As what I've written before, I am always excited to visit Boracay Island for the smorgasbord of cuisines it has to offer. And as with any Day One of my travels, the first meal of the trip usually sets the tone for how my vacation will be. My latest trip to the beach had me rediscover my love for truffle pasta and all the other flavors of Italy -- it was so much of a feast that I wanted to make the following day light and easy, but still in the company of delicious food and good conversations.
Just right beside Aria is its sister coffee shop called Cafe Del Sol. The cafe is cross promoted in the Italian restaurant's menu as a suggested hangout after your heavy meal. It did not sound inviting at all that afternoon, as everyone I was with was filled to the brim with pizza, pasta, and gelato. We decided it would be fair for our tastebuds and calorie count to try out Cafe Del Sol the following day.
I was very eager to try out their breakfast food as a couple of friends recommended their fare, but that meant waking up earlier to head to Station Two from our Station One resort. Their breakfast offerings are available from 7am to 2pm daily, and on top of my list was their Filipino Breakfast (P290), a plate full of sunshine with your choice of tapa, longganisa, bangus, and tocino servied with eggs and rice. Their Cheese Omelette (P250) sounded so delicious too! Breakfast food didn't happen for us, of course -- blame it on the previous day's extended happy hours and long winding conversations by our beachfront cabana. So instead, we treated our tummies to some beverages, sandwiches, and dessert during the afternoon at Cafe Del Sol.
Left to right: Cookies & Cream Frappe, Caramel Macchiato, and Strawberry Smoothie
For a table of four, we had three drinks to start off our merienda: Triple Espresso Chocolate Mocha Frappe (Small - P155, Medium - P175, Large - P190), Caramel Macchiato (Small - P110, Medium - P120, Large - P140), and Strawberry Banana Smoothie (Small - P155, Medium - P155, Large - P195). I sipped on the cream frappe first, and first labeled it as a kid's drink with its chocolatey sweetness. It's a traitor of a drink, with a veneer of syrupy chocolate and a harmless, whipped cream laden presentation. It will suddenly kick you with its caffeine, reminding you of the 'triple espresso' in its name.
I ask permission from my cousins if I can get dibs on the hot coffee, since I've been craving for a cup of joe. The Caramel Macchiato ended up as being my favorite of the trio -- it tastes like the kind I order in Manila, only better. No need to add sugar, as the caramel sweetens the coffee perfectly. The smoothie did not hide any surprises, it was a straight-up blended drink that's equal parts tart and refreshing. You can choose to add wheatgrass (P60) to your fruit drinks if you need some re-energizing for the day (a.k.a. curbing hangover).
We split two kinds of paninis into four slices -- the Milanese (P160) and the Flying Turkey (P180). Taking some notes from it's sister resto, Aria, the Milanese combines flavors of Italy with Salami Milano (Italian salami), cheddar cheese, and roasted eggplant. It's a very crisp and savory panini that I enjoyed eating with just a dash of chili oil.
The Flying Turkey was my favorite, a hefty serving of panini, toasted to become golden and crisp on the outside. It had similar ingredients stuffed in the middle as the previous sandwich (cheese and vegetables), but the soft layers of turkey meat sealed the deal. Crunchy bread on the outside, smooth and soft on the inside. It went perfect with my Caramel Macchiato.
Aria's menu encouraged us to feel free to try Cafe Del Sol's desserts, so we did just that. We had two cleanly plated, perfectly sliced cakes served on our table.
The Mango Cheesecake (P150) was so refreshing on the palate after tasting the tart and saltiness of the paninis. Chilled just right, it was dotted with bits of real mangoes inside the cake. The sweetness wasn't cloying at all, preferring to be light and easy rather than a sucker punch of saccharine.
The Strawberry Cheesecake (P175) is pretty much the berry counterpart of the earlier cake, still with that thick and creamy consistency of the body, with bits of fruit inside. The fact that the entire top portion of the cake was topped with fat and juicy strawberries overlapping each other, it became a notch higher than the mango cheesecake. Again, this dessert was surprisingly light on my tastebuds, making it a recommended meal-ender.
It's strategic that Aria and Cafe del Sol are set side by side, for the convenience of the customers to pick out which of the two can satisfy their mood and cravings of the moment. Big groups and big appetites will surely appreciate the serving sizes of the Italian restaurant. If snacking, long afternoons with coffee, and single-serve portioning appeal to you, then make Cafe del Sol your sunny side of D'mall for that relaxing caffeine fix. Hopefully on my next visit to the island, I'll wake up earlier and laze around less, so I can sample some of their breakfast meals.