As repeat visitors to Sagada, we at Happyfoodies were both overjoyed and saddened during our recent visit. Saddened because a) Misty Lodge’s restaurant is closed as Chef Bogan is attending to her mommy duties in Manila, b) Masferre Restaurant has taken off our favorite Kamatis Bagoong at Lechon Kawali in favor of a menu more oriented towards foreign guests. But on a bright note, we chanced upon a new, welcome addition to the eateries lining the town’s main street: Sagada Brew. It was actually the recommendation of Wanda, our kind hostess at Rock Inn Farm, to try out the new place (talk about very friendly competition). It was also a blessing to come on an off-peak season where a lot of eating places are closed for repairs, which helped directed our feet to this shop.
Located near the end of the strip on the road leading to Ambassing, the shop, with its cool logo, warm lighting, and rather cozy interiors, was easy to spot. Owner, Nita Claravall, a transplant from Manila, was around when we walked in for an early dinner on our last night in Sagada. Turns out we have common acquaintances though we digress.
Lagal[og] says: Of course we have to sample the coffee. And the house blend is really very, very good, with a nutty taste. There were nicely packaged coffee blends for taking home but regrettably, I didn’t bring home some.
As it was already close to dinner time, we took a look at the menu and perfunctorily chose one each from the chicken, pork, and veggies selections. Either we were first-time lucky or the foods here are all very good as we had a wonderful time eating. My favorite? The Sagada Orange Chicken. The taste of the local orange really made the chicken taste flavorful and I think it was a nice, inventive way to use a locally-sourced ingredient.
Ironwulf says: There were many options from the list — frappes, teas, pasta, sandwiches and desserts. We chose to try the set meals since it was dinner time already. The Php200 set meal comes with the local red rice, salad and fudge dessert in generous servings. Owner Mrs Claravall told us with pride that most of the ingredients used in their dishes are sourced locally.
We had a Bulalo as we were yearning for some warm soup in Sagada’s cool weather. The soup wasn’t that thick but it was really tasty. Maybe because the beef here is leaner so there’s less fat in the broth but the meat was really tender.
Then there’s the Oriental Pork Barbecue, a Chinese-style marinated pork grilled to a delightful crisp. The sauce is slightly sweet and savory, the meat flavorful with hints of smokiness with nuttiness from the sesame seeds.
I think we were all in agreement that the common element on these dishes were our favorite –the Salad. It was not something we expected but the light vinaigrette dressing used was simply good.
We had the tasty fudge dessert that comes with the meal but we had to try their signature dessert, the Choco Lava Cake. Served warm with dripping chocolate syrup, we weren’t prepared to savor how yummy it was. The top was like a soft cookie layer. The cake was rich with chocolate goodness and had the right sweetness for me. Personally this dessert could put Sagada Brew in the radar just like how the Yogurt House’s yogurt made it an institution. This, paired with their brewed coffee, is a winning combination. Don’t forget to share with your friends.
Only nine months old (as of this writing), Sagada Brew is quickly becoming a favorite in this highland shangri-la. The warm, inviting ambiance, the tasteful branding and good food are perfect for the laid-back and bohemian lifestyle in Sagada.
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