Peep Into The LAB

Worth it! – an inevitable unspoken motto that we all go by. Correct? And that also goes for food and our food hunting escapades.

Right off the bat, I am a cheap foodie — someone who loves to eat and hunt for food but also, is conscious of the worth of dishes on the menu. Not a cheapskate but one that is looking at quality more than anything.

Most often, the best food finds are tucked behind the most unorthodox location. Case in point, the only laboratory themed cafe in the city, Laboratoire Cafe. More than just a one-of-a-kind dining destination in the city, its quaint location, coupled with its unique name for a cafe, is a dead giveaway of what’s inside. And even for the most part, you’d still be thrilled of how they utilise different laboratory apparatus to make everyone’s dining experience memorable.

Their menu alone is very unique. “Everything on the menu is my son’s doing – except for the pastries, those are mine.” said Relane Manalo, a Medical Technician by profession, who traded her crisp white coat for an apron. Relane’s second son, Kim Patrick Manalo, a culinary student, has been creating incredible dishes that has since made an impact to their patron’s palate.

Laboratoire Cafe, to say the least, sprung from Relane’s once operational laboratory.  When things got off, Relane and her husband decided to close it and open a cafe. To state, it was their eldest son, who is presently a medical student, who gave them the idea to name the place laboratoire. “Out of the blue, the name popped and we thought, why not? Let’s give it a try”, said Relane. Relane is married to Dr. Caesar Manalo, a reputable Paediatrician in the city.

Their menu is like a treasure chest of delish dishes. On top of the list, many rave of their teriyaki chicken, salisbury steak and the tuna steak. Each dish is cooked with precision that enables the ingredients to marry and produce a flavour pairing that’s distinctively Laboratoire. Aside from the taste, you’d find the presentation very nice – clean and palate urging to the core. Not to mention, the beakers that come with it.

Laboratoire Cafe is not just a haven for savoury dishes – they also have an array of sweet cakes on display that are just but the sweetest and creamiest you can lay eyes on. “I do not have a culinary background but I began baking when I was still single”, shared Relane. “I experiment a lot; I love the idea of creating something sweet that will make others happy,” she continued. Her repertoire includes chocolate moist cake, blueberry cheesecake and her newest and milkiest, tres leches. Not only are they delicious; they are also budget friendly.

Laboratoire Cafe is totally worth it. Their servings are big and warrants for a sweet or savoury conversation piece for anyone who dines. And that includes everything on their menu.

Laboratoire Cafe is located at Guzman Street, SPH Medical Arts Building, Davao City