Quibranza: Thank you, Merci

Sunday afternoons were make or break for me when I was a kid. I woke up, heard mass with the family, then had lunch. What next?

When the sun began to set, it felt like the night ushered in the impending doom the following school day had prepared. It would be another five days of pretending I was any good at Math. Turning over homework to an infamous terror teacher in high school felt like playing hopscotch on land mines while wearing Crocs.

I felt refreshed when Sundays were sort of momentous. A basketball game. A movie. A night out. Whatever it was, at least I had ended the week strong the same way I would kickstart Mondays with an ice cold bath at five in the morning. I have always been a sucker for bookends.

Good God, those days have passed. Yet somehow, after all those years, I would still think of Sunday afternoons as precious time. Rarely do I mix work with play on a Sunday.

This brings me to the gist of this little story, a cafe that feels like Sunday every day.

I feel like this here is one of Banilad’s best-kept secrets. Merci is this quaint patisserie that delivers way more than the hype it is able to generate online (or offline). And I think that’s a sweet spot right there; a cafe on cruise control fueled by consistency.

But consistency would not be enough to attract return customers from around the neighborhood, would it? Of course, Merci’s offerings are as refreshing as its all-white interiors. The food items are stellar. Its variety of pastries are prepared fresh daily, with careful attention to detail, and admirable restraint. You won’t find choco overload concoctions or gigantic desserts plainly made for IG over here.

Pleasantly, the tableware is a mix and match of quality china. It’s a breath of fresh air in the midst of capitalism where branding is considered everything; like Cobain in the midst of boybands or Eilish among DJs. Although, I must admit, I say this while eating cake.

If you find yourself at Merci, order and enjoy the macarons with tea. Also get the strawberry shortcake. For your third pick, go crazy and pick anything that tickles your fancy. The display fridge shows a few surprise creations after every week or two.

The pastry chef/owner’s certification from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, that hangs on the wall is just a bonus for the eagle-eyed. Actions speak louder than words. Spending a couple of hours at Merci is tapping into that glorious, Sunday energy.

Merci Dessert Cafe is located at Streetscape on Paseo Saturnino, Banilad, Cebu City.