This European bakery is your new hideout in a mall

Take a breather in Agape with their non-fried comfort food

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When entrepreneur Jean Uvero was going through a difficult time with her daughter, they took respite in a French bakery in Manhattan, New York called Le Pain Quotidien.

“That’s where we would talk, where my daughter would express her fears for the medical procedures,” says Uvero, careful to not sound too dramatic and ruin the mood. Her daughter was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2010 and they had to go to New York for treatment. Fortunately, she was a perfect donor and the surgery was a success.

Since then, Uvero was thinking of opening a restaurant like Le Pain, which serves European comfort food such as tartines and fromage. Of course, she wanted to replicate what made her fall in love with that bakery, too—its homey and communal vibe.

nolisoli eats restaurant agape
This restaurant is a reminder of Uvero and her daughter’s “beautiful journey.”

So without extensive knowledge on running a restaurant (only on more than 20 branches of wellness and beauty salons), Uvero took a leap of faith and opened the first Agape Pastries and Tartines along Congressional Ave., Quezon City in 2014. It was well-received. Patrons loved it so much that they urged Uvero to open a branch in SM Megamall. So she did earlier this year.

nolisoli eats restaurant agape
As she wants everything in the restaurant personalized, Uvero designed the furniture herself.
nolisoli eats restaurant agape
“What we aim to do here is to offer something beautiful and serve them with love and passion,” she says.

Aside from being a Greek term for selfless love, Agape also means opened mouth in surprise or wonder. This is what Uvero wants her customers to experience, too, with their European dishes.

nolisoli eats restaurant agape
Would this dish make your teeth black after eating? Maybe. Is it worth it? Yes.
nolisoli eats restaurant agape
What gives character to this prawn and papaya salad is its spicy honey lemon vinaigrette.

Seafood in squid ink is one of Agape’s bestsellers. Its pasta drenched in squid ink gives off umami, which is slightly intensified by shrimp stock. It’s also generously topped with garlicked prawns and squid. If you find the dish too fishy, don’t be shy to squeeze lemon on it.

Spicy prawn and papaya salad, on the other hand, is a refreshing mix of ripe papaya, tomatoes, arugula, alfalfa sprouts, and roasted peanuts. The spicy honey lemon vinaigrette is not as spicy as it may seem, too. The highlight is also on the prawn made extra flavorful as it was blanched in shrimp stock.

nolisoli eats restaurant agape
Roll some alfalfa sprouts and arugula in their Dan McCune panizza and drizzle with olive oil for fuller bitter and earthy flavors.
nolisoli eats restaurant agape
Les Petite Tartines platter. Clockwise from left: tomato and basil, smoked salmon and caviar, spicy peach and prosciutto, and five cheese.

Get a platter of their famous Les Petite featuring four variants of tartines on slightly toasted sliced baguettes. In the mood for greens? Try their tomato and basil made more flavorful with pesto. Their smoked salmon and caviar is also a must-try as their signature Remedy spread (a mixture of spinach, basil, and malunggay) gives it more body.

nolisoli eats restaurant agape
This open-faced sandwich is their Smoked Salmon BLT: rye bread garnished with ricotta cream cheese, Remedy spread, lettuce, tomato, bacon, smoked salmon, pesto, and parmesan cheese. Drizzle the tartine with citrus vinaigrette for a tang.

Uvero wants Agape to be an abode for those who are seeking comfort just like what Le Pain was like to them. “With this, I hope positivity would flow not only for me, but also for our employees, chefs, and clients,” she says. Although in a mall, the rustic interiors and comfort food they serve provides relief inside a rigid building.

nolisoli eats restaurant agape
Agape completes the comfort food menu with their pastries made in-house. Clockwise from left: chocolate mousse, chocolate pumpkin, Cake of Eros (with coffee liqueur)

 

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TAGS: agape pastries and tartines city guide eats european nolisoliph north Pasig restaurant sm megamall