From a honeymoon in Buenos Aires, ‘La Cabrera’ was born
MANILA, Philippines – When newlyweds go on a honeymoon, they usually bring home a piece of good news, a new family member, or a ref magnet. But when Carlo Calma Lorenzana and his wife, Julia Quisumbing, were honeymooning in Buenos Aires, they wanted a souvenir that will always take them back to Argentina. So, they brought home the famous Argentine steakhouse and parrilla (Spanish term for grill restaurant), La Cabrera.
“My wife and I fell in love with La Cabrera when we discovered it in 2013,” shared Lorenzana.
One year after, this love bore its fruit – Manila’s very own La Cabrera opened along Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
“Our beginnings exceeded our expectations. We opened not even thinking of monetary success. We just wanted to share with our customers the same food and experience we had in La Cabrera, Buenos Aires and fortunately, good business followed,” said Lorenzana.
The promise of authentic Argentine experience
La Cabrera is famous for its massive and flavorful grilled steaks that go with what they call a smorgasbord of side dishes. The parrilla’s menu is influenced by the Spanish cuisine, with items like Asado del Centro (beef short ribs), Empanada de Carne (minced beef pastry), and Chicharrones (beef chicharon) that will make Filipinos feel right at home.
“We, Filipinos, share a common history and culture with Argentinos because both our countries were once under Spanish rule. So, eating habits in terms of closeness of family and friends’ intertwining at the dining table is fundamental,” said Lorenzana. “That’s why food in La Cabrera is always good for sharing among family and friends.”
In La Cabrera, they not only promise to take you to Buenos Aires through authentic Argentine food, but also by building a place that is reminiscent of a parilla – cozy, homey, and rustic.
“It’s something that takes my wife and me back to the original La Cabrera in Buenos Aires which has more antiques on display,” shared Lorenzana. “Manila diners will get a glimpse and feel the vibe of how it is to be in one of the best parrillas in Argentina.”
Good food and impeccable customer service
With the growing number of diners, young and old, they had to make improvements and changes to make the experience more convenient to its customers like signing up for an online reservation platform and offering cashless ways to pay.
“Going cashless is the best and most convenient way to accept payments, especially for high-end restaurants like La Cabrera,” said Lorenzana. “Cashless payments are also the most convenient method for our customers.” The restaurant also aims to give its customers more by providing exclusive discounts to cardholders like Visa.
For Lorenzana, keeping up with technology is not something that they would consider a challenge for La Cabrera. It’s actually keeping the quality of the food and service consistent.
La Cabrera began with a 4-man Argentine team who helped set up and open the restaurant. They lived in Manila for a few months, one of them staying on to become the parrilla’s executive chef for over a year. But even after they were ready to let go of the training wheels, La Cabrera’s principal, Chef Gaston Riveira and another Argentine chef regularly fly to Manila to train the local chefs and make sure that the standards of La Cabrera Buenos Aires’ are being upheld.
Lorenzana believes that bringing home a unique cuisine like La Cabrera further elevates the already booming Philippine food scene.
“Not only do we offer Argentine cuisine but we also share its culture, wine and unique cuts of steak prepared in an Argentine way, which is only offered in La Cabrera Manila,” said Lorenzana.
By having clear goals, partnering with the right people, and keeping the customers at the heart of the business, La Cabrera has cooked up the recipe for success and will continue to do so.
“Success is always a team effort, and a series of right and good things happening in unison,” shared Lorenzana. “Success can only be considered part of a typical day if the co-owners or partners, dining and kitchen team operate together like a well-oiled machine.” - Rappler.com