I must admit that I first ate at Café Lidia years ago because of these rumors. At the time, coffee-chain-that-shall-not-be-named had not reached the boondocks of Marikina yet. And sometimes, a girl just needs a quick cake fix.
Whether there is some truth to them or not, the rumors do Café Lidia a disservice. While cakes form a big part of the menu, they serve more than just cakes and their menu gives an extensive offering of salads, pizzas, pastas and entrees.
Located in a nondescript street in an area of Marikina formerly known for its shoe factories and warehouses, Café Lidia is a welcoming oasis amidst the narrow one-way streets of Calumpang, Marikina. With its warm brick walls, it is spacious enough to accommodate hordes of lunch patrons from government offices near the area. I noticed that most of them had the heavier meat entrees like the grilled pork belly, porterhouse, and rib eye steak. The prices are very reasonable, too.
My friend and I decided to have a light meal because we wanted to gorge on desserts after. We ordered the buffalo wings (P190.00) which was a perfect combination of sweet and spicy. While I missed the tangy flavor of blue cheese, the sour cream went well with the wings.
My friend and I had a lot of catching up to do but we were distracted by the selections on the menu, there were just too many to choose from. And by sheer coincidence, my friend and I both decided on the salpicao – beef (P230.00) for me, and tuna (P195.00) for her. Both entrees were served with garlic rice and mesclun salad. The romaine lettuce leaves were lightly drizzled with a very refreshing dressing made of lemon juice and sugar.
My fork kept straying to my friend’s plate. Her tuna salpicao was tasty and tender and I thought she had the better meal. My beef salpicao was tender but I am not a big fan of the sweet chunky sauce. I like my salpicao garlicky and with more olive oil that I can mix into my garlic rice, but that’s just me. To be fair, I let my friend’s fork stray onto my plate and she liked the beef just fine.
For dessert, my friend and I eschewed the menu and we walked to the display counter to see the much-rumored cakes in all their glory, all the better to make the best choice. The mouthwatering selection included red velvet, chocolate, ube and sans rival, to name a few. My friend ordered the Swiss Choco Cappucino (P90.00) and the Caramel Cotton Cheesecake (P110.00). I love cheesecake but I was mostly intrigued by the name. Cotton – what did it mean? That the cheesecake will be light and fluffy like cotton balls?
I wasn’t too far off. The cheesecake did not have the density I’m used to in cheesecakes. It felt more like a denser sponge cake in my mouth, not siksik. I loved how there was texture in every bite. The cheesecake itself was not overly sweet but the rich caramel topping more than made up for that. Of course, I also had a taste of my friend’s cake. The cake’s buttercream was smooth and silky but the butter cake itself was a bit dry. Good thing there was enough frosting to cover it.
I wasn’t able to determine the truth about the rumors, but true or not, Café Lidia’s cakes can stand on their own against those of more popular cafes.
64 Calderon Street
Kalumpang, Marikina City
02 647 7606; 646 0401
Open daily, 10 AM – 11 PM