Adobo Café: An international café with Filipino roots

Get to know Kultura 2012’s Adobo Masters Cook-Off competitor, Adobo Café and its owner/chef Charles Alconcel

By Christine Cervania

Located in Mississauga, the Adobo Café and its owner/chef Charles Alconcel exhibits creativity, diversity and uniqueness in its menu and flavours. Adobo Café serves breakfast and lunch with an international flair--and always with class. Chef Charles creates different specials everyday, so that the café is always changing. However, there is one thing that will never change when you visit Café Adobo--you will always get fresh, wholesome food in a friendly atmosphere. Kapisanan was thrilled that the Adobo Café joined Kultura 2012's Adobo Masters Cook-Off, and discover more about the café.

What made you decide to establish the Adobo Café? It has been a dream of mine to open up my own restaurant since I was 18 years old. I knew in order to do that, I have to learn and hone my cooking techniques and world food knowledge. With over 20 years of experience in the industry and if I were to make it, I have to begin with something close my heart. What better way to start than with our national dish, "Adobo".

What makes the Adobo Café unique from other Filipino restaurants in the GTA? Adobo Cafe is unique as it's not just a Filipino-cuisine restaurant . We pride ourselves in being able to serve different ethnic food such as: Thai curries, Japanese teriyaki, Russian beef stroganoff, beef bourgignon, butter chicken, fish n' chips, goulash, burritos, stir-fries. From Indonesian rendang curry to Jamaican Jerk, you name it, we make it with some fine attitude--not just bones and skin attached. We give it some class as the guests are paying for it. In addition, everything is made fresh in house, from dressings, soups to sauces.

Basically, Adobo Cafe is able to please every cultural taste buds and introduce other ethnic foods to those who are adventurous enough to try anything. We even make a soup called "Cream of Caesar Salad" which many of our guests keep asking when we are going to make it again.

What is Adobo Café’s best selling dish? Why do you think it’s so popular? So many best sellers to list. Lets just say the combination of Pork and Chicken Adobo. It's popular, because it has layers of flavour(sweet, tangy, savoury, salty) and there is Umami going on in your taste buds.

As noted on your website, each province has its own twist on the adobo recipe. How would you describe Adobo Café’s unique twist on the national dish? Adobo Cafe is about changes, never stick to one thing. That being said, we try to stay close to tradition, but we also serve many different takes on adobo. Sometimes we make it saucy--like Manila style, dry--Ilocos style, or with coconut milk and chili--for a Bicol taste. It all depends on how I feel that day.  You know, make it happy and sexy.

You have a very diverse culinary experience where you have been able to travel worldwide. Which country would you say has influenced you the most? To be honest, all the countries I've visited has had an imprint on the way I cook. I love food and I love cooking so I make a point to never concentrate on only one kind of food. It is an art, so I try to make something out of everything I see and taste.

This year’s Kultura for the first time has an adobo cook-off, what is your "game plan" to win? Keep a bit of tradition, give it a bit of twist, then shout ENJOY!!!!

Visit Adobo Café at: 5770 Timberlea Blvd, Unit 107 Mississauga, Ontario L4W 4W7 Tel: 905-238-5733

Enter for your chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Adobo Café!

Use your Twitter account and tell us which delicious dish from Adobo Café's diverse menu you crave the most, to @kapisanan using the hashtag #adobocafe. Or leave your answer in the comments section below. Or drop us a line on our Facebook page and add the hashtag #adobocafe.

Good luck!

Note: Deadline to enter is Sunday, August 26 at 6 p.m. Winner will be chosen at random.