THE Abaca Group has been synonymous with impressive dining service since it was established eight years ago. A local food empire in its own right, the group started with the award-winning Abacá Restaurant in 2006, followed by the Condé Nast-ranking Abacá Boutique Resort. It added other specialty cuisines soon after, with Maya Mexican Restaurant, all-day breakfast place A Café, the Italian trattoria Tavolata, the Vietnamese-inspired Phat Pho, and Middle Eastern kitchen Beqaa.
Earlier this year, the group added another innovative dining experience to its empire, the Abaca Baking Company located in the Crossroads Mall in Banilad. It is a strictly-from-scratch bakery, with a food selection that includes savory breakfast items like french toasts and eggs benedict, and all sorts of pastries and baked items, from croissants to cheesecakes to lamingtons.
Founder of the Abaca Group, Jason Hyatt, shares, “We’ve always tried to control our product from start to finish, so this bakery is a natural progression for our group as we can now manage every aspect of our operation, including anything baked.”
“This is in keeping with our policy of keeping our products as natural and as real as possible. If something can be made by hand, then we’ll make it by hand. For all of our restaurants, we are working and will continue to work with local farms to grow all of our greens, heirloom tomatoes and most of our small vegetables,” continues Hyatt who is a strong supporter of the farm-to-table practice.
The Abaca Baking Company is the first in town to use 100 percent unbleached flour that are produced from hard American wheat — which basically means it’s more natural and less processed, making the products better-tasting and healthier. Hyatt adds, “We use long ferments of up to 36 hours, which really bring out the flavor and texture of our breads. We don’t use improvers or pre-mixes of any kind. We only use 100 percent New Zealand and Australian butters, not blended “French” butters, in our laminations. We also use Tahitian vanilla beans, home-brewed extracts, the finest 60 percent and 70 percent European chocolates, and absolutely nothing artificially flavored or colored.”
Aesthetics-wise, the bakery is a departure from other The Abaca Group establishments. The group’s characteristics mix of warm wood and sexy lighting is there, but here there is an injection of color and whimsicality through playful murals and clipboards hand-painted by local design studio, Happy Garaje.
The first floor has high counters and bar stools for those who may only have a few minutes to spare for a handcrafted pastry or a hefty-portioned sandwich, while upstairs area has low lounge seating and USB sockets for on-the-go power, encouraging guests to hang out for as long as they’d like. There’s also traditional restaurant seating, ideal for those who may want a more leisurely meal enjoyed under dreamy string lights hanging from the ceiling and amidst cool contemporary art for sale and on rotation courtesy of Qube Gallery.
The bakery opens at 7 a.m. — apparently the best time to grabe its best-selling all-butter croissants, rustic breads, bagels, and scones perfect for morning meals. It is open until 10 p.m. on Sundays to Thursdays, and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. (FSE/With PR)