“Would you like some croissants?” the waitstaff politely asked.
I wanted to wait for my good friend Virgil to arrive, but since the aroma of freshly baked pastries was already difficult to resist, I eventually gave in. I was then comfortably seated at a corner table at Abaca Baking Company, a new bakery/cafe at Crossroads in Banilad, Cebu. From my vantage point, I could see the restaurant’s countertop filled with assorted breads, the busy kitchen not far behind it and the largely empty parking lot outside. It was a cloudy Sunday morning.
“I’d like an ordinary and one with ham and cheese,” I replied.
“How about your coffee sir, would you like it dark?”
This guy seemed to read my mind so I did not scan again the brew options on the restaurant’s clipboard menu, the back of which had a whimsical painting of someone in a red cape. The rest of the boards stashed in a nearby metal canister have also been painted over, each with a completely different design.
The croissants were then served a few minutes later. As I sliced through it, tiny flakes from its crisp outer shell crumbled with little restraint. Inside though is a different story, one that’s punctuated with buttery notes and that elusive pillowy texture that only experienced bakers can properly pull off. This, I thought to myself, is definitely the croissant to beat.
If I had my way, I would have consumed all the croissants by myself. But since my good friend was still on his way, I looked around the restaurant again to get my mind off the golden brown goodies.
On the walls of ABC are colorful paintings done by local artists. I also noticed that the ceiling and the mural by the counter were handpainted. All these details, including the ‘personalized’ menu boards, added a sense of vibrancy to the casual place. This was a welcome departure from the mostly contemporary interiors of the few Abaca Group restaurants I’ve been to.
Thankfully Virgil arrived shortly. We then ordered the ABC Breakfast Skillet which contains the usual suspects in an English breakfast – a sausage, strips of bacon, pieces of toast, beans, tomatoes, potatoes and then topped off with 2 properly cooked eggs. It was a heavy meal when you compare it to most Filipino breakfasts. But we managed to finish it off nonetheless as we talked about our recent travels, our work and a few more topics in between.
I find all this rather odd too because most of the time, I prefer eating by myself especially during breakfast. The solitude, albeit brief, allows me to think clearly as I set out the order of my day.
That morning perhaps was an exception, one that I do not regret making at all. Probably because of the croissants. Or maybe it’s good to veer out of the daily routine from time to time. Or maybe breakfasts, like most meals in general, are more memorable when they are shared with somebody else.
After getting our quick morning fill, Virgil and I then left the busy cafe.
Abaca Baking Co
Crossroads Mall, Banilad, Cebu City
+63 32 2620969
Opens daily from 7:00am – 7:00pm.