Sometimes, there are some restaurants that are better kept a secret instead of sharing with the rest of the world. As a matter of fact, I have my fair share of secrets-- places in Cebu that I have grown to love yet failed to blog about. For one thing, I prefer to keep these places as a secret so that they won't become too mainstream. Despite being a food writer, there are some restaurants and cafes I have kept secret, except from my closest friends and family members.
Another reason why I haven't written about them is because I worry I won't be able to epitomize how good the restaurant is through my own writing. I worry that there will be some details left unmentioned and that my writing is never enough to describe how good these places are-- until one day, I completely forget about it and my visit only becomes an unread memoir.
Despite my hesitations, I have decided to share with you guys a new cafe that I have frequented in the past month alone. Discovering it on my way home one day, I made sure to check out the place the soonest that I could. Located in one of the 'eskinitas' or side streets nearby Castle Peak hotel, a hidden gem awaits to be discovered by cheese lovers. I am very grateful I was able to discover this new destination.
Cafe de Geneve
Having opened last November, Cafe de Geneve is a quaint cafe that serves mainly Swiss and international dishes. Its specialty includes their selection of cheeses, served in either fondue or with boiled potatoes. Complete with a selection of healthy and freshly cooked items on their menu, it is easy to see their strong European influence on the dishes. Although there is a regular menu available, a weekly special is presented as an introduction to other dishes. The restaurant is capable of serving only 25 people at a time, so it is best to call for a reservation.
Apart from their delicious food, the homey and inviting atmosphere is accentuated by the warm smiles of the Gygli family. To start with, Windy Gancayco (wo)mans the kitchen and whips up some unfamiliar yet delicious meals. Given her French culinary background, Windy's dishes are cooked to perfection. She's this quirky woman whom you want to be your cool aunt-- complete with small tattoos inspired by her Parisian upbringing. She does remind me of Rosalind Chao from the movie What Dreams May Come.
While Windy is in charge of the food, it is her better half, Sebastian Gygli, who is in charge of welcoming guests and talking to them about the items on the menu. With his bartending experience, he has created concoctions inspired by Cebu's local ingredients and calling them as such-- Sugbu Passion, Mabolo Rum or Caipicebu Don't forget to chat with him about World Cup results and he'll be sure to remember you!
The husband and wife tandem works together in the cafe, with their pretty young daughter awaiting on the side. It's such a treat to see how the couple influences their daughter with their attention to detail and strong discipline in the food they prepare.
A visit to Cafe de Geneve to chat with the owners may be great and all-- but don't forget to try their delicious food. As a matter of fact, a visit to their cafe will leave behind bits and pieces in your memory and will make you look forward to your next visit. Check out some of the dishes Guile and I loved at Cafe de Geneve:
Chocolate Truffle Cake (P110)
Our first visit in the cafe led us to discover how decadent their Chocolate Truffle Cake was. In fact, it was far from the typical chocolate cake being sold commercially. Through its flavors, you can taste the French characteristic of the cake; almost tart-ish and far from cake dough flavor. The chocolate is mildly bitter yet becomes moist once it infused with your tastebuds.
Lemon Tart (P120)
Another cake we were able to try was their Lemon Tart-- the right blend of tangy and sweet in your mouth. It is baked to perfection, a characteristic that is most prevalent among French cuisine.
Raclette Cheese (P495)
Raclette served with potatoes (P495)
Visiting on our second month together, we made sure to try out one of their cheese dishes. But considering there was only two of us, we decided to go for their Raclette Cheese instead of the Cheese Fondue. It was a first time for us both to experience the mechanism and art of how the Raclette cheese melted right in front of us. Each bubble and sizzle made our excitement grow, as we patiently waited for the right moment when we could savor the goodness of the melted cheese all over the potatoes. Mmmmm...
Zurich Chicken with Roesti (P320)
As for our main course, we shared their Zurich Chicken with Roesti, which is actually a German dish. The chicken was tender and mixed with thinly sliced mushrooms in a creamy sauce with white wine reduction. Accompanying this dish was a serving of perfectly baked Roesti potatoes, or what is known as Swiss hash browns; and a side of crisp baked carrots.
At the end of your meal, you'll be given a special treat-- some local Swiss chocolates they provide as a complimentary gift.
Free Swiss Chocolates
Every visit to Cafe de Geneve is an escape from the hustle of my everyday life. Tucked in a small street in Mabolo area, the cheese lover in me has found its own piece of haven in Cebu City; reminding me again why I've grown to love this city even more.
Cafe de Geneve is located on Congressman Noel St., Brgy. Kasambagan, Mabolo, Cebu City. They are open for lunch (11:00am-2:00pm) Tuesdays to Saturdays and dinner (5:30pm-10:00pm) Mondays to Sundays. For reservations, call (032)412 0748.