Friday, July 26, 2013

Figaro Introduces Its Newest Dishes for July

When I was in college, Figaro used to be my go-to cafe when I wanted to an escape from the other busy coffee shops. Because I frequented it so often, Eduard, the manager at Figaro at Starmall in Las Piñas, knew me enough to always give me a triple shot of espresso in my cappuccino. Oh, and they could make a pretty mean chicken sandwich!

So when I got invited to check out their latest dishes for the month of July, I was curious to see what my old haunt had turned into. I met with some of the marketing people and chefs at the Figaro branch at the Shangri la Mall to sit down and try their latest concoctions for the rainy season.

A steaming hot bowl of pasta is a great pick-me-up when it's pouring out, the warm sauce with spiced ground meat warms both the heart and the tummy, and that is what I half-expected with the very appetizing looking Pasta Bolognese (P180). It wasn't quite what I expected. Most of what flavored the dish was the pasta, with very little bits of meat and button mushrooms in the mix. The actual Bolognese sauce didn't come through, which was disappointing.

The Sausage Alfredo Pasta (P180) fared better. The pasta was very creamy, a bit too creamy, with chunks of smoked sausages, button mushrooms, and julienned bell peppers to add flavor and color to the very white dish.

I paired the pasta dishes with their newest cold drink, the Irish Cream Latte - Figaro's espresso with Irish cream and steamed milk. This was a tad too sweet for me, with the Irish Cream as a nice aftertaste of the cold coffee drink. Also, the caramel on top was burnt, and that gave the whole drink a very bitter aftertaste. I couldn't finish the whole thing.

Jericho loved the new Monggo Ensaymada (P65) - it had just the right balance of light, chiffon-y bread, with layers of sweet monggo, cream and cheese. If a slutty hopia roll and a high rolling ensaymada bun got together and had a one night stand, this is what you get nine months later.

Jericho also totally decimated the Ube Ensaymada (P65)! I like how they use just enough ube to give the ensaymada flavor. This is best eaten when put under the grill for a few minutes - the cheese all melted and a bit burnt, with a dark golden outside and piping hot in the inside. Mmm... now that's a perfect rainy day snack, if you ask me.

What goes best with ensaymada? Why, coffee, naturally! Figaro has two new flavors: the Figaroccino Salted Caramel and a Salted Caramel Latte - blends of Figaro's classic espresso, with the mild sweetness of caramel and a salty touch to soothe your taste buds this rainy season.

I found both to be too watery and too sweet, so don't bother adding sugar to this when you order them, just drink as is. The taste of the salted caramel hardly comes through, which is disappointing, I thought the highlight of my trip there would be the coffee. And I do love me some salted caramel.

The actual highlight of the Figaro dishes were one of their recently launched cakes - the Blue Velvet. The cake slice was a bright, smurf blue, with a thin layer of cream cheese and blueberry compote in the middle and a slightly thicker layer on top. I initially thought you'd hardly taste the cream cheese and blueberries, but as it turns out, it was a perfect balance of both the rich cream cheese with blueberries and the moist cake. This is definitely a favorite I'd be more than happy to go back to.

It's always hit-and-miss at Figaro. What I don't understand is why they have to release new coffee flavors and dishes every month. If they gave their in-house chefs and baristas enough time to concentrate on releasing awesome new products every quarter instead of every month, each new release would have enough time for people to appreciate them, instead of them being forgotten about a few months later. From a marketing standpoint, it just doesn't make sense.

When mucking around Manila and looking for a place to hang your hat while waiting for the rain to stop, hang out at Figaro and enjoy their desserts. You can request to pop your ensaymada in the toaster or enjoy the moist Blue Velvet with your favorite Figaro go-to drink. Or be a bit more adventurous and try their new salted caramel flavored coffee. I think I've outgrown my old school haunt, but I will definitely be back for the smurf-colored cake!

Just mucking around Manila,
Follow @_muckingaround on Twitter and Instagram.
Like the Mucking Around Manila fan page.

Images taken by Jericho San Miguel of The Pixel Project Manila

Figaro Coffee Company
+63 2 635 6204
3rd Level, Shangri-la Plaza Mall
Shaw Blvd. cor. EDSA, Mandaluyong
Open Daily: 11am - 9pm