A restaurateur once told me that among business avenues, the food industry is notorious for having the most depressing failure rates. According to him, only three out of five newly-opened restaurants will survive the first year. Four years later and only one of those three will stay.
Well, tell that to Alba.
Alba: Proving the Restaurant-Failure Myth Wrong since 1952
Whether or not the statistics are accurate, wanna-be entrepreneurs better take heed and learn from Alba Restaurante Español. This home to traditional Spanish cuisine (and the most consistent paellas in the city, in my opinion) recently turned sixty years old.
When asked what's Alba's secret for longevity, Cachelle De Alba, Marketing Manager and daughter-in-law to founder Señor Anastacio de Alba, is quick to answer “if it's working; why change anything? Alba's formula has been working for over six decades now. We plan to keep it that way.” Aside from little techie upgrades here and there, Alba will retain much of what we know about it. In the next sixty years, expect to be welcomed by the same sleek mahogany furniture and panels, dim lighting, and quality Spanish food.
Traditional Spanish Cuisine
Like the dim, tavern-like dining areas, the food at Alba doesn't seem to have evolved much in the past six decades. Alba's bestsellers throughout the years are consolidated in a comprehensive Spanish lunch buffet (P650++) that's available daily in all their branches.
Included in the spread are hot (excellent Gambas Al Ajillo!) and cold appetizers (chorizo de bilbao and company), soup, salad, vegetable, pasta, seafood, and desserts.
Among the mains, the Cochinillo's tray is still the quickest to be emptied. People just love to make a beeline for the crispy glossy skin and tender flesh of the golden suckling pig.
Almost always beside the helpless Cochinillo is its sidekick: the blushing Steak ala Pobre— another bestseller during lunch buffets.
The sumptuous Spanish lunch buffet also stars Alba's properly moist and bountiful Paella Valenciana. Like I said earlier, Alba's Paella Valenciana never missed a marked in the many times that I've dined here. It's either I'm a lucky diner or the kitchens have perfected the art of making this rice dish.
The kitchen handles sweetness as adept as it handles fat. Canonigo— edible dessert clouds, I like to call it, is a staple in the sugary side of the buffet. But from time to time they like to borrow desserts from Spain's neighboring cuisines.
A reasonably priced buffet, there's no wonder patrons pick Alba for lunch meetings, first dates, and birthday celebrations (I blew my most recent birthday candle here).
So, what's the takeaway for budding restaurateurs? If it ain't broke; don't fix it. And it helps to serve unlimited quantities of quality food. Especially if it includes beautiful and crispy Cochinillo.