Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Bread-lover's Felicity at Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe

According to this vintage book, A Book for a Cook (1905) from Pillsbury Company, "Good bread is the great need in poor homes and oftentimes the best appreciated luxury in the homes of the very rich." 
Though man does not really live on bread alone, for we thrive in steaks, mixed veggies and a host of cuisines, bread is still a staple food to many countries, which practically compete with rice here in Manila.  
If you ask me, whether it's rice or bread?  I would not dare choose, for breads can truly be partnered with different dry or saucy kind of dishes and also soups, but I can't really say it would go well with Sinigang (Meat with Sour Soup) or Bulalo (Beef Shank Soup), would it?

Since we are talking of bread and how it had nourished the rich and the poor alike, it is just so apt to share the experience I had, which I practically devoured the most number of bread in one sitting.  But mind you, it wasn't customary morning bread I had -such as Pan de Sal, the different kinds of breads I tried fall under the food criteria -artisan, or should I rather describe it as a break from my prosaic bread-eating habit.

Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe is the place where you can enjoy revel in an assortment of breads, including the breadsticks and Spanish bread which Monsee's had been widely known for.  The Monsee's Cafe in White Plains, Quezon City had made Harina it's retail arm.

If you were to be invited to a seat-down brunch with the following food, painstakingly and passionately prepared for you, what would your reply be?  Let me show you what I had first at Harina, then let me know your answer.

On every table, a container full of bread-sticks will welcome you and await you, together with two glasses, one that has hot chocolate syrup in it and the other has cream cheese, both are dippings for the bread sticks.

The breads paraded on our table with one wooden board after another, and together with my fellow bloggers we were in awe with how  the Bloomin' Bread had been presented, which was the first to be served.   It's a rustic Italian bread loaf infused with basil puree and dramatically basted with melded assortment of cheese.  As with the way Italian enjoy their bread, it is served with a dip made of balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.  It was a huge bread to begin with but I loved every bite I had, the idea of pulling apart a bread so easily with one part filled with ozzing cheese and the aroma of the basil driving you crazy is enough for me to bask more here at Harina.
You see, this cafe more than just serve your kind of bread, home-made, no preservatives and made by hand.  They serve an All-Day Breakfast Menu, yes another one to add to that duly trending in the food industry.  One such category is the Hearty All-Day Sandwiches.
From that category we were able to try two.  The photo above is the Chicken Caesar Sandwich.  A baguette is sliced in half layered  with lettuce in Caesar dressing,  grilled Cajun-style Chicken slice, parmesan cheese, bacon and with a beautiful poached egg.  An order consists of a the sandwich, French fries and more greens.
Another from that category is the Waldorf Sandwich.  As you can notice, they have taken sandwich making up a notch with marrying it with the occasional salad.  Like with the previous sandwich, it was like the ho-hum Ceasar salad was packed inside the crusty bread and just slipped in the fairly sized chicken meat.

The Waldorf Salad however is served the same, it's like you are eating a saladwich.  This time a flaky pastry bread was used, something like a croissant.  This idea though bizarre really does eating more practical, which what every busy heads needs for a quikie meal.  Yes, one saladwich can make up for a heavy brunch or lunch.

The Breakfast Tart, is a heavy serving for a tart.  It's a puff pastry flattened like a square pizza, garnished with cream cheese, spinach, tomatoes and finished with lots of bacon slices and not one but two  eggs.  It's actually good for two and a bit hard to slice.  But as one of the Harina Specials, this is one unique treat I would order again, perfect for that meryenda with your favorite hot or house-blend tea.

"Nothing is as perfect as being waken up in the morning with an aroma of buttered bread being pan grilled." Spoken by my lover!  For me however there is a better one, one that surpasses, French Toast!

Harina however had reinvented serving French Toasts.  You must have been drooling right now as you have your eyes fixed on the photo of the Strawberry-Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast above.

Imagine a palette of cheesecake squished in between two brioche slices, evident short-soaked in milk, eggs, flour and melted butter mixture, and fried perfectly just like a pain perdu should be done.

One of my secret favorite when making my own sandwich is with peanut butter and slices of bananas or ham with curry mayo with apple slices.  But Harina have given me a whole new perspective in making and enjoying my French Toast.  I tell you, it's a work of art!  Get this picture of  a wheat honey French toast stuffed with creamy peanut butter, sliced bananas and luscious chocolate spread.  Heaven!

We did load up with carbs but I didn't mind, specially if you will be served with this sinfully addicting moist brownie topped with slices of fresh strawberries and sheathed with cream cheese.  I bake and I know what a good brownie is, so judging with this one, I can say that they would pass my kid's preference for a good one other than mommy's baking.   Your plate is so artfully presented as well.

Before we all got up on our feet to surrender for the day's event, the staff brought out three ginormous plates with their version of Croughnuts.  The infamous donut- croissant hybrid has three flavors Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Blueberry Cheesecake, though they call these sugary treats as laminated donuts.  Of course, I didn't dare try them all, I can see how the flaky fried rings are thickly coated with sugar and laced with added flavors.  I only tried the Blueberry, giving my palate a different flavor with its sour to sweet profile.

So if you are in search for a great yet different take on your All-Day Breakfast craving, why not make your way here along Katipunan Rd.  and be refreshed with the relaxing and homey ambiance from the next door bakery cum cafe!

Let me not diminish the fact that the favorite treats from Monsees's are still here for your bread-eating pleasure.

The all-time favorite of Monsee's regular customers- the bread sticks are also good as gifts and they come in variants too. It's now my replacement for chips and junk foods.

Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe

Address:  118 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains,
                1110 Quezon City, Philippines
Contact Numbers:  (02) 352 6721
FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/harinacafe


I would love to hear your thoughts on my post, care for a comment?