AFTER almost two years since it was established, I finally got to dine at Cafe Inggo 1587, the much talked about restaurant inside the Sto. Domingo Church grounds, thanks to the invitation of its owner Vic Alcuaz, an ex- Dominican seminarian and one of the most successful and awarded businessmen in the hotel and restaurant industry in the country.
And what a perfect time it was to visit the place – on Christmas Eve 2019 before the anticipated Misa de Aguinaldo at Sto Domingo Church.
The Filipino-Spanish restaurant, located at the west end of the Sto. Domingo Parish building at the corner of Biak-na-Bato St. and Quezon Avenue and so named in honor of St. Dominic and the year the Dominican friars arrived in the Philippines (1587), has both a classy and casual ambiance at the same time with an air-conditioned restaurant and al fresco area. Manager Brenda Estella (who I thought was a former beauty queen) and their very courteous staff made me feel at home like a regular habitue of the café.
Upon entering, a monochrome painting in acrylic entitled Cena Dominicana (Dominican Supper) caught my attention. It is an illustrated interpretation of a meal partakes by popular Dominican saints, and blessed together with St. Francis, Our Lady, and the Lord Jesus, done by Sto. Domingo’s resident liturgical artist Joseph Conrad Salenga.
This 8×3 ft painting was made for Cafe Inggo 1587 on the occasion of the 803rd anniversary of the founding of the Order of Preachers (December 22, 2019). A unique feature of the image depicts the resident pets of the cafe including 2 cats, 5 kittens and a dog. Featured saints are:
Bl. Fra Angelico, St. Lorenzo Ruiz, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis of Assisi, Our Lady, Lord Jesus Christ, St. Dominic de Guzman, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Martin de Porres, St. Rose of Lima and newly proclaimed Filipina Venerables Ven. Francisca del Espiritu Santo de Fuentes (foundress of the Siena Sisters) and Ven. Rosario de la Visitacion (foundress of the Molo Sisters).
Aside from being pet-friendly, Cafe Inggo is also vegetarian- friendly.
The Christmas Eve dinner prepared by Chef Willy F. Domingo was heaven-sent, from the Cocktail Shrimps and Citrus Fruits, Lettuce with Fresh Orange Dressing, the hot and delicious Baked Caldo Gallego; to the Pastel Mariscos (seafood pastel which I devoured leaving a clean plate), the Pepper Steak with Seasoned Veggies and Aniseto Rice, and Chocolate Dessert topped with fresh strawberry.
As a namesake of Sto. Domingo de Guzman, it was easy for Willy Domingo to agree to design Café Inggo’s menu and eventually become its resident chef. After all, he has, tucked under his belt, a Dominican education (UST 1976) and a distinguished career as an international chef for hotel chains Hyatt International in the USA and Shangri La in the Philippines, Malaysia and Hong Kong, before putting up Fashion Café.
Must-try bestsellers at Café Inggo include: year-round comfort foods Halu-halo, Bibingka, Puto Bumbong, Lomi, Lumpiang Ubod ng Sarap, Pancakes for the Tiples, Biak-na-Bato Pasta, Tadyangins Dominicus, Gambas de Padre Napoleon, Chicken Pork Adobo and Blueberry Cheesecake, among a yet wider array of food and beverages in its menu.
Cafe Inggo is open daily and all Catholic holidays from 7:00 am – 10:00 pm and on public holidays from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm.
Dining at Café Inggo is a peaceful, pleasant experience that will make you feel blessed and come back again and again.