TALK about Dulcinea, and the first thing that comes to mind is its Churros con Chocolate. It’s THAT good. But Dulcinea proves that there’s more to it than just Churros with the eight new dishes and 15 new cakes and pastries that it recently introduced in its nine stores. Truth is that it even unveiled the new look that the chain will be adopting with the recently renovated Greenbelt 1 store of Dulcinea. This newly renovated store is the first one to display its new hip and chic look that gives it a casual restaurant and café appeal.
Coinciding with the unveiling of Dulcinea’s new look was the introduction of eight new dishes on the menu – Chicken in Almond Saffron Sauce (Php350), pan-roasted chicken breast on a bed of almond saffron sauce, topped with slivered almonds, served with sautéed asparagus and rice; Braised Duck Leg Seville Style (Php575), duck leg quarter fried and braised in olive and orange sauce, served with mashed potato; Pato con Salsa de Caparas (Php510), pan-seared duck breast topped with caper sauce, simmered for hours, and served with roasted carrots and fragrant saffron rice); Andalucian Porkchops (Php495), a 400-gram pork chop covered in Moorish spice rub, pan-seared and served with white bean stew, roasted carrots and asparagus; Lapu-Lapu con Crema de Ajo (Php420), pan-fried lapu-lapu fillet, topped with garlic cream sauce and served with roasted garlic and mashed potato on the side); Crackling Pork Belly (Php390), crackling pork belly roasted until tender and served on a bed of roasted garlic sauce, with rice on the side); Tenderloin Steak (Php595), pan-seared tenderloin topped with an olive-red wine sauce and served with roasted carrots and white bean stew; and Salmon al Ajillo (Php595), pan-seared salmon topped with garlic-and-chili oil, served with roasted artichokes and mashed potato.
Complementing these new dishes are several “redesigned” dishes. These mean old favorites on the menu that have been given a market-responsive twist. Take the Salpicao (Php350), tenderloin cubes sautéed in garlic, olive oil and spices, topped with chili. The beef now comes in bigger chunks. The Lengua (Php395), which is another Dulcinea best-seller, has also been improved beyond compare. It’s very tender ox tongue simmered in a blend of spices, sliced and generously topped with gravy and mushrooms.
On top of that, Dulcinea has been using more of the premium Jasmine rice than regular rice for its rice meals, so diners get more value for their money when dining at the restaurant.
Fifteen new cakes and pastries have also been introduced in the market, including the best-selling Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with its heavenly caramel layer on top, as well as the Malacanang Roll, which is similar to a Brazo de Mercedes but with torched wave-like meringue covering and a luscious chocolate filling instead of the usual egg custard Brazo de Mercedes is known for. It’s called Malacanang Roll because it was originally created for the former First Lady, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, during the Marcos years. But now it is being sold and appreciated for what it is – political colors set aside because they no longer matter except that Malacanang Roll is an awesome cake creation deserving of all the accolade that it is now receiving.
Other cakes that are among the best-sellers of Dulcinea include the classic Strawberry Shortcake, the chocolate-y variation Strawberry Oreo Cake, Honey Crunch Cake (which combines texture, crunch and flavor), Dulce de Leche Cake and Tres Leches Cake. The new Dulce de Leche Cheesecake was just introduced in the market last February.
It’s also good to know that with Dulcinea’s new store ambiance and look also comes the equipment needed for in-store baking of fresh batches of pastries so diners get them fresh all the time. Right now, in-store baking is only being done at Dulcinea’s newly renovated Greenbelt 1 store, but once the other stores are renovated to adapt this new casual dining look, equipment for in-store baking will also be put in place to make freshness a standard in all Dulcinea stores.
Exciting times ahead for a beautiful dining tradition, Dulcinea, which is now celebrating its 50th anniversary. It has certainly come a long way since its founder, Senor Santos Ruano, decided to leave his grandparents’ pasteleria in Spain, travel to the Philippines and open his own humble little pasteleria along Mabini Street in Ermita, Manila, back in 1963. Through the years, over three generations of Filipinos have walked through Dulcinea’s doors and enjoyed its delicious food and pastries.