Tuesday, November 15, 2016

First Bite: Lava Cheese Tarts

The cheese tart craze has finally hit Manila with a bunch of bakeshops and new brands offering these delightful treats to the local market. Though most of the prominent players are international brands, we have a handful of home bakers who offer such at a more pocket friendly price. But for foodies who are impatient and want their goodies ASAP, pre-ordering and waiting for days before those cheese tarts arrive are just too much. For months, most of us were stuck with these international brands until a local player decided to join the craze.

Hello, Lava Cheese Tarts
I was so excited to try Lava’s version of cheese tarts especially after finding out that they use local cheeses for its tarts. I even went to Fork Spoon Manila’s Eatscape to Aura event after finding out that they were part of the food crawl. (And it happens to be on the day of my flight to the land of kimchi and free facial masks!) Unfortunately, they experienced some delays and had to move their opening date the week after but invited those who participated during the food crawl to attend its media launch on the 3rd of November at 1 p.m.. And I was still not around that time. *cries* But with yearning tummy comes intense desire and dedication. 
I visited Lava the following day while still lightheaded from the lack of sleep and lined up some Cheese Tarts (PHP80/tart | PHP240/box of 3 | PHP450/box of 6). The line was manageable when I dropped by around 12:20 pm. 
While waiting for my turn, I noticed that no one was taking the orders of the ones in front of the queue. And after a couple of minutes, the line grew longer and a lady in her late 40s or early 50s called the attention of one of the staff and told him to have someone take our orders so that we’re not wasting our time while the restaurant manager was busy talking to the cashier who seemed dumbfounded. 
And the staff the assertive lady talked to just… ignored her suggestion. (Or maybe he simply didn’t know what to do? Let’s give that poor guy the benefit of the doubt.) 
Apparently, there was a long list of reservations and that the cheese tarts we saw that were pulled out of the oven were already “taken” and we had to wait for THREE hours for our turn. Yes, 3 hours! 

Quite annoyed that I wasted 20 minutes of my lunch break for this, I asked the restaurant manager if we could also place our reservation and pay in advance so that we’ll just pick up our order after. She said that they’ll just jot down our names and orders but we had to pay after. She assured me though that I do not have to line up when I return for my cheese tarts.
Disappointed that I walked all the way to SM Aura for nothing, I was ready to give the place a below average rating. That was until I got a taste of my colleague’s cheese tart. 
I was surprised that it actually taste good. I have read a bunch of poor reviews about Lava’s cheese tarts saying that the cheese taste was very weak. But the one I tasted was even better than the cheese tart place that opened two months ago. I was excited again!

I rushed to SM Aura as soon as the clock hit 6 p.m. and got my box of cheese tarts hassle-free. (Well, there was no line when I went too.)
I shared the tarts with R after dinner so the tarts were sitting for over two hours when we ate it hence the filling sort of settled already and did not ooze out. I heard though that the firmer consistency was better than its liquid counterpart. 

I liked that Lava’s cheese tarts have the delightful sharp taste of cheese. It was evident but not too overwhelming. It was also balanced by the crunchy tart which reminded me of lengua de gato, only thicker. The tarts also went well with milk and tea, making it an awesome afternoon treat!  
Overall, I enjoyed my cheese tarts and I would love to go back for more. I just hope that they also prioritise those who line up and not tell us to just go back because of their backlog. 

Lava Cheese Tarts is located at Lower Ground, SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. 

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