Mall restaurants usually trip over each other trying to make the catchiest, most inviting facade, so when I saw this discreet little corner at Quezon City’s Eastwood Mall, I got intrigued…and impressed. The name is La Creperie, and the sight of this quaint, homey cafe/restaurant could catch the unsuspecting mall rat by surprise, especially since it’s sandwiched between big restaurants with equally big names, and also because the mall is the last place you’d expect to see something like it. It’s like the underdog that I often root for, and as the name of the place goes, it looks like it would be more at home in the sidewalks of Paris, than in bustling Eastwood.
It takes no guessing that their specialty is the crepe, that undeniably French thin pancake which goes with anything, from fruits to meats. They also have a long list of specialty teas, all from the land of the francaise.
If you’re familiar with Cafe Breton, then you wouldn’t get lost in La Creperie’s menu. Like their larger competitor, their menu boasts an impressive variety of what I would call as “meal crepes” – those with meats, vegetables and/or cheese, as well a long list of sweet dessert crepes – those with fruits, chocolate, cream, etc. You can also customize your crepe, assembling various ingredients of your choice, to come up with something that has your personal touch.
They also have Galettes, which is basically just a Crepe, but made with a different flour (buckwheat).
The place has captured my curiosity ever since I saw it for the first time, and one late weekday evening, I finally had the chance to try them out.
I had a curiously named crepe called the “Le J.J.”, a piece well suited for a light but satisfying dinner. Wrapped inside the thin wheat pancake are several ingredients, most notable of which are slices of ham, and gruyere and emmental cheeses. The crepe would would have paired well with red wine, I think. But, I was on a budget, and I didn’t even bother to check if they have any wines. My bad.
My wife had the Mango, Peach and Nutella crepe, a dessert piece which leaves nothing to guess about its ingredients. The crepe is delightful in its simplicity, devoid of any sort of fancy presentation, and somewhat reminiscent of the crepes she had from the street side stalls near Paris’ Sacre Coeur. On the outside it looks like a simple home-made crepe, sloppily slathered with Nutella by an eager little kid. However, you have to taste it to appreciate it, and this one was clearly made for the palate, and not the eyes. It would be perfect with coffee, and yes, they do have brewed coffee.
And now, for the unavoidable comparison. If you mention the word “crepe” here in Manila, then it’s undeniable that the name “Cafe Breton” would be one of the first things to come across people’s minds. It is, after all, the institution that brought the crepe into mainstream consciousness, if not mainstream appreciation.
Then, for the unavoidable question. Would I deliberately detour from a nearby Cafe Breton, just to get to La Creperie in far-away QC? I guess not. But would I shun La Creperie if I happen to be in Eastwood, and go searching for the nearest Cafe Breton, where ever that may be? I guess no too. I’ve been a Cafe Breton (or C.B.) fan ever since my first bite of their crepe, and La Creperie was able to capture that same thing C.B. had that won me over, and that is certainly not a bad thing. C.B. already set the bar high, and managing to reach that same bar is no easy feat, and I have to give La Creperie credit for that.
Overall, La Creperie is a great addition to the list choices, for people who have a devotion to this wonderful French creation. And if you’re one of these people, then this place is definitely a must-try.
Perhaps you could criticize it for being a “johnny-come-lately”, or worse – a “copycat”, in a market that C.B. has long started and dominated, but who cares? Certainly not me. For as long as they cook good food, please get me a table and show me the menu. And La Creperie’s crepes, are certainly more than just good.
* We had dinner at La Creperie last March, 2011. All photos taken with Sony DSC-T300.