis­cov­ered dur­ing her grand­child’s birth­day party, where it was a suc­cess. The pas­try was de­cep­tively light, but any­one who took a bite ended up want­ing more. With the boom brought in by his mother’s old-new recipe, RJ saw un­tapped po­ten­tial in her home-based bak­ery of sorts. He be­gan pro­mot­ing her en­say­mada and cheese cup­cakes in bazaars, where they were eas­ily crowd fa­vorites. En­cour­aged by the suc­cess, the two have now set up shop in Kapi­tolyo.

At the fore­front of the café is their dis­play of pas­tries. Aside from their cheesy treats, Bak­erē also has cook­ies, brown­ies, red vel­vet cup­cakes, and brook­ies—a com­bi­na­tion of brown­ies and cook­ies. A spe­cialty is their grilled en­say­mada and choco­late sand­wich, which uses Risa’s 70 per­cent dark choco­late from South Cota­bato; the bit­ter­sweet choco­late keeps the rich­ness of the dish from be­ing over­whelm­ing. For the grilled en­say­mada and ham sand­wich, Bak­erē cures their ham in mus­co­v­ado syrup that’s pre­pared in-house. The re­sult is a sweet and sub­tly sa­vory meal that could serve both as lunch and dessert.

Bak­erē also part­nered with Toby’s Es­tate for a cof­fee pro­gram that com­ple­ments their sweet treats and spe­cial­ties. They’re of­fer­ing ex­clu­sive spe­cials like the Bicerin, a tra­di­tional hot drink from Turin, Italy, that’s made of espresso, drink­ing choco­late, and whole milk, served lay­ered in a small rounded glass. They also have Espresso tonic, which is iced cof­fee in soda form.

From their newly minted kitchen, Bak­erē is serv­ing dishes rem­i­nis­cent of RJ’s child­hood as pre­pared by Eleanor her­self. For their own ver­sion of lasagna, RJ had a spe­cial mold made so that all the cor­ners of pasta dish would have that toasted cheesy good­ness every­body wants.

But the pride of their kitchen is their BXU or their Bu­tuan le­chon sand­wich. Since Eleanor grew up in Bu­tuan, her chil­dren grew up eat­ing the prov­ince’s trade­mark le­chon: fla­vor­ful, gar­licky, with the meat from the ribs as the main event in­stead of the le­chon skin. Their sand­wich is their sneaky way of in­tro­duc­ing Bu­tuan le­chon to Manila, their way of let­ting city folks ex­pe­ri­ence eat­ing le­chon with their hands, sand­wiched be­tween two ci­a­batta loaves.

Grilled en­say­mada and choco­late sand­wich; Turin, an Ital­ian con­coc­tion of espresso, choco­late, and milk

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