Albay Foodserye | Next-level Pili at Cafe Molave and Souvenirs

Sunday, July 30, 2017

celineism

Aside from the beautiful Mayon, Albay is famous for birthing the sili ice cream. But there's more to this province's culinary landscape than just this delicacy. In this maiden post of the Albay Foodserye, we put a spotlight on one of Tabaco City's prides: Cafe Molave and Souvenirs


THE PLACE
Located along one of the city's main thoroughfares, Cafe Molave sports a simple facade of glass walls and doors. But just like how you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, you shouldn't let this cafe's unassuming front fool you. 
where to eat in albay

where to eat in albay

where to eat in tabaco city

Come inside and you'll be welcomed by a dim-lit but cozy space that smells like coffee and bread. To your left will be a bench table set along a white wall on which a wooden cutout of the restaurant name is hung. The bench is outfitted with a trio of throw pillows. Further, several wooden tables are scattered amidst a backdrop of handicrafts and pastries – from abaca bags to pili butter cookies – which are available for purchase.
where to buy souvenir in albay

pasalubong albay

where to buy souvenir tabaco city

where to buy albay products


THE FOOD
Staying true to its "cafe" branding, Cafe Molave serves a gamut of beverages including Honey Lemon Ginger Turmeric Tea and the chef-recommended Spiced Mayon Mocha. They also offer freshly-baked cakes and pastries. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to try the beverages save for the Pineapple-Lychee Lemonade (Php50), but I did get to try a pair of Cafe Molave's signature pastries. 
where to eat in tabaco city

Featuring Bicol's prized pili nut, the Pili Orange Chocolate Bars (Php110) is symphony of unique flavors. It combines the rustic tones of pili with the sensuality of chocolate; the zest of orange beautifully bringing them together. The flavors were unique and incredibly delightful. I could also say the same to the Pili Butternut Cookies (Php98). If I had to pick one between these two, I'd choose the cookies. It was so good, I even brought some home. Why, even my good friend Mai the Budget Biyahera loved it and asked me to get her more next time. 
pili dishes

dish made from pili

I also got to try the Fingerlicking Pork Ribs with Classic BBQ Sauce (Php180), and the Special Marinated Pork Tenderloin in Olive Butter Sauce (Php180). The latter lived up to its name; it was indeed fingerlicking – KFC better watch its back. They were tender and the sauce was tangy and tasted expensive. Surely more than the Php180 price. But hey, I could be biased since I believe you could never go wrong with pork ribs (and liempo). The former, meanwhile, tasted a bit like tapa. And they kinda looked that way, too. I liked that because I tapa's delicious but I avoid beef for green reasons. Cafe Molave's tenderloin would be a great alternative.
cafe molave menu

cafe molave menu

There's also the Pili-Almond Chicken Fillet with Honey Dip (Php180), but I never got to try it. I looks yummy though. Another reason to go back!
dishes made from pili

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THE SERVICE
Cafe Molave and Souvenirs, ambiance-wise, could easily give cafes in Manila a run for their money. It manages to exude classiness while remaining cozy and welcoming. It's not a snobby, pretentious, hipster cafe, and is, in fact, quite homey. 

The staff is accommodating and friendly. Ms. Ness, one of the owners (her husband's the chef, Jimmy), is very gracious. I would definitely hang out here if I live nearby. 


FINAL THOUGHTS
Cafe Molave has elevated Bicol's pili nut into dishes that are both modern and relatable. The pair of desserts I've tried could easily put this place on the map, and it's because of those two that I'm highly recommending it. You wouldn't find them anywhere, and that makes Cafe Molave essential in the city's, and ultimately the region's, identity. 

I could honestly see myself returning to here. Should I come home to my transitive hometown of Bacon, there's a big chance I'd drop by at Tobaco just to eat here This place is, hands down, a gem. Tabaco's lucky to have it in its gastronomic arsenal. 

OTHER DETAILS
Services: Dine-in, Take-out, Souvenir Shop
Parking: Street
Mode of Payment: Cash
Wi-fi: Yes

Cafe Molave and Souvenirs
Zone 2, Ziga Avenue, Tagas
Tabaco City, Albay
+63 920 955 8050
Monday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Want in on more must-visit restaurants? Check out these foodscapes.

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