M Café/ Kabila: where we conquered the ‘impossible’

After a gorgeous late lunch, A and I decided to continue our typical London date ritual in Manila so we went to (M)useum Café/Kabila for drinks and dessert. Kabila means ‘other side’ in Filipino and this is quite appropriate as the bistro opened late last year on the ‘other side’ of the newly refurbished M Café. They serve Filo favourites punched to another level - from preparation to presentation to taste.

The weather was incredibly pleasant so we asked for a table outside. We had a strategic view of punters we’d eventually gossip about and a good buzz from lounge tunes and passers-by. There was a tree decked with paper lamps nearby and it set off an almost ethereal vibe. The ambience was so nice and strangely comforting - I actually had a moment when I thought to myself what a lovely city Manila is and how blessed I am to be able to call it home.

I love that candle cage thing!
I didn’t expect the cocktails in Manila to compare to what we have here in London, especially the ones at our favourite watering hole, LAB (London Academy of Bartenders). That said, when the first round of drinks came I was quite surprised because 1) they came in rather ‘Go Large!’ glasses, 2) they looked like they were handled with proper ‘bartender care’, and 3) no small paper umbrellas here, thank you very much.
A and her Pandan Mojito J

I had a sip of A’s pandan-infused lychee mojito (PHP210) and it was super refreshing. My lemongrass and peach sake martini (PHP195) was pretty good too; the lemongrass twist gave it an intriguing flavour and the sweetness of the muddled peach complemented and enhanced the spirit (vodka) and other liqueurs. Both cocktails had a good ratio of alcohol and I guess you can say we were both happy after that round.
Martini and me. Of course.
We got free nibbles with our drinks: wee pots of shing-a-ling served in a block of, uh, concrete? *shrugs* I thought it was a cute way to serve such humble fare. This snack is basically just dried thick noodles, deep fried and seasoned with salt and pepper. Very simple, very moreish. 

‘Date with Ana’ wouldn’t be complete without… eggs. I don’t eat the stuff (at least not when I can actually see it) but I almost always seem to have something eggy on our dates! She’s made me eat Japanese omelette, drink cocktails with egg white froth, and made me eat Mexican flan back when I didn’t know they were made with egg yolks! (I don’t cook much, sorry!)

The culprit this time was a slice of ‘The Impossible Cake’ (PHP195). It’s a two-layer cake of chocolate sponge and leche flan (!!!) served with candied nuts. What a cool concept, it’s like having three cakes in one! It’s an impressive-looking cake - you prolly have to have amazing technical skills to master it. The layers tasted alright individually although I undoubtedly enjoyed the chocolate layer more than the leche flan part; the moist sponge had that nice bittersweet taste you get when you have good quality cocoa and the flan was creamy and smooth (although I thought the top part was baked a tad over). The flavour profile is quite interesting when you eat both layers in a forkful but the texture fell slightly strange to my taste. I’m not sure I like it enough to order it again but this is possibly just because I’m not an egg/flan person. I’d recommend you try it for yourself though.

We also had a slice of this delicious ube cake (PHP195). The actual name escapes me but it was really yummy. It had a bit of sponge and also a moist, creamy, almost jam-y layer with macapuno that gave it texture and a fantastic play on flavour. It was sweet but not sickeningly so. Hands down this one was the better choice for me.

We had another round of cocktails. A had the Choc Nut martini (PHP210), a delicious alcoholic homage to one of the best snacking treats Filos love. The cocktail itself reminded me of mudslide cocktails we used to make in college, with the coffee liqueurs and the chocolate hit. The ChocNut pieces were an absolute treat though - I wish I thought of it m’self!

My second cocktail was the Mangga et Guava (PHP195) which looked like a pish posh fruit shake/ frozen margarita. It was meant to have guava-infused vodka but I didn’t really taste it in the drink and I didn’t feel any hit at all. It was still quite refreshing and just told myself that finally, my craving for a green mango fruit shake has been satisfied.

We downed our drinks and it was time to go. I was buzzed, not from the booze, but with pure joy of being in a nice Filo bar/restaurant with a nice Filo friend in a Filo city. I really enjoyed my ‘Date with A’ in Manila and our visit at M Café/Kabila was such sweet icing on the cake. Next time, I think we should do a proper museum tour before heading off to the restaurants for some grub. 

Museum Café/Kabila
Ayala Museum Complex Makati Avenue, Makati, Philippines | +632 757 3000 / +632 757 6000
Ave spend: PHP600pp  (£9.63 at current exchange rate £1=PHP62)

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