I love it when a business has a story behind it; having a history behind any business makes it more alluring to clienteles, well, for me at least. Agape Pastries and Tartines is exactly that. Agape's owners conceived this restaurant out of their love for food and their annual journey to their favorite Manhattan New York French restaurant.
Agape Pastries and Tartines opened in October 2014 offering wide array of French and Italian-inspired restaurant located in Congressional Ave., Tandang Sora, QC. I visited their flagship store early last year and was delighted with all the food that I got to try. But to be honest going to QC to check out restaurants, is rarely on top of my list. I would usually go somewhere in the Ortigas Center, Makati or BGC because they are pretty near where I live.
Good thing that Agape finally found its way to the heart of the Metro at its newest and second branch at SM Megamall. This branch resembles the first branch as it uses brick, wood and earth tones as part of the interior design - well-lit and cozy.
Here are the menu items that we got to try at Agape's SM Megamall branch:
Complimentary Appetizer - this includes pieces of roti bread with a spinach-malunggay dip unique to Agape.
Spicy Prawn and Papaya Salad - julienne of green papaya, garlic, green beans, carrots, sautéed shrimps in olive oil, in spicy honey lemon vinaigrette. I honestly like the unique combination of this salad, especially every time I bite onto a papaya which gives me some sweet taste in my mouth. Good thing the dressing wasn't that spicy as I am not a fan of super spicy food.
Corned Beef Brisket - slice of homemade brisket, served with fried eggs and garlic rice. This is my first time to try a corned beef presented this way actually. It kinda recon it with eating slices of good quality ham more than corned beef. The meat is very tender but a bit salty for me. But all in all it was good.
Tartine Platter - these are French open-faced sandwich, especially one with a rich or fancy spread. Agape's tartines use rye bread topped with tasty and healthy spreadable ingredients and served with fries and dip. The tartines are what makes the heart and soul of Agape. The story behind them is that when the owners are in New York, they always visit this resto that serves these tartines and it is the inspiration and cornerstone of how Agape was brought forth.
Our platter included the following variants: Beer Battered Fish, Smoked Salmon BLT, Spinach Mushroom Ricotta and Philly Cheesecake. My two favorites are still the Beer Battered Fish and the Smoked Salmon. I've tasted both before when I visited their flagship store in QC, and they still are the stand outs for me. Well, ok, I am biased when it comes to salmon, because I love anything and everything salmon!
Seafood in Squid Ink Pasta - a flavorful sauce made from fresh squid ink topped with scrumptious shrimps and garlicky squid served with garlic bread. You can either choose spaghetti or penne for your pasta. This is one of the best-sellers among their pasta dishes; as well as it should because it is truly savoury. The squid ink is prominent but not over-powering. I got to say this has got to be my favorite of all the things that we ate that afternoon. (Well, the desserts are another story, but we will get to that later).
Marie Gambasetti Pasta - also served with garlic bread and your choice if you want spaghetti or penne. This is an olive-oil based spaghetti with mild spicy combination of shrimps, chorizo and capsicum infused with fresh herbs and spices. Another best-seller amongst the pasta dishes at Agape.
All Meat Artisan Pizza - strictly meat toppings with some onions thrown onto it, on freshly made dough and oven baked at the right temperature. I like this because the crust is not too thin nor too thick plus the cheese's taste is very distinct.
Remedy - for our drinks, we got to try a couple of Agape's "Remedies" which are shakes that are healthy and refreshing which uses fruits and vegetables that you never thought would taste that yummy if combined. We had the following combos: Broccoli + Carrots + Apple; carrots + malunggay + cucumber; Green mango + banana; Malunggay + banana and Carrot + parsley + banana. There are some with veggies' taste were not pretty obvious and then there are some that the vegetable weren't distinct. But if you've tried juicing before then the veggie taste wouldn't bother you.
Now on to the desserts, my favorite part of any foodie meet up! Here are a few of the desserts that we got to try from the wide array of pastries and cakes that Agape is offering.
Crème Brule Tart - still as good just like the last time I tried it at their Congressional branch. This tastes more like the Pinoy leche flan than an egg tart. It's better if you ask this to be reheated to enjoy it fully.
Evil Cake - pudding cake with marshmallow icing. This looks and taste heavenly, so I don't know why they call it evil cake though. I love pudding cake because it reminded me of my grandma a lot; she used to make one regularly when she was still living in the Philippines.
Choco Lava Tart - it was served still hot and you could still see the center part kinda forming bubbles because of the heat it was subjected to. Awesome and I loved it.
Dulce de Leche Muffin - they have a variety of muffins and this one is what we ordered from the bunch. This was just so-so and I personally not a fan of muffins anyway.
Cheese Ensaymada - Agape claims it to be one of the best in town and I couldn't agree more. Ensaymada is not my go-to dessert or pastry but this one is for anyone who wants a cheese overload. Topping is just cheese and a lot of it, no cream unlike the other ensaymadas I've tried.
You guys can check Agape at the 5th floor of SM Megamall, just a few steps away from the mall’s chapel. A nice stop with your family after a Sunday mass.