Café Enye: Not Your Abuela’s Spanish Cuisine
MANILA, Philippines – At first glance, most of the food on Café Enye’s menu looks like your traditional Spanish fare. You have your callos, gambas, paella, of course. But take a closer look — or in this case, taste — and all sorts unexpected ingredients and flavors come up. Even their best-selling carbonara, while not a Spanish dish, takes a turn for the unexpected with its generous topping of homemade mojo chicharrones. It’s heavenly, and because of all that pork belly, also sinful.
All of this is par for the course, according to Café Enye’s managing director Cyrus Cruz. “We highlighted in our menu that this (food) looks familiar,” he says “But when you taste it, it’s different from what you were expecting. We played around with the most exciting flavors.”
Exciting is a good way to put it. If Spanish food reminds you of sedate family gatherings or uptight establishments, you’ll be pleased to know that Café Enye’s food isn’t just delicious, it’s exciting. Take, for example, their Scotch eggs, which comes with a Spanish twist. The eggs are coated in a golden-brown crust of chorizo and breadcrumbs, and are served on a bed of shoestring potatoes. It was a sumptuous medley of flavors and textures. We mowed down more generous servings of our multi-course meal, eager to discover what the next dish had to offer.
The great thing about Café Enye is that it gives a new spin on classic dishes without losing track of what made these dishes revered in the first place. It’s a fresh take, but it isn’t exactly fusion.
They create a cohesive menu by taking inspiration from the different stops along the Spanish trade route. “We call our food Colonial Spanish Cuisine,” Cyrus says. “The discipline of our cuisine is Spanish, but we use the places they colonized as inspiration. We started with Morocco, then on to Central America, Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, and finally, the Philippines.”
Your new happy place
Café Enye recently opened a second branch located at Citi Plaza in Bonifacio Global City. Its location and business hours are perfectly suited for the both regular office goers and graveyard shifters. “It’s a 24-hour building,” Cyrus says. “We’re open from 7 am to midnight and we have two happy hours, one from 3 to 7pm, and another from 9pm to midnight, because that’s the cycle of the people who work here.”
Few things lift the spirits of tired office workers like a good all-day breakfast menu. With this in mind, Café Enye created an enticing (and uplifting) array of breakfast food. The meals in this section of the menu were based on what Cyrus refers to as “the silog science.” House-cured beef tapa, handcrafted longganisa, Torta Española and Spanish brunch plates are perfect ways to start (or end) the day with.
“Our breakfast items are inspired by tapsilog,” he says. “But with the paella, we wanted to have egg incorporated, tapa incorporated, but the essence of a paella also.”
Everything the restaurant does, from menu creation to the way the food is prepared, makes Spanish both new and relatable. “Our menu is quite broad,” Cyrus says. “It’s still accommodating and accessible to most people.” – Rappler.com