Previously known as Monsees Café, Harina Artisan Bakery Café is a neighborhood shop with a cozy dining area and a takeout corner where guests can buy fresh breads, pastries and other baked goodies Harina has to offer. And while I never got to go to the cafe back when it was still named Monsees, I'm sure glad I was able to check it out now after its re-opening. Heard it's now more spacious and offers more dishes for dine-in.
Unlike bigger, commercialized bakeries, Harina does things the traditional way, without shortcuts and chemical additives. It wasn't necessary to add chemicals to bread for centuries, and Harina believes it still isn't. And with this core principle, one can already guess that the bestsellers at Harina Artisan Bakery Café involve their baked goods.
While waiting for our dishes, I had a great time browsing through the breads, pastries and delicacies at Harina's takeout area. Here are just some that caught my attention...
They also have Spanish breads, French breads, cheesecakes, bundt cakes, rhum cakes, cupcakes, s'mores and more baked goodies -- all made fresh and handmade. You can even get to see their bakers in action from their open baking area. ʕっ˘ڡ˘ςʔ
|Bacalao Filipino in Soya Oil (P145)|
|Danish Pastries (P45) and Cinnamon Swirls (P45)|
|Cookies (P65) and Chocolate Crinkles|
|Choco-Banana Muffin (P90) and Double Chocolate Muffin (P90)|
|Italian Loaf (P65)|
|Handmade Bread Sticks (P100)|
These are really good and addicting, by the way!
From the look and feel of Harina Artisan Bakery Café, one can already tell that this place serves all-day breakfast. And yes, they do! But they also offer pasta dishes and sandwiches on top of their baked goods.
Our serving might not look like it has fully bloomed. But believe me, this flower-inspired Italian bread has easy-to-pull-apart sections filled with basil and melted cheese. Served with balsamic vinegar in extra virgin olive oil, this is the perfect meal starter here at Harina with its crisp, crusty outside and soft, light and chewy inside. Pure yumminess!
|✓ Harina's Bloomin' Bread (P320)|
For mains, we started off with this refreshing sandwich made of flaky pastry filled with chicken, apples, celery and chopped walnuts with mayo. As the name implies, this is a combination of sandwich (more of a croissant) and salad. And as a lover of carbs, and also salad, I dig this sweet, slightly tart and overall fruity ensemble. Some may find it weird, but if you love Waldorf salad, give this a try and you'll definitely get hooked!
|✓ Waldorf Salad Sandwich (P220)|
This sandwich is also really good! Pulled pork adobo with fried kesong puti, tomato and lettuce on baguette. Every bite is a savory and salty explosion. And despite coming in shreds, the pulled pork were actually pretty tender. But what seals the deal for me isn't the filling, but the actual bread. It's crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. With baguette like this, I won't mind whatever they put in as filling! Seriously!
|✓ Adobo Pulled Pork Sandwich (P265)|
Grilled Cajun chicken in Caesar dressing with lettuce, bacon, parmesan cheese and a poached egg on a baguette. Again, this is a recipe of sandwich goodness just because of Harina's baguette. However, I can't deny that the filling was really enjoyable. Quite messy to eat, yes. But every bite just oozes with savory, creamy, salty yuminess. It's all the things any normal human being would want, plus more.
|✓ Chicken Caesar Sandwich (P220)|
To really complete the carb-loading session, we didn't only sample the breads, but also some pastas. First of which is this serving of fettuccine with bacon and asparagus in a creamy sauce. And as you can see, it also got a pretty poached egg to top it with! While the boyf found this enjoyable, I on the other hand didn't dig it too much. It's creamy and can please anyone with a few spoonfuls, but as you eat more and more of it, you'd find it quite lacking in the umami department.
|Creamy Bacon and Asparagus Pasta (P250)|
We also had this plate of spaghetti in tomato sauce with roasted garlic, red chili peppers and crisp basil. From the menu, I found out that this was supposed to be a spicy pasta dish. However, a few forkfuls will tell you that it lacks the kick. I also found the sauce more on the sweet side than tangy, so this might be a pasta dish kids and kids-at-heart will love. However, I personally wish this was done more Italian style 'cause that would just make more sense with all the great breads Harina is carrying.
To close the meal on a sweet note, we had this serving of cheesecake-filled brioche topped with whipped cream and strawberry preserves. Although this looks like a breakfast-dessert item, don't be fooled 'cause it isn't cloying. Those who are looking for the sweet French toast might get a little disappointed. But if you're like me who can't tolerate too sweet of a treat, this is a good dessert option. Crisp yet soft, sweet yet quite tangy. If only the strawberry flavor wasn't as subtle, this would be perfect in my opinion.
|Strawberry Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast (P290)|
Harina carries a good selection of coffee and smoothies. However, since the boyf and I were pretending to be on a diet, we just ordered their house-brewed iced tea. And while the smoothies were in fact more photogenic, based on the servings brought to other tables, our mason jar of tea is good and very satisfying as well. Citrus-y, not-too-sweet and with a hint of honey -- this is a refreshing drink perfect for the dishes we had.
|✓ Signature Iced Tea (P88)|
From this visit, I found that Harina is not your ordinary neighborhood bakery. They offer really good artisan breads and pastries perfect for dine-in or to be taken home. And while the non-bread products didn't quite impress me, I'm still looking forward to return to Harina for their Bloomin' Bread, great sandwiches and addicting bread sticks. And with quality always in mind, big portions, affordable price tags, thoughtful service and a cozy and refreshing ambiance, I guarantee all you fellow bread lovers that Harina Artisan Bakery Café is definitely worth checking out!
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Harina Artisan Bakery Café, White Plains
118 Katipunan Ave., White Plains, Quezon City
Metro Manila, Philippines
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