They should have a sign on the counter that says: Diabetics beware.
Or else they should have insulin syringe nearby in case one of the customers suddenly ups and suffers a hyperglycemic shock.
Such is the case of the desserts of the English Café, that small-ish piece of corner along Gate 1 of the University of St. La Salle offering mostly coffee products, tea and desserts for Lasallian students and faculty.
But we are getting ahead of the story.
The place is a favorite hang-out of students who want to be seen and be seen, especially with its transparent walls and free wifi. And of course, the opportunity of canoodling and cozying up that the comfy upholstery of their oversized couches offers – who wouldn’t want to stay there? Granted, it’s a little too expensive for an average student living off in a tight budget, but hey, it wouldn’t hurt once in a while to pretend to belong to the hip-cool crowd by darkening the hallways of the café and ordering a tall glass of mocha latté.
And did I mention the free wifi?
The place offers standard items that one can usually find in any self-respecting café. There is, for instance, a choice of hot and cold coffees (the hot Green Tea Coffee is a little disconcerting, though); frappes, teas, and desserts. They also serve American Waffles (as opposed to the cheap ones sold at the Public Plaza at P5 apiece), chicken sandwiches and, for some reason, popcorn (don’t ask!).
For this review, we ordered a cappuccino and Caramel Latté for the *hot* drinks, and Iced Green Tea and a Mocha Frappe for the cold drinks. Their coffee offerings, especially the hot drinks, were a little on the sweet side. The cappuccino, for instance, seems to have more milk than espresso – or maybe that was the sachet of Equal making itself felt. The same is true with the Caramel Latté , although Bacolod Spice enjoyed the foam in his latté because it was stiff enough to retain the latté art even after a few sips. We would have appreciated a little bitterness there, but hey… it’s a matter of preference.
The Green Iced Tea was decent enough – it had just a hint of the green tea which didn’t overpower the milk that was added to the mix. It had to be drunk immediately, though. The generous amounts of ice cubes they added to chill the drink had all but diluted the flavor of the tea if you wait long enough (which is true actually, with all drinks). The coffee-based frappe, though, was one of the better ones I tasted. The consistency of the ice was appropriately thick, not runny, and it helped that they didn’t scrimp on the coffee. It was sweet, but not overpoweringly so.
Which unfortunately is not true with the desserts. There’s sweet and there’s cloying. Their desserts were soooo cloying, I swear I could see ants donning their napkins in the table beside us while Kenny G music plays in the background. Yes, it was THAT cloying.
The desserts in question were sans “don’t pronounce the ‘s’” rival and the blueberry cheesecake. First, the sans rival. The butter frosting melted under room temperature – I’m not sure what baking process was skipped, but the frost was just not stiff enough to hold the cake together outside of its chiller, especially when the cutting process starts. And speaking of cutting – the whole cake seemed like it was built for the MMA. It was close to impossible cutting thatpiece of cake – the wafer was that tough, and it does have that nasty habit of sticking at the roof of our mouths.
And what was with the granulated sugar? The sugar (apparently, they didn’t use the confectioners or powdered sugar favored by the dessert industry for icings and confections) asserted its presence as the last of the frosting melted in the mouth.
The same is true with the blueberry cheesecake. Don’t ask me if it’s any good – I was quite distracted with the granulated sugar fighting with the tartness of blueberry in my mouth for dominance.
As for the other food – the chicken sandwich was just magical, but not in the way you might expect. We ate, and chomped, and masticated and (insert synonym for chew here) and guess what: We can’t find no friggin’ chicken! What we had instead was an odd mush of yellow gloop, cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce leaves, but NO FRIGGIN’ CHICKEN! See – magical! The chicken disappeared!
What is arguably the best-seller, though, is the American Waffles drizzled with maple syrup. Don’t get discouraged with the sorry-looking waffle looking forlornly at you by the display counter. The ones they serve are piping hot, buttery, with an equal amount of fluff and stiffness. PERFECT! It just takes time to cook, though (about 10 – 15 minutes) but it was well worth the wait.
With prices ranging from P60 to P120, the items offered at English Cafe are competitively priced given the ambience. Certain students didn’t mind the price that much – especially when they can pay P70 for a frappe, finish said frappe in two hours while they read about the latest hymen surgery of some nubile ABS-CBN pop tart in that latest Facebook app.
In other words, you’re not just paying for the food – you’re paying for ambience.
And did I say there’s free wifi?
Anyway, at any rate, just enjoy your frappe and American waffles. And don’t mind if you hear a crack of a skull hitting pavement a few meters away from you. It might just be some poor old soul suffering from hyperglycaemic shock after a few slices of the sans rival.