Nobody’s perfect. Everyone knows that. But when you meet someone like Christina Santiago-Rivera, owner and pastry chef of Sweet Bella Cafe, you start to believe that near-perfection does exist. Running a restaurant is definitely in her blood, she being the daughter of Melo Santiago of the famed Melo’s Steakhouse. Looking at her, you wouldn’t guess that she loves desserts. How could someone so svelte own such a sweet shop? This slender, statuesque, elegant and gorgeous woman actually churns out some of the most mouthwatering specialty cakes in town.
I’ve been meaning to dine at Sweet Bella Cafe in Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City but never got around to swinging by the place. Fortunately, its second branch opened in Greenbelt 5 very recently and I didn’t waste any time checking it out. It’s the sort of patisserie that makes me just want to linger and drool over the pretty cakes on display. Sweet Bella is named after the chef’s daughter, Isabella, which also happens to be my little Bea’s name.
On our first visit, my Bea and I just had a Queso Ensaymada (P70) and a petite Trio cake (P95). The latter consists of layers of coffee mousse, dark chocolate mousse and white chocolate mousse, hence the name. It might as well be called bliss! And the size is just perfect for those who don’t want to over-indulge.
Six days later, Bea and I went back with our friend, Aimee, and opted to start our Sweet Bella rendezvous with its Quattro Funghi Pizza (P395). The pizza is very thin and crisp, topped with four kinds of mushrooms: shiitake, button, oyster and winsu. We absolutely love mushrooms so this pizza is a wonderful choice.
I chose to try another petite cake, this time it’s called Midnight (P130), a dreamy dark chocolate creation with a thin layer of hazelnut crunch. Sweet Bella‘s signature pink chocolate butterfly rests beside the miniature cake to complete the visual feast. It doesn’t only look pretty, it tastes as good as it looks, too.
Aimee was curious to try one of Sweet Bella‘s award-winning cakes and ordered the Pearl (P295/personal size). A uniquely fruity concoction of pink guava mousse filled with flambeed Guimaras mango, the Pearl was voted as one of the Best Desserts in 2011 by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It certainly is one of a kind.
Sweet Bella is a great place to be with my gal pals and fellow dessert lovers. The service is very warm and attentive; the cakes are delectable works of art. I’m placing Sweet Bella in the same class as my long-time favorite Bizu Patisserie. I’m only too happy that Greenbelt has added a new gem to its stellar restaurant scene.