“And I’ve got all that I need right here in the passenger seat”. The song by Stephen Speaks comes to mind as I whooped in joy, seeing a fork packed with my leftover herbed meatballs pasta.
As I write this, I am sitting in heavy traffic, headed to Quezon City from Alabang. It’s been two hours and I am just approaching BGC. I am tired, bored, and hungry. At least now I can remove “hungry” from my list.
Also beside me is a box of goodies I bought from Crostatina Patisserie and Cafe. They’re supposed to be my pasalubong for my brother, Jai (a.k.a Toto) who refused to have even a bite of the cakes I brought to our last family dinner. “They used margarine,” he complained to his kuya Coco.
So I am making it up to him and his discriminating palate with pastries by chef Pauline Lagdameo. “I’m using real butter, real cream, no margarine. I don’t use non-dairy,” she promised.
I’ve known Pauline since 2009, we were together in the Les Toques Blanches Philippines Culinary Team Philippines. We brought home a silver from the Hong Kong International Culinary Classic that year.
Pauline whipped up her first chocolate cake after receiving a cookbook from her mom when she was in grade 1. But it never occurred to her that her passion would eventually become a career. After earning her Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies majoring in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, she held teaching posts (at the Center for Culinary Arts and the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management) and worked as corporate chef of a multi-national company. Now she is trying her hand at entrepreneurship.
Together with five partners, she opened Crostatina Patisserie and Cafe last June 3. The name means ‘tart’ in Italian. “My concept is to have all individual-sized cakes so I had to look for a name that signified a small pastry,” she rationalized.
While the name of the place is Italian, their menu is not cuisine-centered.
“I was thinking of doing high-end fancy desserts but I have such a small kitchen. Besides, we wanted to be more of a neighborhood pastry place so what I am offering is a mix of some classics and some na may konting variation – people are still familiar but they’re not exactly the same,” she elaborated. She bakes in small quantities to keep everything as fresh as possible.
I also spotted some Banana Caramel Smores, Chocolate Walnut Classic Tarts, Swiss Chocolate Cake with marshmallow icing, plus cookies in Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin. The Whoopie Pie was not available when I visited.
“We make our own iced tea and juice. Today our iced tea is fresh apple (we’re not getting canned) and rosemary and the juice is mango lemon. We change every so often. Our coffee is local but Italian roast. We serve it with muscovado sugar or Stevia,” she volunteered.
Chef Ryan Abejuela is the partner in charge of the hot kitchen. Those who are not so keen on eating pastries can choose from a selection of soup, salad, pasta, and a few items for main course. I was surprised to see guests enjoying hearty meals at 4pm! I overheard the lady at the next table insisting on crème brulee for dessert because her friend told her that it’s so good. Wow, word travels fast!
Everything is served on pretty plates. Pauline credits another partner Malou Diaz (who is an architect) for the styling and interiors. Crostatina is nothing like the cutie-country-shabby-chic that’s all the rage for pastry shops. I love how it looks quite formal with its black couches and leather table covers but still maintains a relaxed atmosphere. It’s nice to be able to dine in such an elegant setting without having to shell out an arm and a leg.
I will definitely be going back to Crostatina soon. Next time, with the rest of the gang. So I’d have company in traffic. Hehe!
Crostatina Patisserie and Cafe is at the 2nd floor of Madison Galeries, Don Jesus Boulevard, Muntinlupa.
For more information, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Crostatina-Patisserie-and-Cafe-1106596642732892/timeline.