Summer this year has been unforgiving. With the scorching heat of the sun majestically shining upon the Metro, I often find myself dehydrated and craving for cold and refreshing icy snacks. Good thing there are a number of gelaterias around to give us our needed cooling session, one of which is Cafe Publico in Greenhills.
Located at the 2nd level of Greenhills Promenade, this quaint snack bar and gelato destination is perfect not only for hungry foodies, but also for the barkada and even for the whole family. Cafe Publico may not be a full service restaurant, but they carry a good selection of chips, sandwiches, pasta dishes and refreshments, along with their extensive line of home-made creamy summer coolers -- gelatos.
Before our group got to sample what they can offer for our taste buds, our eyes first feasted on the cozy European street cafe-inspired interiors of Cafe Publico. There was a big wooden door, as well as faux windows lined with potted plants and antique street lamps. Children, as well as kids at heart, can also enjoy the cafe's chess table or play some board games.
After appreciating the quaint ambiance of Cafe Publico, it was time to try their gustatory delights. For a light start, we had the Creamed Corn and Nachos (P225). Although it's quite unconventional to have a cream-based corn mixture paired with nachos, I really liked the combination. Of course, it lacked the zing and the tang of tomatoes, but being a corn lover, it was a perfect corny appetizer.
We also got to sample the Moroccan Beef Chili (P245), a meaty and savory tomato-based dip topped with creamy cheese. Unlike the previous corny dip, this one had more kick and flair. Most of my companions preferred this over the creamed corn, but both dips were equally good for me. Honestly, I'd say top your nachos with both the creamed corn and beef chili!
Although I'm not big on dips, I really enjoyed Cafe Publico's line of savory dips and chips served with crostini and breadsticks.
Spinach and Cheese Dip (P280)
Ham and Mushroom Dip (P280)
Crab Artichoke (P280)
Chicken Liver Pistachio Pate (P280)
Among these savory dips, the Spinach and Cheese and Ham and Mushroom dips were the safest and most preferred by my companions. Both tasted strongly of cheese, with accents of their respective flavors. The Crab Artichoke on the other hand, was rich and tasted strongly of crab. It was good, but none of us raved too much about it.
However, although the Chicken Liver Pistachio Pate didn't garner praises on our table, it was the one I liked the most. I don't typically like liver, but the distinctive liver flavor infused with pistachios was light, savory and far from being too powdery.
We also got to sample a serving of the 3-Cheese Beef Lasagna (P295) which was rich, savory, creamy and oh-so-meaty. I'm not a big fan of lasagnas, but this is one pasta dish I'd order when I revisit Cafe Publico.
Although pesto dishes are more likely to be tiring for the taste buds, our table can't get enough of the Pesto and Cream Spaghetti (P280). Unlike most pesto sauces I've tried, this plate was not overpowering. There were just hints of the basil pesto here and there, and that subtleness made this dish delectable and really enjoyable.
We also got to sample the Sausage and Spinach Spaghetti Arrabiata (P290) -- a sweet yet slightly spicy tomato-based pasta dish which oozes with real meaty goodness, and the Spicy Tuna Spaghetti in Olive Oil (P280) -- a simple tuna in oil pasta dish with a real spicy kick.
We already had quite a carb-loaded meal, but our trip won't be complete without a serving of the Mushroom and Truffle Cream Spaghetti (P310) which was a rich and creamy pasta dish loaded with the beautiful aroma and flavor of truffle oil.
You'd think we already had enough for one evening, but being in a gelateria, we just can't miss trying out Cafe Publico's famous gelato flavors.
|Peanut Butter & Jelly, Toothpaste, Banana Nutella, Dirty Mint, Thai Tea, Cream for the Gods|
Mocha Brownie Fudge, Sophia Loren, Cafe Crunch, El Pili-Ube-Rismo, Dark & Bumpy
|Thai Tea, Cream for the Gods, Blushing Geisha, Ice Buko, Red Velvet|
Vanilla, Choc Oatmeal Fudge, Straciatella, Dulce De Leche
I got to try most of Cafe Publico's gelato flavors, and every single one of them is tasty and oh-so-yummy. Owner Mr. Peter Chua though specially recommended us to try these bestsellers: strawberry and pistachio combo Sophia Loren, strong and rich Cafe Crunch, and sweet and creamy Red Velvet.
However, in the end I chose to go with two unconventional flavors, Toothpaste -- a refreshing peppermint-candycane combo, and Blushing Geisha -- a rich green tea with strawberry coulis concoction.
Although Cafe Publico is quite a long ride from my place, taking the trip to Greenhills was definitely worth it. The nachos, dips and chips, pasta dishes and gelatos were all wonderful. Service was also prompt and very courteous. However, I personally feel that the main factor separating Cafe Publico from other snack and dessert hubs would be its quaint and relaxing ambiance where you can chill while enjoying good food, and just be yourself. True to its tagline, Cafe Publico proves that it's where gelatos, snacks and people all go well together.
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Cafe Publico, Greenhills Promenade
2/F Greenhills Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Center
San Juan, Metro Manila