Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bread & Bean Cafe

I have considered pastries and coffee as my usual breakfast buddies. This tandem never fails to make my mornings (especially during those cold and rainy months) extra special. They're my favorite things that used to fuel up my brain cells when I was still in college, so as to now. That's why my heart totally jumped out of pure excitement with this breakfast treat that talks more about the wonders of such amazing combination of bread and coffee, at a place called Bread & Bean in San Juan.

Bread & Bean is a haven for great tasting food and outstanding customer service. Most of the time, we enjoy having our dinners at this cafe, loving their delicious meals teamed up with a cozy ambiance, but let me not talk about their hefty meals right now and instead focus more on the important things that the cafe also offers - bread and coffee! I was first politely asked of what would I prefer to drink and I've decided to try one of the classics, my favorite Cafe Latte.

Cafe Latte

The aroma of the freshly brewed coffee beans covered the place, indicating that this treat is ready to be served. Before taking a sip, I added some brown sugar for some caramel-like hint of sweetness into it and then inhaled more of its aroma, admiring it even more this time with its combination with the steamed milk. Each sip seems to warm my whole being, I can't help but love the strong and rich taste of the espresso, carefully smoothened and sweetened by the creamy milk and brown sugar.

Cafe Latte

Known as Cafe Au Lait in French, the simplicity of this hot drink makes it a great accompaniment to any of their freshly-baked breads. It delivers an added twist to every bread type that you will try it with. This Cafe Latte is truly different from the other commercialized and instant coffee variants that I used to have for it didn't only keep the purpose of having me alert but is also gave my heart some sort of happiness; a smile that further brightened the start of my day.

One of my fellow blogger friends preferred to have their Hot Chocolate instead. I have been long in love with chocolates, whether it comes in bars or in mugs, so as for me, it was a great choice and a fantastic coffee alternative. The mere smell of it already treated me with such great chocolaty flavor. Its dark appearance proved that it was made with good dark chocolates carefully heated and blended with water to produce such yummy childhood favorite drink.

Hot Chocolate

The morning got even more exciting when we experienced how delicious their varieties of breads are. Bread & Bean offers an amazing selection of delectable breads that will surely fit into your choices of drinks and coffee. To start, topping of their list of bestsellers is the Ham and Cheese Loaf with Pesto and Garlic-Paprika Spread. This loaf is generously embedded with bits and small slices of ham and cheese that greatly complements the creaminess and softness of the bread. It is already good as it is but if you want to make it more interesting, you can add some of the pesto or the garlic-paprika spread and I'm sure, a single loaf will not be enough. I must say that between the two spreads, I eminently fell in love with the garlic-paprika, making it my basic spread for all the breads that I have eaten on that day. In fact, instead of spreading it over bread slices, I instead used it as a dip. It gave out a certain nutty, buttery and appealing garlic taste that will make you crave for it over and over again. Putting it over a simple slice of the ham and cheese loaf made it way better than the traditional garlic bread that we eat at some restos. It was such a perfect mate to make our regular breads extraordinary.

Ham and Cheese Loaf with Pesto and Garlic-Paprika Spread

Few more breads namely the Cheesy Pork Floss, Pork Floss (regular), Cheesy Logs and Grilled Ensaimada were then presented, variants that everyone, most especially the kids will surely fall for. These breads were served hot from the oven and you can immediately tell it by its inviting smell and distinctive warm feeling to the palate.

Their version of the famous Cheesy Pork Floss and the regular Pork Floss is very interesting for they use imported and flavorful pork meat floss to top it plus they have smothered each bread with their own delicious recipe of home-made mayonnaise. The soft, fluffy and warm bread is a feat to consider in savoring these mouth-watering breads. The floss added a certain meaty taste into it that blends really well with the mayonnaise.

Pork Floss (regular)

As for the cheesy variation, the thin slice of cheese made it really stand out, giving the already satisfying regular pork floss an added creaminess with a very mild salty taste. The subtle flavors of the melted cheese also rounded up the taste of this bread, making it even more complementing with the meat and the mayo. It was an ensemble that is genuinely to die for. Add to that its very affordable prices compared to the ones that is already in the market.

Cheesy Pork Floss

For the Cheesy Logs, I adored the butter that covers its top part as well as the soft bread that hides a cheesy and appetizing surprise. I think B&B has mastered the art of making these kind of breads for its taste is truly remarkable. It was made even better with the balanced taste of butter, bread and cheese. I also love the mild sweetness that lingers in your mouth, together with the cheese and butter at every bite.

Cheesy Logs

The moment I've heard that they will be serving us their Grilled Ensaimada, I immediately became curious about it. As we all know, the usual way of consuming this bread is either to have it at a room temperature or have it heated at an oven just enough for the cheese toppings to melt. I was totally surprised when I saw and tasted this another wonderful treat! The burnt part of the bread gave it an added crunch and bite. It stayed soft and tasty, with a more distinct and vivid butter and cheese flavors - an ensaimada like you've never had it before.

