Last Sunday, my brother took my mother and me out to dinner at Mom & Tina's Bakery Café in Quezon City. I have to say that it was a learning experience.
I had originally suggested Melo's but they were fully booked that evening, so instead of white tablecloths and bow-tied waiters, we ended up at the homey country-style café next door. My brother was excited and feeing all knowledgeable, having been to their Libis branch before.
Per family procedures when eating out, my sister-in-law quickly perused the menu and ordered something for my nephew/godson. I noticed that she seemed to approve of most of the items and in fact, the little boy wiped out his Beef Stew in no time. I was amazed, as it usually takes him 58,326 years to finish one meal.
That's when it hit me. Mom & Tina's serves kid-friendly and mommy-approved food. Not having any children myself *shudder* I don't really know what they like to eat. But now at last, should a random parent ask me, there's a restaurant that I can recommend.
The rest of us big people kicked things off with the Queso de Bola Spread which tasted just like Cheez Whiz Pimiento to me. The cheese spreader was too cute for words and I appreciated that the spread came in a little jar which we could take home.
My mother and my brother, who are big kids themselves, ordered the steak-- a pretty good deal at less than 500 pesos. Thick cuts that covered more than half the plate, nicely seared, juicy, good flavor.
My SIL had the Chicken Spinach Lasagna which was served with Mom & Tina's wonderful garlic cheese rolls. The lasagna reminded me of the baked pasta casseroles that Pinoy families usually serve during parties at home-- very sweet and oozing with melted cheese. Like I said, kid-friendly.
I ordered the U.S. Beef Tapa which did not garner my brother's approval ("That's it?!") but I felt like having a hearty Filipino breakfast for dinner. Actually, the tapa was not the traditional sun-dried tapa that I was craving. It more like a crispy bacon made with streaky beef. Not bad, but not what I was looking for.
Afterwards, we all stood up to stretch our legs. We slowly waddled over to the pastry counter to check out the cupcakes and muffins.
The chillers near the door contain tortes, mousses and mini cakes, as well as whole cakes to go.
We shared a Banoffee Pie, a Baked Oreo Cheesecake and a Mango Cream Pie. The pie crusts were a little too thick and tough, but the fillings were very generous. Again, my nephew/godson practically devoured his portion.
Verdict: If you're from the Philippines, then I'm sure you'll agree that Mom & Tina's Bakery Café = comfort food for the whole family. The flavors and textures (somewhat sweet, somewhat soft) are very, very Pinoy e.g. "al dente" is not part of their vocabulary. The food is not sophisticated nor complicated, which is not a bad thing and in truth, is sometimes a necessity nowadays.
And even if you're not from around here, I suggest you try it to see and taste what we grew up eating. I dare you to not like anything on the extensive menu. All-day breakfast dishes, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, roasts, cookies and cakes-- they've got it all.
Comforting, homey, pleasant, charming... did I miss anything? Oh, and the service was quite efficient.
Mom & Tina's Bakery Café is located at 58 Sergeant Esguerra Avenue, Quezon City. Phone +63.2. 3323080 and 3323589. Budget 400 to 600 pesos per head. Their website.