Sunday, 15 May 2011

Let Them Eat Cake: Conti’s, Lachi’s and Miss Desserts

On my recent trip to the Philippines, I feasted on a lot of sweets.
Here’s a rundown and a comparison of the stuffs we had.

The family had a late merienda cena at Conti’s on our way to Tagaytay. We ordered some pasta and appetizers with our sweets but since this is a cake and pastry review, let’s focus on the sweets! ☺

Conti’s Bananalicious Pie
I guess this is Conti’s take on a frozen Banana Cream Pie. The crust is a bit too salty for my liking (perhaps it has something to do with the butter?) but the filling itself was not too sweet. I just wished there were more banana flavors in the pie!

Conti’s Moist Chocolate Cake
This was my niece’s order. Despite her frowns haha I tried a few spoonfuls and the cake was good. Nothing spectacular, but it has a solid chocolate flavor and the crumb structure isn’t too dry, The niece loved the cake soo much she finished the big hunky slice all by herself (and ate the other cakes too!)

Conti’s NY Cheesecake
This was too sour for my taste. Not my cheesecake of dreams, but my brother, who loathes sickly sweet cakes, liked this.

Conti’s Mango Bravo
The shop’s signature cake and the only cake I kept going back to at Conti’s. It’s still as I remember it – pillowy meringue, sweet buttercream, mango topping and chocolate mousse. Disparate textures, yes? An unlikely tall cake. But it is surprisingly light and the flavors- sweet and sour (from the mangoes), creamy (from the butter cream) and chocolatey (from the mousse) works! I will come back to Conti’s again and again if only for this.

After a day in Manila, I hopped on the plane to beloved Davao. Spell out cakes in Davao and you would know that it is synonymous to L-A-C-H-I-‘s. Lachi’s Sans Rival ATBP. is deceptively non-descript. It’s a small hole-in-the wall cake shop and restaurant with an utterly plain décor , at least by Manila standards, but that is what makes Lachi’s special. It doesn’t bank on ambiance, or big beautiful spaces. It doesn’t bank on anything except on the deliciousness that they have on offer. Some Manila-based visitors have tagged Lachi’s as the Conti’s of Davao. And I cringe! Haha, I don’t think so. Lachi’s offers better value for money. It is a neighborhood place. It has an air of friendliness that Conti’s doesn’t have. On a not so busy day, you can chitchat with the servers, and you can come to the shop in your pambahay and nobody would care (Try doing that at Conti’s in Serendra haha!). Yes, I am a Lachi’s diehard fan, precisely because it holds to par the things I look for at eating places offering comfort foods.

The cousins, brother and I went to Lachi’s for desserts after a late lunch at our favorite pizza place, Pizza Pamilya at the back of Victoria Mall.

The cakes:

Lachi’s Classic Sans Rival
This is the shop’s specialty. If you like crispy sans rival (as compared to the chewier kind) then you’ll love this. It is not so sweet so there is no umay factor. The brother compared this to the other Sans Rival we love, Polly’s Cakes Sans Rival (from Merville in Paranaque) and he commented that though Polly’s is sweeter, Lachi’s has better texture.

Lachi’s Symphony Torte Cake
A layer cake composed of sponge cakes, layers of chocolate ganache and butter cream. The cake is surprisingly light and we loved the deep chocolate flavor.

Lachi’s Choco-Vanilla Cheesecake
Isn’t this cheesecake a beauty? I know that Lachi’s built its name from its yummy Sans Rival but it is their cheesecakes that make me swoon. This Choco-Vanilla Cheesecake had the perfect balance of creamy-tartness and subtle chocolate flavor. These cheesecakes are baked and not of the gelatine ilk, which makes them really really creamy, with a soft mouth feel.

Lachi’s Dulce De Leche Cheesecake
My favorite cheesecake ever. Akin to Conti’s Mango Bravo, this is the cheesecake to which I compare all other cheesecakes. If I may say so myself, I bake a respectable , true blue cheesecake, but why bake a cheesecake when you can get this superb cheesecake at such an affordable price? The cheesecake is not too sour (unlike Conti’s!) but the clincher is the dulce de leche topping which makes an already great cheesecake into a swoon-worthy experience.

Lachi’s Apple Pie
My brother’s order. I do not really like apple pies, but the brother loves this because of the chunky apple pieces in the pie. No yucky,goopy pseudo-apple filling here.


On my last day in Pinas, I met up with an old friend for some chitchat sessions. After having pasta and the yummy Artichoke and Cream Cheese Dip at Café Mary Grace, we went to the nearby Miss Desserts because we wanted to try their new dessert, the Black Velvet Cake.

Of the three dessert shops I went to, this one was the most expensive. To be fair, although the shop is pretty small, the staffs were pretty accommodating and chitchatty. The shop didn’t have wifi but guess what, the staff gave me the password for a nearby establishment’s net connection! May pagka-usi rin ang server nila haha but I guess he was only trying to be friendly. He asked me why the service on my iphone was SMART when all iphones in Pinas were Globe locked. Haha, imagine nakita nya yun? Had to explain that my phone was on international roaming and automatically picks up the telco line with the strongest signal.

Back to the cake:
The Black Velvet Cake itself was good. We loved the boiled icing and the cake was not dry. I read from some reviews that they experienced a dry Red Velvet Cake but I guess we were lucky to have been there on a good cake day for the pastry chef.

I also bought a few personal sized sugar-free cakes and brought them with me to Seoul – Carrot Cake, Butter Cake and another marble cake thing. Of the three, the best was the Butter Cake. Really buttery and sweet! I asked the server and he told me they use Stevia which is great as this is an all natural sweetener, not one of those artificial aspartame stuffs.


The verdict: I will always love Conti’s Mango Bravo but at the moment, it is Lachi’s that stands as my favorite cake place. It is, to put it simply, unpretentiously great.


  1. ZOMG, looks fantastic. I want to nom Conti's Mango Bravo so bad.....

  2. Timmy: yep it's my favorite cake ever! :-)

  3. i love conti's mango bravo too, also the choco overload and turtle pie!! try their Black velvet cake also... :)

  4. i love desserts especially mango bravo of contis

  5. Pink Cookies: I will surely try the Choco Overload and Turtle Pie on my next trip to Conti's in August! Thanks for the recos!

    Michelle: That's great! I haven't met anyone who didn't like Mango Bravo haha! I think it's almost universally loved by anyone who've tasted it :-) I love it to bits too!


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