QC eats: Find peace and coffee in this cafe at Santo Domingo Church

Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at Mar 27 2018 05:39 AM

 

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MANILA -- Nestled in a corner of the Santo Domingo Church compound in is Café Inggo 1587, a nice homey restaurant where the food is hearty, the coffee is strong, and the blessings are for free.

Ther cafe is a serene place to get some peace and quiet in the middle of the chaos that is Quezon City. It’s uncommon to find a coffee shop where one’s usual seatmates are men of God.

“Inggo” was derived from the Filipinized nickname of the church’s patron saint, Santo Domingo, while 1587 is the year the first Dominicans landed in the Philippines.

Coffee is brewed with the Dominicans’ special blend of beans. Photo by author

The Dominican friars first asked F&B veteran Vic Alcuaz to find partners to make use of the space. Eventually, the friars insisted that Alcuaz personally take the reins of this project due to his experience in the industry.

The space is bright, airy, and unpretentious. Alcuaz and the Dominicans brought several items from his collection to adorn the space. The center portion proudly displays a portrait and a bust of Santo Domingo, and a book shelf containing 50 old books from Alcuaz’s collection. These bric-a-brac together with the sketches of churches by artist Alex Uy contribute to this café’s erudite aura.

Vic Alcuaz and Willy Domingo. Photo by author

Alcuaz brought in as Café Inggo 1587’s culinary consultant his collaborator of more than 40 years, Willy Domingo, who opened the Filipino restaurant Harana at Edsa Shangri-La, Manila back in the '90s. Domingo reengineered the kitchen that was in shambles before they came in. He added a good baking oven to let the smell of freshly baked bread waft around the space adding to its homey appeal.

The priests did contribute some items, including, most surprisingly, a recipe for beer. 

Here is a taste of the café’s food.

Photo by author

Domingo patterned this sampler of garlic crostini, tapa from Sta. Maria in Bulacan, organic tocino, and fabada (a stew made of beef, sausage and Beans) after the small servings in tapas bars.

Photo by author

A sharing portion of the fabada is also available. This salty, meaty stew is a must-try.

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The Pinaasiman na Lechon Kawali is an upscale version of sinigang na baboy. How the skin remains crispy after a long time soaking in the smoky sour broth is a pleasant mystery.

Photo by author

Bacalao a la Vizcaira is cooked in a sauce similar to that used in afritada and which didn’t overpower the fish’s flavor. 

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You can’t go wrong with Chicken Pork Adobo.

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Add a bit of the fruits with the Chicken Galantina a la Inggo for a more flavorful bite.

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Café Inggo’s desserts and coffee are a match made in heaven. This apple strudel has loads of whipped cream, making this an indulgent sweet ending.

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Not your usual halo-halo, Café Inggo 1587’s version is topped with cream and caramel.

Photo by author

Coffee is brewed with the Dominicans’ special blend of beans that is also sold in the café. Pictured here is an iced Madagascar Vanilla Latte.

Café Inggo is located inside the Santo Domingo Church compound and is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.