The day I walked into a dream...
I've heard of Kitchen's Best before but never have I had the opportunity to sample their confections. That is until one fateful sunny afternoon when life took me to a little cake shop slash restaurant by the corner of 3rd and 31st. Revolving around a red and gold theme, its modern Victorian interiors exude elegance and style. Magazine and newspaper articles decked in golden frames hang on several dark crimson walls, a gallery of the pastry chef's and the patisserie's accolades. Refined crystal chandeliers dangle from the ceiling and stately white wooden shelves boast of vintage doll figurines and quaint little boxes and packages of the same motif.
Protected in a display glass case sit several award-winning cakes. I usually hear and see food labeled as the best in the Metro or some similar title, but I take all these with a pinch of salt. Food is subjective as beauty is to the eye of the beholder; besides, with all the numerous amount of sprouting home bakers and food purveyors, there's bound to be another one that can easily topple your creation, depending on the palate lucky enough to taste it. I proceed to order a few and happily snapped away, all while trying to restrain myself from grabbing the nearest fork.
I don't eat the cakes here. I took them all home though I almost regretted that I did. While I was rummaging through the refrigerator to get my cakes, the Opera (P120) was nowhere to be found. Only one person could have eaten it but surely he must've been aware that his wife was a food blogger, and that every food package that reaches home, especially the desserts, must be taken photos of before consumption. It was an unspoken rule, but a rule nonetheless. He couldn't have known that I already took pictures of the pastries in the restaurant (thank goodness!). I see the culprit lounging on the bed, hands on his tummy with a satisfied smile on his lips. "Did you eat my cake?" I asked. "Was that yours?" he answered. Whose else would it be?!
After giving me an apologetic Cheshire smile, I went back to the dining table and settled for the other three instead. A few minutes later, he followed and promptly sat on the chair eyeing the remaining cakes. Figuring I couldn't very well finish three slices on my own, no matter how good they were, I bit my tongue which almost spat out "Really, you wanna take these three too??" and generously -- okay fine, a bit begrudgingly -- shared them all. I took a forkful of the Plaisir Sucre (P140), and instantly all feelings of annoyance melted with the sweet chocolate on my tongue. A veneer of saccharine chocolate cream shelters a strata of chocolate ganache, praline and I think meringue(?). Its silky texture is punctured by nutty bits and the crunchy chewy property of meringue. A paper thin triangular dark chocolate cloaks half of the cake and a tiny edible gold flake sits on the center, glowingly reflecting the rays of sunshine streaming through the large glass windows. "I like this better than the other one." my husband remarked, albeit I'm not sure if it was just to compensate for my missing out on tasting the aforementioned gateau.
I, or rather we, move on to the Mango Sansrival (P105). I adore sansrival cakes better than chocolate ones so it comes as no surprise that I loved this particular ambrosial treat. Alternating layers of chewy cashew meringue and mango buttercream interspersed with fresh slices of mangoes are covered in a gorgeous pale yellow buttercream icing, a lone rosette of the same hue on top. It almost topples over, a testament to its delicateness, so I hurriedly sliced my fork through and brought it gingerly into my mouth. Soft, exquisite cream hobnobs with a slightly crunchy meringue as they dance on the taste buds and flirt with the palate. Chunks of mangoes sporadically render tartness and sweetness speckled with tiny fragments of cashews. Talk about pure indulgence. And bliss!
Lastly, we make way for the White Chocolate Macadamia Brittle Cheesecake (P180), burgeoning bellies notwithstanding. A wedge of satin cheesecake imbued with white chocolate lay gallantly on a bed of macadamia graham crust. A tiara of buttery macadamia brittle crowns the apex, with whipped cream icing as its backdrop. The syrup of the brittle taints the rich walls and in a state of stupor, such opulence I witness, and how! Moderately dense, dulcet velvety composition married with a beautiful contrasting texture of chopped macadamias unite and ignite the gastronomic organs. A few bites into it brings me back to my senses as it gets slightly cloying though admittedly I'm not really one to finish any cheesecake in one sitting. Yet the harmony of flavors lingers in my brain long after the cake has been fully devoured by my husband. And now thinking about it makes me hanker for a few bites yet again.
I wasn't expecting anything going inside this cafe apart from trying out various mellifluous flavors and tasting a different take on the classics. Little did I know that I would be in so much agreement with those stellar golden ribbons proudly stating each cake's worth in terms of recognition. They may differ in flavor profile but one thing is common -- every bite was worth more than its price, every bite was indeed a dream. They definitely don't call it Cake Hall of Fame for nothing. Now if only that dream would pop somewhere in the South.
Spot: G/F McKinley Park Residences Condominium 3rd Ave. cor. 31t St. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Contact No.: 478.4870