"We have to go back."
This was foremost in our minds after the Choose Philippines crew had a memorable lunch at Segovia's Cake and Recipes.
Tucked in a quiet corner in a small 1950s era house in San Juan City is a haven for people who appreciate brilliantly prepared yet inexpensive food in a relaxing and inviting setting.
One rainy lunchtime the CP crew travelled from Quezon City to San Juan to check if the rumors about Segovia's sandwiches and other goodies we heard were true. They were.
As you emerge from the street you are greeted by an atmosphere similar to a visit to a favorite auntie. There is a nice porch by the garden that invites hours of conversation. Once you enter via an art deco sliding door you are greeted by a clean and simply furnished interior. A nice personal touch are the tables (seats 4) that are covered by pages from vintage Archie comics from the owner's personal collection. Try to find Buttercup, the owners affable poodle who escorts guests to their tables.
With the most expensive item on the menu being just Php180 (about US$3.70) and a sandwich-pasta combo averaging less than Php 200 that is more than enough for two persons.
Our group of five hungry foodies paid less than Php 750 for three pasta dishes- we had the pomodoro (surprisingly not sour yet the tomato flavor was divine), porcino (creamy heaven) and the chorizo (the sausage bits they use tastes and crunches like bacon!), two orders of the chicken salad sandwich (the chicken chunk texture a delight to bite into and the apple slices gave it that extra "Zing!"), a sirloin burger (lightly grilled, not greasy and sandwiched by those cloud bread buns- (I deliberately did not share this, it was THAT good - Ed.).
The food gods were smiling at us that day as a batch of their fiendishly addicting banana caramel cake was available. If you're a fan of banoffee pie, let's just say this sugarless upgrade is like switching from an HTC Wildfire to an iphone 4S- both good but the level up is mind-blowing!
For drinks a very nice lady asked if we would like to finish off her pitcher of house iced tea since she was alone and leaving. We never hesitated in saying "Yes thank you!". The amber concoction tasted like peaches and really complemented the food.
If they also ask if you would like to try their gulaman (served inside one of those laboratory beakers)
Segovia's is the brainchild of Carmen Segovia, a nutritionist by training but an artist at heart and Virch Yabut, who keeps the business end of things running smoothly and efficiently.
We were able to chat a little with Miss Carmen who took some time off from her kitchen duties. We pleaded to keep the prices the same- it was like eating at one of those fancy hotel boutique restaurants- only the food is WAY better (and cheaper)!
Oh by the way, before you leave, you HAVE to bring home their mamon (sponge cake). It's done by Miss Carmen by hand and are pillows of sweet cheesy goodness. All the batches Miss Carmen bakes run out everyday. Why? You'll just have to drop by Segovia's to find out. =)
Segovia's Cake and Recipes (formerly Cake Studio) is located at 28 Gen. Vicente Lim st., Little Baguio, San Juan City. You can contact them at 725-2849 / 727-4616.
(photos by Blanche Rivera-Fernandez)