On this week’s one-of-a-kind finds, we visited a restaurant that has been popular for their healthy yet affordable dishes! For a change, we headed to Bulacan – just a few hours away from Manila, to check out why Café Nenzo and their specialty veggie dishes have been the talk of the town and the media. They’ve been featured in television shows like ABS-CBN’s Swak na Swak and has even been accredited by the Department of Tourism!
Although they are offering all types of food – from all-meat to all-veggie, what specifically caught our attention was their ability to replicate the taste of Pinoy-favorite meals like Dinuguan, Tocino, Sisig, and even Daing na Bangus, while using vegetables. They have a full-course menu specially made for vegetarians and those who are just trying to pick healthier options.
The café looks like a simple restaurant from the outside. It’s situated at the ground floor of a mall, so it can get really crowded at certain times of the day. Going inside, they have a private area with rustic interiors for those who want to eat and talk in peace, and areas meant for big gatherings and/or parties. There’s also one small section near the windows that is fit for afternoon catch-ups over cakes and coffee. Its Mediterranean-like interiors are Instagram-worthy if you ask me! The place just gives off a homey vibe on all four corners and it’s made even more special by the quality of food.
BUDGET AND FOOD
For around P500 – P1000 for two, you can already get a satisfying meal. We got a mix of dishes from the regular menu and vegetarian menu, but we’ll focus more on the meatless wonders since they’re just super amazing!
Veggie Dinuguan (P185)
A vegan option with no eggs and dairy, this “dinuguan” doesn’t contain pork blood nor meat. The name “dinuguan” was only used since the taste was patterned after this Pinoy-favorite dish. To make a meat-like texture and taste, they used black beans, soya, wheat protein, and mushrooms. It comes with a serving of steamed rice, and believe me, you’ll be needing a lot of rice with this because it’s super yummy! This is my personal favorite.
Veggie Daing na Bangus (P195)
This new addition to Café Nenzo’s menu is not a fish, but a veggie-marinated “bangus” with spiced vinegar. It appears like a regular Daing na Bangus, but the texture is a bit softer because of the vegetables used. What I like about this is how they were able to replicate “fish skin” out of a healthier option.
Veggie Sisig Sizzler (P195)
One of Café Nenzo’s best-sellers! Compared with usual “vegetable sisig” dishes with huge tofu bits on a sizzling plate, Café Nenzo’s Veggie Sisig Sizzler is a clear winner. Their sisig is made from wheat protein, tofu and mushrooms, topped with egg (which can be removed if you’re a vegetarian), and served with steamed rice. The taste and presentation is very much like an ordinary pork sisig, but it’s a healthier alternative.
Veggie Tocino (P185)
Nope, those chunks are not real pork! Believe it or not, this veggie tocino is made from wheat protein in the form of red tocino-like chunks. To complete the meal, it’s served with egg, steamed rice, and pickled vegetables. I’d love to have this for breakfast, TBH.
Baby Back Ribs with Smokey Barbecue Sauce (P325 – 1,100)
Although it’s not a veggie dish, Café Nenzo’s Baby Back Ribs have a clear edge when it comes to its taste. It comes really close to popular rib shacks in the Metro but its half rack is much cheaper than the hyped-up ones. Even the sauce tastes like those offered by foreign resto chains! Price depends on the size and number of sides that you’ll order.
Trio Cheese Pizza (P200 / P375)
Another best-seller on the menu, this oven-baked thin-crust pizza is topped with creamy white sauce, mozzarella, cheddar and cream cheese. Every serving comes with curly lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, and diced tomatoes, which you can roll inside the pizza. A must-try!
Adobong Meycauayan (P385)
Good for 2-3 persons, the Adobong Meycauayan is a unique twist to the Pinoy Adobo. Instead of the usual pork-and-soy sauce recipe, Adobong Meycauayan uses ingredients that are popular in that part of Bulacan. The pork is served crispy in a coconut adobo sauce with bamboo shoots or labong, which is known in Meycauayan. It’s a new addition to the menu and another must-try for adventurous foodies.
Classic Buffalo Wings with Sour Cream Dip (P165/ P230)
At an affordable price, these buffalo wings are already good for sharing. They’re garlic and parmesan flavored wings with house blended aioli to make it even tastier! A great match with the Trio Cheese Pizza.
Café Nenzo is owned by Chef Chino Abacan, a millennial entrepreneur who started the business at the age of 21 with the help of his parents, Ann and Lorenzo Abacan. Manila Millennial was lucky enough to meet Ms. Ann, who assisted us throughout our stay and explained how the dishes came to be. Unlike other restaurants that focus on one type of cooking, the Abacan family wants to ensure that anyone – regardless of their diet, can come together and share a meal at Café Nenzo. As a Nutritionist, Ms. Ann also ensures that each dish is packed with essential nutrition that customers need.
They also have special desserts that you can only find in Bulacan. Have you heard of a Turon Cheesecake and a diabetic-friendly Low Sugar Carrot Cake? Only at Café Nenzo! We’ll share the details about this on a separate post ‘cos all these throwback photos are just making us hungry!
For a restaurant that is around 1.5 – 2 hours away from Manila, we still give Café Nenzo a solid 10/10! Budget-wise, their veggie meals are superb on our sulit meter. Getting healthy veggie meals in Manila would normally cost you over P250 but you can already get full meals for less than P200 here. We also agree with Cafe Nenzo’s aim to promote healthy living (without spending a fortune) amongst Filipinos!
We’ll surely come back again soon to try more of the dishes in their menu. Our stomachs can only take in the viands mentioned above, but we’ll let you know if we have new recommendations. For now, we highly recommend the Veggie Dinuguan and Veggie Sisig Sizzler under the Vegetarian Menu and the Adobong Meycauayan under the For Sharing Menu.
Café Nenzo is located at the ground floor of Esperanza Mall at McArthur Highway, Meycauayan, Bulacan. They’re open from Monday to Thursday, 11AM-10PM and Friday to Sunday, 10AM-10PM.
For more updates about our interesting finds within and outside the Metro, don’t forget to follow Manila Millennial on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!Let us know if you want us to check out a restaurant for you. We’d be happy to add that to our must-visit list! 😉