A kiss is a kiss, but a chocolate kiss is, well, you fill in the blank. (Naughty grin)
I got to revisit the Chocolate Kiss Cafe earlier this week, at their third and newest branch along A. Roces Ave. in Quezon City (QC). Of course with a name like that, it was but natural that the crowds would come. I ate with Eric, a good friend of mine from way back. We don’t see each other often, but when we do, it’s almost always to explore the new things QC has to offer.
What started as a home-based baking business for two sisters blossomed into the realization of a cafe. Taking root at the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1997, it certainly changed the dining landscape of the school as well as the nearby environs.
The newest Chocolate Kiss Cafe now occupies the space of what used to be the Papemelroti cafe, a place with such tasteless food that I’m glad somebody finally put it out of its misery.
Green is the dominant color of the cafe – avocado and pistachio come to mind. I happened to be wearing a shirt of the exact same hue so I kind of blended in well with the walls, especially since I was seated beside a wall. Speaking of shirts, the servers wear a black top with a cool black and white design on the back. Check out the photo. I’m tempted to nab one for myself. (!)
Eric started out with the fresh tomato soup (P52). After one taste of it, I couldn’t help but order one for myself too. It had that characteristic tang that comes from only fresh tomatoes, further livened up with a spritz of calamansi (Philippine lemon). A recommended starter.
The menu of Chocolate Kiss cafe is quite wide and varied. I’d describe the food as homey Filipino with lashes of Continental cuisine. As expected, the pasta dishes are popular (we Pinoys love our carbs!); so are the hickory smoked spare ribs, the chicken in a basket, Salisbury steak,and the Hainanese Chicken Rice (P170), which I ordered. Eric had the Hungarian Sausage and Penne (P165), which he chased down with the Basilico (P65), a variation on the pesto-cheese bruschetta.
Hainanese chicken rice, in order to be called such, has four vital components that make it what it is: the chicken itself, the broth and rice cooked from the drippings of the steamed chicken, and the trio of sauces. At the Chocolate Kiss, all the components are present. The soup is particularly good – steaming hot with enough ginger flavor to make the back of your throat tingle. I wasn’t happy, however, with the chicken pieces they gave me. Some cooks have this talent of cutting up a chicken into tiny pieces so that it can feed more people. This results in bony pieces without much meat. It’s annoying, not to mention painful to be crunching into a chicken bone in mid-chew. I also have to say, and Eric agrees with me on this, that the rice that is served with the chicken is not enough. (What is this, portion control??)
Eric was happy with his pasta, a combination of Hungarian sausage slices, sauteed with fresh tomatoes and olive oil. He happily munched away at the penne and said, “You see these grooves on the penne? They’re great for trapping in the pasta sauce. The boy knows his pasta.
Ever since they opened shop, Chocolate Kiss cafe has been known for their desserts. After my disappointment with the Hainanese chicken rice, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into some cake. I ordered my old favorite, the devil’s food cake (P52), and am glad to say that it didn’t dissatisfy. A moist chocolate cake, deeply reddish-brown, it had a thin, thin layer of caramel and fascinatingly thick, thick swirls of marshmallow icing. A real winner, this one. I hear the cafe’s prune cake and date walnut cake are also good. Eric settled for spritsar (P23/5 pieces), piped almond-flavored cookies of Swedish origin.
Chocolate Kiss Cafe
Roces Avenue corner Scout Tobias Street, Q.C.
Monday to Saturday
11am to 10pm
Check out the cafe’s website for their other locations.