Grilled Ensaimada

Another delight that is readily available at the counter for take-outs is the Bacon and Cheese. I love that the bread is still soft, very pleasant to the palate and appealing to the taste buds. The combination of the meaty, smoky flavors of the bacon together with the nutty and creamy taste of the cheese made this bread truly stand for its name. It's a delicious and healthy snack at any time of the day.

Bacon and Cheese

Moving forward with more of Bread & Bean's offerings is the Adobo & Pesto Sandwich. Just by the mere sound of its name boasts how scrumptious this B&B classic is. I have never expected that the combination of the very Filipino, adobo and an Italian sauce, pesto, would be this toothsome and pleasing. Imagine a soft and warm ciabatta bread filled in between with chunks of savory and meaty adobo, fresh-tasting pesto spread, crunchy lettuce greens, some herbs, spices and cheese - a true Filipino-Italian innovation that everyone will surely rave about. It was also served with an adequate amount of crispy potato chips that added more fun and twist into it. As for how I enjoyed this sandwich, I scooped out some of the adobo and pesto filling with the potato chips, making it some sort of a salsa or dip and not just a palatable sandwich.

Adobo & Pesto Sandwich

On the other hand, the Harbor Bridge Burger Supreme amusingly exceeded what I have known about some designer burgers that I have tried before. It is made with 100% beef burger patty (see how thick the patty is), smoky and juicy bacons, fresh lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, button mushrooms and cheese - ingredients that jives well in your mouth and gives the palate some sort of an excitement, great flavors and nice texture. Add some of the garlic mayonnaise or the garlic-paprika spread to make it even more appetizing and tasty (of course, I have added the garlic-paprika more often... ^_^). I love the fact the the patty is perfectly grilled, for it remained succulent and juicy. The bacon added some smokiness to this burger dish and the veggies kept the balance of taste and freshness. It's one great deal of a burger, good and healthy alternative to the usual rice meals for lunch or dinner. Friends can also have this burger sliced into smaller portions for sharing.

Harbor Bridge Burger Supreme

Harbor Bridge Burger Supreme sliced into smaller portions

This breakfast would not be complete without tasting some luscious desserts. Bread & Bean, aside from their delightful breads and hot coffee variants is also known for their delish cakes and pastries that you can pair up with their wide selection of cold coffee concoctions. What we had are their bestsellers - Banoffee, Dark Chocolate and Peppermint for the cold coffee drinks and the Chocolate Ganache and Mango Cake for the desserts.

L-R: Banoffee, Dark Mocha and Peppermint

The Banoffee tasted really refreshing. I am not an avid fan of bananas and one way for me to actually eat it is by making it into a smoothie or turn it into an interesting dessert. Bread & Bean succeeded in making me love their Banoffee smoothie for the sweetness of the bananas blended really well with the chocolate, coffee and cream. For the Dark Mocha, what I like about it is the balanced yet strong taste of coffee and chocolate. It was a simple and uncomplicated drink that you will have to grab at every store visit. My favorite, the Peppermint has this sort of cool and minty flavors that greatly rounds out the rich taste of the coffee and cream mixture. Drinking it made me feel like I was a kid again, excited for all the good things that life has to offer.

The Chocolate Ganache is composed of layers of sponge cake dipped into some espresso and coffee cream filling. It was then covered and topped with glossy chocolate ganache which is made from rich, melted bittersweet or dark chocolates whisked with heavy cream. This cake is a great tandem to the black coffee that I've had. I do not usually drink black coffee for I find it very strong and robust but with this cake's right sweetness and chocolaty goodness, I was able to enjoy my black coffee even without adding some cream or brown sugar to lighten it. It's one of those cakes that even at first try easily made its way to my heart.

Chocolate Ganache

Black Coffee

If you're craving for something sweet and fruity after having a savory meal, B&B's Mango Cake is a perfect catch. It is made with vanilla sponge cake layered with mango cream, bits of sweet and ripe mangoes and whipped cream. The top is generously decorated with more mango syrup, small mango chunks and cream, making it look very sophisticated and impressively pleasing. If you think that this cake looks good wait until you have tried it and I am sure you will be in deep affinity with this fruity dessert.

Mango Cake

To wrap it up, it was truly an amazing morning, a start of the day full of sunshine, great tasting breads and comforting coffees. Just like what I have mentioned, Bread & Bean does not only offer varieties of breads and coffees but also meals that could fill you up without sacrificing your value for money. What I also love and the reason why me and my friends prefer to lounge and eat at this cafe is their amiable staff and excellent customer service. For me, those are the aspects that completes the whole dining experience and you can find it all at the Bread & Bean Cafe.

photo credit: Bread & Bean's Facebook Page

Bread & Bean Cafe

Unit 3 Citiplace Building 8001
J. Abad Santos, San Juan, Metro Manila
(near Wilson Street in Greenhills)

***Special thanks to Ms. Kaye and to friendly staff of Bread & Bean for warmly accommodating us.***

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