Let’s get the obvious out of the way: it’s pronounced SHPAYT-zlee and it refers to the tiny flour dumplings common to Central European cuisines. Similar to the Italian gnocchi, spätzle can be enjoyed sweet and savory, but in Spätzle Euro Market Café, they are usually served with cream (lots of it), eggs, cheese, spice, and everything nice-- including bacon.
To be clear, Spätzle is not just about the dumplings. As an all-day café, one may choose from a wide selection of popular European dishes with a modern twist! On the rather extensive menu, one can order grilled sausages, flatbread pizzas, hearty stews, and roestis or potato pancakes.
Spätzle is located in the newly opened East Wing of the Shangri-La mall. Its brightly lit interiors and open layout make it a popular food-stop for many harried mall-goers. Too help keep cool when burning a hole in one’s pocket, there is the All-Natural Citrus Cooler Soda (P145), which, as the name implies, is a mix of completely natural fresh fruit juices, mint leaves and sparkling water. Another sweet-but-healthy option is the Mint Lemonade Soda (P125). On weekends, the classic peach juice and champagne cocktail Bellini (P210) can be enjoyed along with brunch. Even the little ones can enjoy some bubbly sans the alcohol with the Baby Bellini (P85); a delightful crispy chocolate-cheese biscuit accompanies every order of the drink.
All-Natural Citrus Cooler Soda
Mint Lemonade Soda
Many people mistake Spätzle for a German restaurant due to its name, but it’s actually Swiss. The country known for its banks, chocolate, and neutrality when it comes to world wars has a cuisine strongly influenced by neighboring countries Germany, France, and Italy. At its core, the Swiss are known for simple dishes usually composed of good quality meat, potatoes, and cheese. Their unofficial national dish, the roesti, is a good example this. Made up of grated potatoes shaped into a patty and then fried, it is usually paired with sausages, eggs, cheese or butter, and can be eaten any time of the day.
Grilled Sausage Roesti
The good people behind Spätzle went as far as to get a proper roesti-maker to recreate the popular dish. This way, they were able to create the popular Grilled Sausage Roesti (P320), a fried potato pancake with a crispy, crunchy crust and creamy middle, topped with a sunny side-up egg and served with a grilled sausage, sour cream, and lemon wedge. Purists may order the Roesti Classic with Sour Cream & Lemon Wedge (P160) or choose from a bevy of combinations that include salmon, meatballs, and even spam!
Spätzle prides itself in serving nitrate-free, all-natural sausages that they source locally. Meat-lovers will enjoy the Artisan Sausage Platter (P670), which features three flavors: the Thuringer is a German specialty that includes marjoram, caraway seeds, and garlic in the spice blend, the curry sausage, and the Italian sausage. The dish includes a generous portion of thick-cut fries, mustard, and horseradish.
Artisan Sausage Platter
The two most popular dishes on the menu are the Roast Chicken Sausage on Mushroom Spätzle (P295) and the Spatz Carbonara (P275 – solo; P495 – for sharing). The previous dish is exactly its name-- a large serving of savory roast chicken in sausage form, served over a plate of mildly flavored, earthy mushroom dumplings. The Spatz Carbonara meanwhile, takes the popular cream pasta, adds a coddled egg on top of the rich sauce, and tosses in plenty of pancetta. It is served with a pair of soy-based bread sticks, which may make one feel slightly less guilty for indulging in such a rich dish. But hey, share it with a friend or two and there might still be room for dessert right after!
Roast Chicken Sausage on Mushroom Spätzle
While Spätzle has mostly remained true to the traditional flavors of its dishes, they also made some interesting new recipes. Take for example the Monte Blanc Tarte Flambe (P325). This French specialty, which resembles a flat bread pizza, is given a twist through the addition of non-traditional ingredients such as pancetta, sausage, spinach, and crispy potato chips. Another fusion dish is the Spatz Burger (P350). How does one turn the very American burger French? Well, by swapping the bun for a brioche and tossing the top slice aside so that it can be eaten with a fork and knife—the way a proper Parisian would eat a hamburger! Topped with whipped cream cheese, roasted mushrooms, and caramelized onions, this sandwich is trés delicieux! Lastly, they also came up with the Spatz Beef Stew (P480), which traces its origin from France’s popular beef bourguignon. Spätzle’s team lightened the sauce, added chunks of smoky bacon, and finally, served it with garlic rice (!).
Monte Blanc Tarte Flambe
Spatz Beef Stew
The key to successfully opening a restaurant with foreign cuisine is to strike a balance between playing up to the local taste while at the same time staying true to the original flavors. Spätzle treads this daily each time they serve out their Swiss-themed dishes, which may seem bland in comparison to the more robust Filipino palate. Thankfully, the team seems to have hit its target among local diners, as evidenced by the long queues during weekends and the regular diners the rest of the week.
There is a lot of eye candy in the restaurant from the spiffily dressed wait-staff to gold-patterned ceilings and the wave-like walls. Little surprises come in the form of Spätzle’s own olive-scented hand sanitizers and the chirpy little messages clipped on the dishes and utensil holders. The biggest spectacle undoubtedly has to be the open kitchen. It’s really open, as there is no glass separating the cooks from the diners. Diners can hear the German-trained chef directing his staff and every sizzle, snap, and pop of their dishes being prepared. To keep the smoke and smell from seeping into the dining area, a large industrial ventilator keeps things in check. If you want to talk to the chef, as many of the regular patrons are wont to do, you’ll have to be comfortable letting the entire place hear your conversation!
The relaxed and sometimes-riotous dining style is a scene played over and over again in Europe’s biggest city markets such as the Boqueria in Barcelona or Camden Market in London. For a few hundred Euros less, one will be able to get a taste of Europe in Shangri-La.