These days, coffee shops come a dime a dozen, often being photocopies of photocopies of the big players in the bean game. That’s why it’s always refreshing to find one that stands out by actually offering something that’s not a parody of whatever’s popular now. In Parañaque, I found one such example in the form of Paume’s Pastryhouse.
My comrades and I had just finished dinner and were on the way to BF Homes to look for a dessert place, but not before we spotted a lighted moniker along Presidents’ Avenue we never noticed before. Curious, we turned around and arrived at Paume’s Pastryhouse, a bright beacon in an otherwise bleak portion of the area at about 10PM.
Inside, the place is homey with its clean Paris-inspired interior, little-house-on-the-prairie furniture, and warm lighting. In a nook off the entrance is a kids’ play area, which also contains boardgames for the kids at heart to tinker with. It’s pretty small (at most, it can probably seat about 20), but that’s OK. I think it keeps the place a bit more intimate.
Manning the cash register was owner and head chef Carol Paume Go (pronounced much like the cheerleading prop, by the way), a nice and pretty gal who explained that her French maiden name means ‘palm’. A fitting one, she says, since as a baker, she works with her hands. She apologized for the half-empty glass display case, explaining that they usually run out of pastries pretty early. A fetus of a shop (being just a month old) and already with a hungry following? Sounds promising.
From what remained of their pastries we asked for a slice each of blueberry cheesecake and a chocolate cake, as well as a chocolate eclair. To wash them down with, we ordered the French Kiss latte (the house specialty), a Feel Good Affogato, a cafe latte, and a mocha frappuccino.
Decadent and bittersweet, the chocolate cake was sinful. The cheesecake was pretty good too, neither too dense nor too sweet. My sister enjoyed the eclair immensely; she practically licked her plate clean. There was something a bit odd-tasting about it to me, though. Other than the fact that they don’t use the usual custard you’d find in an eclair, there’s something else, but I just can’t put my finger on it.
The French Kiss latte was a rich balance of sweet and strong. Despite having Dutch chocolate, chocolate and vanilla syrup and chocolate sprinkles that might put you in a sugar-induced coma, the jolt of espresso shoots you awake with just the right amount of bitterness.
The mocha frappe was really good, too. The strong flavor of the coffee really comes through, but not so much that the chocolate gets lost in it.
The affogato was a study of contrasts, and a delicious one at that. It was a combination of dark and light, bitter and sweet, hot and cold. I just wanted more and more.
A bit of confusion caused my latte to arrive much later than the others, but my slight irk was appeased once I had my first sip. It was smooth, delightfully bitter and not too milky. I don’t take sugar with my coffee, but anyone who likes their brew on the sweet side will be glad to know it comes with a test tube of liquid sweetener.
You can actually have an entire meal here because they offer all sorts of savory dishes too, from pastas to sandwiches. Prices of all food and drink items are very competitive. And, save for the delay, the staff is accommodating and courteous.
Before heading for your favorite commercialized coffee place of the green and brown persuasion for your caffeine fix, you might want to steer yourself towards Paume’s first. From the flavors to the ambiance, this little-cafe-that-could just might become a regular hangout for you.
Overall rating: ★★★★☆
#29 Presidents Avenue Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque
Store hours: 11AM to 11PM
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