Saturday, September 7, 2013

Designers Blooms Cafe - A Healthy Organic Meal in Alabang

 Designer Blooms Café

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Designer Blooms has been in business for over twenty years now in the Philippines. The popular fresh and dried flower business has been de rigueur for many guys on Valentine’s Day. Nowadays, they may just opt to bring the ladies to Designer Blooms’ first café in Alabang for a healthy, organic meal that will go perfectly well with their date’s little black dress!

Designer Blooms Café
 
A flower shop cum café may sound odd to many people, but stepping into the cheerful little store of Designer Blooms Café located in the Molito Commercial Complex will put their minds at ease. Designer Blooms CEO Marie Garcia describes the store’s design as “eclectic industrial”. They paired the tough and modern--exposed beams and raw cement floors--with shabby chic quirkiness--a wall of mirrors, mismatched chairs and tables, playfully patterned pillows and sofas, and (of course) rows and rows of gorgeous, brilliantly-colored flowers and fragrant herbs. While waiting for their food, diners can enjoy watching the staff skillfully prepare the colorful bouquets or even decide to buy their own centerpiece or potted plant.
 
 
The café’s tagline says it all: freshly picked, freshly prepared. Most of the food are prepared and cooked only upon ordering. While this causes the food to take longer to arrive on the table, this process helps ensure that the dishes are as fresh as possible. Many of the ingredients are also prepared in-house, such as the bread and pasta. The herbs of course, are also all grown there. A good example of this meticulousness is the Jalapeño Burger (P420). This hefty-sized burger can give a lot of the popular burger joints a run for their money. A thick beef patty is topped with organic lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and, of course, jalapeños. They also add melted cheese, several rashers of bacon, and serve it with an order of the homemade potato crisps and ranch dressing. The condiments, standard ketchup and mustard, are served separately.
Jalapeño Burger
Some may consider it pricey for a decidedly “simple” burger (no foie gras or fried quail egg to clog the arteries or questionable “special sauces” here), but it definitely delivers in the essentials. The patty is moist, flavorful, and well cooked; the bun dense, but soft and chewy, and all the other fillings add their own distinct flavor and texture. A word of caution though, as the jalapeño comes in chunks, and while each bite will be a delight to those who love heat, those who with more sensitive palates ought to be wary.
As its owners are quite savvy with trends, the menu also features a few popular local food crazes such as cronuts and panizzas. Their Croughnut (P95), the offspring of a croissant and a donut,  comes in three flavors: Belgian chocolate, Dulce de Leche, and Nutella. Dusted with sugar and cinnamon and stuffed with custard or cream, these flaky concoctions are a rich treat and also available in munchkin-sized Croughkinn (P95 for 5 pieces). One can pair the Croughnuts with the café’s signature French Press Coffee (LAMILL Organic Coffee French Press, P160), which comes with an adorable timer that lets one choose the strength of the brew. Coffee lovers will certainly appreciate the organic beans that have been flown in all the way from San Francisco, USA.
Croughkinns
 
 
French Press Coffee
Josh’s Pizzadilla (P220), which is their version of the panizza, is actually part of the kid’s menu. This thin-crust pepperoni pizza is topped with arugula or salad rocket and alfalfa sprouts, cut into length-wise strips, and eaten as a roll instead of a slice. The Pizzadilla is definitely a great order for kids or the kid at heart, as they not only get to “play” with their food, but they also get their serving of vegetables—organic ones at that! And even if it’s on the kid’s menu, one pie is certainly enough to satisfy a grown-up’s craving.
Josh’s Pizzadilla
 
On a miserable rainy day, nothing can be more comforting that a steaming hot bowl of soup. Designer Blooms has several options, but their specialty is the Hearty Mushroom Soup (P189). Made out of fresh shiitake and button mushrooms, thyme and parsley, this creamy soup is a meal in itself.
Hearty Mushroom Soup
 
For even heartier comfort food, one may opt for the Bolognese (P265) pasta, made up of a rich and tangy meat sauce, fresh pasta, and a generous portion of Parmigianino cheese. Like the other menu offerings, this dish benefits from the café’s insistence in using premium ingredients and time-consuming cooking preparations. In this case, the fresh homemade pasta makes all the difference and may just make one forget the pancake-maker’s version.
Bolognese
 
Many new restaurants find the laidback, family-centered Alabang a tricky location, but the café has been enjoying regular business since it opened in 2012.  According to Ms. Garcia, they plan to open two more branches in the Makati and Fort areas by 2014. They currently offer catering and delivery services to nearby areas.
While some may still find the name odd, after all, why name a café after a flower shop? But Designer Blooms brings the same characteristics to the café that made the eponymous flower shop such a popular choice for discerning women and their starry-eyed suitors. Freshness is just as important for the centerpiece as with the food!

Establishment Info

Designer Blooms Café

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