When inspiration strikes, best take hold of it immediately before it’s gone.
Such was the lesson I learned when I took a spontaneous trip to Tomas Morato Avenue, which I wrote about in late October. I had a free Sunday, so I left the house instead of staying up at home and letting the day pass. Sourdough Café + Deli had already been on my list that time, given that I follow it on Instagram.
The joint gained popularity as a purveyor of sourdough breads and other more upscale food items. It had two branches in the north and south of Manila – and the former was nearer to me. Sourdough Café + Deli is located at the ground floor of JSB Building at the corner of Scout Delgado Street and Tomas Morato Avenue, the same building as The Red Crab seafood restaurant.
Sourdough Café + Deli‘s previous spot used to be occupied by Taste of Capitol, which offered steaks, wings, burgers, and other American staples. But even before that, the space served as the former home of Dayrit’s Burger & Roast Beef House – which many older Filipinos are familiar with. Dayrit’s eventually transferred to the Magallanes area in the central business district of Makati City.
Now that I am here, let me give credit where it’s due and cite the clear inspirations that served to fuel this post.
First, I discovered the place thanks to renowned vinyl collector and disc jockey DJ Honey – who previously played her choice mixes at the establishment. She’s been in Manila for some time now after a stint in Singapore, sharing the classics on 45 rpm vinyl. Here’s a 2020 interview of DJ Honey.
Second, I managed to catch this episode of Everyday Gourmet by Australian chef and TV presenter Justine Schofield. The episode saw her fly to the Macau Special Administrative Region and whip up a Chicken and Asian Mushroom Fricassee Stew. Here’s the clip from that episode, in which she cooks in front of The Parisian Macao.
If not for them, I wouldn’t have been pushed to pay Sourdough Café + Deli a visit – and you wouldn’t have this entry.
Let’s proceed with the food I tried out from Sourdough Café + Deli. All the items I ordered were surely noteworthy, and for a good reason.
One does not visit Sourdough without having a taste of its signature sourdough bread, which was first served to me to whet my appetite. This starter came with the mandatory combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which I indulged in. I did not ask for seconds as one round of the sourdough bread is enough, and I would not want to end up prematurely satiated.
A cup of the joint’s Spanish Latte (P180) soon followed. This version of coffee sweetened with condensed milk hit the right spots, with the milk neutralizing the coffee’s potency while providing sweetness. The sweetness also came in handy when the savory dishes arrived. A cold version was also available, but I opted for the hot version as I often drink coffee to aid in digestion.
Sunday lunches in the Filipino tradition require rice, and Sourdough‘s Wild Mushroom Risotto (P425) made this trip memorable. The risotto tasted earthy from the first bite, thanks to the truffle oil and shiitake mushrooms it contained. There was also a contrast of textures from the dehydrated mushrooms on top and the fully cooked versions in the dish. Moreover, the cream base and cheese shavings melded everything together.
The star of the show, the Chicken Fricassee (P595), then followed. This was the exact dish I saw on the restaurant’s Instagram post that inspired this visit. Schofield’s recipe served as the go signal for me to head over to Sourdough and try it. This cut of fried chicken in cream sauce with celery and carrots used thigh fillet, which is juicier than the breast part. However, the cream sauce tasted a tad bit too salty; maybe just a slight amount of sugar could neutralize it.
The fricassee came with vegetable accompaniments – namely mashed potatoes, green beans and shiitake mushrooms. The sides were timely because I no longer needed to order an extra cup of rice; the risotto was enough. This was where the sauce from the fricassee found good use. I mixed it with the mashed potatoes and drizzled it on the mushrooms and beans, ending up with clean plates.
My visit to Sourdough concluded with a slice of the Basque Burnt Cheesecake (P210). I originally wanted to have this cancelled but decided to push through as other Instagram users were lauding it. The slightly caramelized cake slice (not burnt, mind you) was rather substantial for its price, and I liked how its cheese center was still soft. If this was a steak, it would be akin to Sourdough serving it medium-rare. This is now my No. 1 cheesecake, putting the one from Habitual Coffee I previously wrote about on the No. 2 spot.
All in all, my visit to Sourdough – mainly inspired by Instagram posts and influencers – turned out right. Most of the other diners I encountered were from the upper middle class, who often make reservations before heading there. Older Filipinas from Generation X, colloquially called “titas” (aunties), were also present. I arrived at around 1:00 in the afternoon when the peak lunch hour is finished, which enabled me to enjoy my meal.
While I will surely return there, I would most likely do so for an early morning breakfast or a late lunch. The building where Sourdough is located does not have parking in it, so patrons ought to expect street parking – though a security officer is present to help out. Sourdough is definitely accessible via public transportation, as the building where it’s located is at a main thoroughfare.
Until the next review, bon appetit and here’s to inspiration!
Sourdough Café + Deli
G/F JSB Building
Tomas Morato Avenue cor. Scout Delgado Street
Brgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City 1103