If you know your kitchen history, perhaps you could go beyond that and scrutinize our country's spice trade. Not all foodies could handle that. Nah! Not even me! But one thing is worth digging into is how our country managed to establish our own distinctive flavors. Undeniably, we took ours from Spanish influences and some from the Chinese and eventually from other nations who took us into.
It was how we started our conversation with Chef RJ Ungco of Cafe Enye. According to him, not only is his Spanish background inspirational to how they conceptualized the menu, it was how the spices played a critical element, thus a talk on spice route.
Ñ, a letter that is given less importance by many (except those whose names has it, like Kuya Jim Peña, or Niña) is the distinguishing mark of this rising resto in Eastwood Center.
Enye, or Ñ, as they've named the resto was based on the Spanish Spice Route, "the letter present in the countries under the spice route, from Spain to Portugal, down to countries in the Mediterranean, Latin American, eventually the Philippines." According to Chef RJ.
But before we had that talk, I was able to infatuate with Cafe Enye's interiors.
I love the mismatched chairs and tables. No design principles were broken (for me though) but everything proved to be chic and functional.
There are walls accentuated with wooden tiles in herringbone design.
With the different kinds of chairs and couches present inside the cafe, your home or office design inspiration is checked, right off the bat.
The light fixture inside the private function room, madefrom metal pipes gives this spot the industrial look with a bit of romance.
What an idea, function and form married with decorating a certain spot with an expensive coffee grinder and some coffee of course.
Ahh, these tiles...two-toned Spanish tiles, which I could have ours dismantled and changed with these...
So, going back to our conversation, before my saliva reaches the floor...
Enye started just last December of 2015. They did give enough buzz with the help of food bloggers, but people are drawn to come inside and most of them eventually come back for the good food.
Yes, Manila does have a lot of superb Spanish restos, but Enye distinguishes itself from them as they play a twist on the normal Spanish dishes we were accustomed to. But like it in the way of how rigorous it is when prepared.
On usual occasions when we're ready to really dine (meaning to eat a lot) we don't order beverages (except for water) but we were served with something from their fruity blended drinks and iced coffee concoctions which were refreshing after walking from the oven-hot parking lot at Eastwood mall.
I had this citrus-y Calamansi-cucumber. Hmmm...if ever I would order a drink, this would be my top choice. Maybe they're some kind of psychic knowing what would please me.
For my coffee-lover husband, this Iced Mocha is such a reward after braving the traffic all the way from Mall of Asia o Eastwood.
Leveraging from the traditional Spanish recipes, are out-of-the-box ideas. Like in the case of Enye's Callos Buns.
If I were to post this on IG, I'm sure many would agree with me that this is something foodies should try and I would post a hundred of these damn emojis at the comment. 'Coz really it's just, ahhh...
You'll easily fall in love, from the first to the last bite. Think Snow Buns (you do know where to get it?) with a flaky outer crust and soft pillowy bread and in it core slow-cooked savory Callos oozes out. It's served atop crispy potato shreds.
We were supposed to be there for brunch but we came a little too early for meryenda sena. Anyhow, we did try out their Brunch offering.
An out-of-the-box dining experience I had with this Paella Brunch Plate option. The Home-made Corned Beef graces a faux paella and sunny side egg. It's a cross between paella and "Si-Log." For them there's a Science to it, but to me it's just a glorious plate worth having anytime of the day.
Their Paella plates come in 4 types: House-cured Beef Tapa, Home-made Daing na Bangus, Handcrafted Longanisa and Home-made Corned Beef.
For a more glorious experience, the chef added pickled veggies, salsa, and crispy-fried anchovies. The mix of tang from the pickled veggies, the crisp, and the soft corned beef makes it truly differently adventurous.
Bhogs had a different set of Brunch: Spanish Breakfas Plate.
This huge plate "runneth over" with baked beans, Spanish chorizo, bacon strips, sunny-side eggs, grilled tomato and Spanish-style toast. Spanish toast normally is cooked with tomatoes rubbed in garlic sourdough bread slices, cooked or grilled using olive oil.
You have to note, that this resto, does not believe in shortcuts! They make everything in their kitchen from local suppliers and with ingredients sourced out in other countries making the flavor authentic yet distinct to them.
Choux pastry, if you didn't know is the lightest, crispiest, airiest pastry. They are usually used to make profiteroles or éclairs. The airiness, in fact, is caused because choux has a high water content, which is turned into steam during baking and this forces the pastry shell outwards and gives it volume.
Like churros it's dipped in specialized sweet dips - dipped in dulce de leche red egg and/or tsokolate peanut butter dips. Though I'm always a fan of whatever chocolates, I prefer the previous as I find the mix of red egg and dulce de leche not cloying and has enough creaminess that sticks to the pastry.
Address: Ground Floor, Excelsior Building,
Eastwood Avenue, Libis, Quezon City