By Nom Seyer
It always amazes me what you could find right in your neck of the woods when you put in a little time and effort. What started as a curious desire to discover something new without going too far (the ongoing construction along Alabang in SLEX played a huge factor) led us to the back roads of Sta. Rosa, Laguna to SOUTHPICK CAFE.
This hidden gem of a cafe, now firmly placed in our list of go-to places, checks a lot in our priority list: great tasting plates, (very) reasonable prices, Instagrammable interiors, friendly service. We find this quite commendable for the first food venture of a young entrepreneurial family with diverse businesses in the hospitality and real estate industries. The Alignay family hails from Sta. Rosa and this explains why they firmly support the local community and chose to set up their businesses in the city.
“We live in the south and we want our customers to remember Southpick Cafe and pick us”, said Lillibeth Alignay, the matriarch and quiet force behind the family. This play on words can explain why they have named all their businesses “Southpick”, such as Southpick Resort and Hotel, Southpick Subdivision and of course, Southpick Cafe.
“We want the cafe to have a homey and cozy ambiance”, continued Ms. Lillibeth and this concept has been translated to the cafe’s cool acqua shades tempered with light wood. Her son, Albert, also shared that the entire family was very hands on in conceptualizing and building the cafe. They had no qualms closing the cafe shortly after opening it in November 2018 to give way to enhancements and renovations. Suffice to say that they were quite happy that their designers and builders were able to bring to life the vision they had in mind. When you look at the entire space, from the ceiling, sideways and down to the floor, you feel the intentional approach to achieve a quiet balance of undulating curves, cushy softness, straight lines and hard edges. A mix of white walls, warm wood, polished cement, cold metals and clear glass edges strike a cozy, friendly vibe. This soothing color way also extends to the alfresco dining area which can seat 30 more people.
This attention to architectural and interior design details certainly goes into the thoughtfully conceived and made-for-Instagram plates. The owners described their food as a little bit Italian but adjusted to the Filipino palate. What sets their food apart from other cafes, including big name ones, is the quality of their home made dishes.
If you’re looking for light fare, Southpick Cafe carries a good roster of drinks (coffee-based and not, including the popular millennial drink, milk tea), sandwiches, salads and pastas that are surprisingly filling too. All day breakfast plates are also available if you want heavier fare.
Cheesy Bites Pimiento and Cheese is a revelation of creamy, gooey goodness. At a price point of Php130, it is something we’d want to order again and again. There are other variants of this sublime snack food, and we were told all are good. Yum.
The Healthy Salad brings together fresh lettuce, onions, cucumber, bell pepper, pickles and tomatoes with a wonderful Southpick dressing for a light, healthy yet tasty dish. This actually makes for a perfect lunch plate, especially when you are watching your weight yet need something satisfying.
The Clubhouse Sandwich is heftier than most clubhouse sandwiches with a substantial filling of ham, cheese, bacon, lettuce, egg, cucumber and tomatoes, served with a side of crunchy chips.
We heartily approve the generous serving of the Southpick Tuna Pasta, an olive oil based dish with Italian seasoning. The knowledgeable and friendly manager Joey Belmonte, who prepared the dish himself, shared that it is sautéed in olive oil, capers and chili flakes for extra kick. The full bodied flavors of this simple pasta dish solidified our new found love for this little cafe.
For dessert, we just had to try the Chocolate Coffee Mousse and we were not disappointed. This slice had us raring to try the other tempting cakes on display but we had to make room for drinks. Southpick has an extensive list and we chose Hot Mocha and Strawberry Milk Tea (the bobba or balls were soft and flavorful). Barista Adette Climaco helped us choose the drinks from a rather long list that caters to all ages, it seems.
In addition to the incredible food, Southpick Cafe very recently launched its Acoustic Nights happening every Tuesday and Saturday from 7pm onwards. Expect a good mix of songs from OPM, classics, pop and pop rock.
“We want people to know that in the heart of Sta. Rosa, there is a hidden gem that is Southpick Cafe. We want to give customers a unique experience with our food at competitive prices, friendly crew and a calming atmosphere”, Ms. Lillibeth said with a smile.
That, they certainly did.
Southpick Cafe is open daily from 3pm-12mn. They usually open earlier on holidays, like 10am — watch out for announcements on their Facebook page for holiday schedules. Call 0917.509.4859 for inquiries or drop by at Brgy. Market Area, Sta. Rosa Laguna.
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