Shine Bakery and Café is the playground of chefs Rob and Sunshine Pengson. It is where they allow their culinary minds to run wild.
“Coming from the Goose Station, which is fine dining and more high-end,” said Sunshine, “we wanted to have fun and be creative with the kind of food that people eat everyday.”
“The place has a Willy Wonka feel to it, not necessarily because we wanted it to be just for kids but really to bring out the inner child in everyone,” she added.
The restaurant really has a touch of whimsy to it; it’s a cross between a candy factory and an ice-cream parlor, a diner and a nursery. It is decked here and there with mementos of childhood. “There’s Lego, ‘The Little Prince,’ plus a bunch of cookbooks displayed around the restaurant,” said Sunshine.
The menu is filled with all sorts of things one would binge on—a good cross of sweet and savory. The offerings range from the very simple to the quite complex; a blend of comfort food and more sophisticated dishes.
They’ve managed to stay true to their tag line, “having fun with everyday gastronomy.”
“For us, everyday gastronomy is like combining a café with a brunch place, an ice-cream and dessert bar,” said Rob.
“Our work at the Goose Station, while fun, is very rigid, and we find ourselves saying we can’t do this and can’t do that with certain items because it doesn’t fit a concept,” added Rob. “At Shine we allow ourselves everything: brunch, rice, spaghetti, tossed green salads, fried chicken, burgers, waffles, cupcakes, choco chip cookies, milkshakes and sundaes, etc.”
Sunshine joined in: “It’s the food we like to eat on our day off or when we come home from work.”
“The food and pastries and restaurants represent our youthful energy,” Rob further explained.
There are four menus, of which three have already been out, he said. These consist of burgers, fries and nibblers; all-day café and brunch menu; and ice creams and desserts.
“Our fourth menu is a little more creative and specialized because I am planning a tasting menu different from the Goose Station,” said Rob. “This one includes flavors and concepts that are fun while being very affordable, as our setting demands.”
I was at Shine last week and I must say the Duck Confit was excellent—very crisp on the outside, the skin salted and spiced to perfection, juicy, moist, with that explosion of deadly but delicious duck fat in every bite.
The Grain Mustard Maple Syrup went very well with it—sweet, sharp and tangy perfect, with the gaminess of the confit. The duck is served with a Belgian waffle and rosemary butter, though I skipped that but devoured the duck.
I also had their Sliders with Foie—mini burgers on brioche with slivers of green apple and pan-fried foie. They were good.
I was impressed with the cheeseburger sliders that really tasted as good any real great-tasting cheeseburger should. Straightforward, honest, juicy burgers, with good cheese, just as you’d expect it to be.
The umami fries were wonderful, a symphony on the mouth. It is a delight for all those who love fries and chips: potatoes fried to golden brown perfection, finished with a seaweed and spice blend. Rob was so kind as to share the recipe.
Oh, and their Caesar’s salad is delectable. Creamy, light and very tasty. Heavy on the anchovy, which is why I love it.
Another offering that I love is the Medjool date (jumbo, plump, sweet, buttery, creamy soft dates) filled with creamy goat cheese, drizzled with balsamic reduction and garnished with arugula. The combination of flavors are to die for—sweet, tangy, sharp, a hint of tart and a tad bitter, all at the same time.
For dessert, Sunshine’s eclairs are my favorite.
Shine is perceived as a restaurant with many facets. It is, for one, a family place since Rob and Sunshine are proud parents of Santiago, who’s now 2 ½ years old. (They’re again expecting.) So Shine is a good place for the whole family to bond. It is where, as Rob put it, “ratatouille childhood moments” are remembered.
For a summer prelude, here are recipes from chefs Rob and Sunshine:
3 scoops chocolate ice cream
½ c cold milk
2 tbsp chocolate sauce or syrup
Put everything in a blender and blend till smooth.
Milkshake tips from Sunshine:
Use your favorite ice cream. The better the ice cream, the better the shake.
Use fresh ingredients. Nothing makes a great strawberry shake than fresh strawberries instead of syrup.
Be creative. If you have extra bits of cheesecake, cookies or chocolate, add them in.
240 g hand-cut fries
30 g Parmesan
30 g nori snack (available at Japanese stores)
Pinch Pimenton dulce
Pinch onion powder
Pinch garlic powder
Serve with aioli. At Shine, it is served with Kentucky bourbon aioli.
Shine Bakery and Café, tel. 5536566 and +63917-7047118. They cater and also customize desserts for parties and corporate events.
For a copy of my new cooking class schedule, call tel. 9289296, 4008496, 0908-2372346 or 0917-5543700.