By KC Santos
SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE- Nowhere else in Sagada will you taste perfectly roasted coffee and a hearty breakfast to warm you up on a cold, breezy morning.
Since it opened in 2008, Bana’s Café has been getting a steady following from both locals and tourists visiting Sagada.
Bana’s Café owner Melay Sibayen recalls the early days of the café when she only served roasted coffee.
“I didn’t intend to serve meals since I don’t have a background in cooking. Everything turned out to be a good surprise,” Melay says, who had to juggle nursing two babies while self-studying her way to cooking and roasting coffee.
Her husband, who is mostly away in the Cordillera Mountains, is in charge of searching for different varieties of coffee which he would take back to the restaurant for roasting.
Even from afar, you could already read the café’s signage that says “18 Days Coffee Roasters.”
I am a coffee person but I didn’t really understand what that meant. I later on found out that it was the brand of the electric roaster used and that its roasting can preserve the aroma and taste of the coffee for up to 18 days.
The sight of raw coffee beans lying around in shallow baskets outside the restaurant gives you a feeling of being in a coffee beanery.
Bana’s Café exemplifies simple yet good food served in a homey set-up. The wooden interiors give it the feel of a traditional Sagada home while the decorations added to the rustic look of the place. A veranda at the back facing the lush green forests of Sagada adds value to the dining experience in this restaurant.
I wasn’t feeling really cold that morning so I went for the calming Lime Juice instead of the Kape Alamid. Tet Grajo of Visit Sagada describes it as mild and having a slight hint of chocolate and caramel sweetness. No wonder why it’s the product restaurateurs in Sagada are collectively promoting.
I have to say the best part of the whole Bana’s Café experience was the food. Melay ensures everything is cooked as it should be so that it would be worth the long wait. The aroma coming out from the kitchen makes the waiting all the more exciting. After 20 minutes, we all dug in to the nice spread of food.
For starters, we had the Bana’s Vegetable Mushroom Soup (P50) and the Asparagus Soup (50). The Asparagus Soup tasted very regular, but the Bana’s Vegetable Mushroom Soup was a revelation.
Melay says the soup, is just as important as the main course so she really experimented with a lot of flavors before finally choosing the one that would carry their restaurants’ name.
What got me very impatient with waiting was their Pork Curry (P70). The curry powder used was not overpowering and gave just the right kick. The huge and tender pork cuts completed the package.
The Buttered Chicken (P70) looked and tasted like no other. Instead of the usual crisp batter coated outsides, their version uses the sweetness of butter and catsup to the chicken giving it that rosy pink look from the outside while the inside was soft and sweet. It’s so sweet it almost tasted like cake.
The Creamed Chicken (P70) was my favorite. It didn’t have that taste that would tire your appetite instead the white cream entices you even more. It’s also very tender and complements the other dishes well with its light taste
The next time you feel like having a heavy but affordable meal before starting your adventures in Sagada, start your day right and spot a seat at this humble restaurant.
Get more information about Bana’s Café
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