A tour of the BenCab Museum would not be complete without dropping by Café Sabel for a quick meal or a coffee break.
Named after BenCab’s favorite model, the café opened the same time as the museum did. On our last visit, we were told that visitors could go directly to Café Sabel without touring the museum, saving a bit of cash that would have been the museum entrance fee (but why do that, riding all the way here and not even stepping into the museum?). I’m not so sure if it’s still the case now.
Changes had definitely taken place while we were away. The interiors had been altered, the staff’s unfamiliar and the menu’s different. Gone were the boneless bangus and the chicken satay we ordered before and were planning to order again.
After some chitchat with the staff, which seemed friendlier than the previous ones, I found that there has indeed been a change of management. Café Isabel, I was told, was previously run by the same group that operated the Café by the Ruins restaurant in Baguio City. A new group has now taken over the café.
There was no set menu and everything was chalked over blackboards over the bar. I’m unsure if they change their menu everyday or it’s just for effect.
We ordered their Asian Adobo Chinois with Mountain Rice (Php170.00) and Chicken Sandwich (Php115.00). I took out my camera and photographed the place as we waited for our orders.
The café overlooks the back garden of museum. From the café, steps lead down to a paved veranda bordered by curving rough mountain stone parapets. A path downwards leads to a pond and a metal bridge that can be crossed to access the hut in its midst.
Surrounding all these is a thick blanket of mist that echoes a bit of the nearby mountain across the ravine. Far to the right, I can see a silhouette of BenCab’s modernist home against the slow-moving haze.
Back at Café Isabel, lunch time!
The adobo was well presented, but when inspected closely seemed disappointing as the serving was quite small. There were only three pieces of meat and the rest were made up of veggie strips. I’m not sure it would suffice for my tummy.
The chicken sandwich is made up of two loaves of wheat bread with generous fillings of chicken and greens. A potato salad was also served on the sides.
Both dish tasted quite average and we were a bit disappointed since we liked the food we ate here during our previous visit.
We would have ordered some coffee or hot chocolate, which was so perfect for the foggy weather, but time’s a-tuggin’ us to go back to the city. Hot choco’s and frozen coffee would have to wait ‘til our next visit at BenCab’s art house.
Address: Km. 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan, Tuba, Benguet
Contact Number: (074) 442-7165 | Website: http://bencabmuseum.org/
Museum hours: Open daily except Mondays, Christmas & New Year 9:00am - 6:00pm