Those who read my blog regularly might have seen me mention a few times how I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth. It’s the ultimate irony for one who likes to bake, it seems. But being here in Mrs. Graham’s Macaron Cafe, it was impossible not to get sucked into the world of desserts. From the cute store to the display of colourful macarons and pastries, the temptation was too great to ignore!
In case you didn’t know, Mrs. Graham is indeed the wife of one of the Graham brothers from my previous post— Chris to be specific. Mrs. Graham’s was actually built before Mr. Graham’s Sandwich Shop, but I think it’s a really great move to have two stores standing side by side that offer two very different things that somehow fit together. (The his and hers concept is too adorable!)
After satisfying your meal-time hunger with something savoury at the sandwich shop, you can just hop on next door for a sweet ending! Or you can actually order here and then have the sweets brought to Mr. Graham’s. You win either way. 😉
If you really want to find something the Mr. & Mrs. Graham shops have in common, it’s that they both serve food that have some sort of filling between two shells. Also, their interiors both have a cozy and inviting ambiance that’s conducive for hanging out to chat or play board games. I’m already planning a get-together with my best friends in either Mr. or Mrs. Graham’s. 😀
Mrs. Graham’s is more whimsical and artsy in feel– the sort of place that can make your creative juices come alive. (Probably why I saw lots of people doing art.) Being somewhat of an artist myself I can imagine coming here with my sketchbook and pens, then accompanied by macarons and coffee, I’d sit here and draw the afternoon away.
Every nook and cranny is positively Instagram-worthy. Those fans made to look like macarons hanging above were actually handmade by Mrs. Anna Graham herself. Even looking up will give you something to write home about!
But of course, you’re here for the macarons, just like I was when I paid a visit. I’ve heard about Mrs. Graham’s macarons before. A lot of people have raved about them as being one of the best in Manila, and I’ve mostly been intrigued by a certain Cheetos Macaron of theirs. (Also by the Champorado one but it doesn’t seem to be available at the moment.) Frankly, I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to finally come here.
Mrs. Graham’s actually sells some carefully curated baked goods by bakers outside the shop, but the main focus for today was the macarons. Just a glance at the menu tells me that this is my kind of place. As much as I enjoy eating my favourite foods and flavours, I have this bigger desire to try new things. Some people might look at the menu and go, ‘Salted eggs in a macaron? That’s crazy!’ That’s never going to be me.
I really appreciate imaginativeness when it comes to food so I was very very excited. But apparently my brother Jason was more excited than I was, because he just started picking flavours before I could stop staring at the macaron glass display. So many choices! Choosing is always the hard part for me, but my brother likes to pick everything haha!
Just like the menu, the macarons in the display are separated into BASIC, SPECIAL, and PREMIUM MACARONS. All of them looked perfect of course, but it’s really the Special and Premium Macarons that people rave more about so those were our focus.
The Premium Macarons really made me stop and stare. I already knew about the Cheetos, but Four Cheese Macarons?! What is this sorcery?! 😀
I also got to try some of the other in-house desserts by Mrs. Graham. It’s a good thing that Jason came with me to eat all these sweets, because I’d be in a sugar coma until next week if I had everything myself haha!
Jason and I spent a lot of time trying to capture the prettiness of all the desserts, but just the same we sat down to slowly savour each and every bite. Let me tell you, it made for an unforgettable afternoon!
Cereal Cheesecake (Php 155 per slice) 🌟
Cereal as a flavour is becoming a trend now thanks to Milk Bar in New York, and here at Mrs. Graham’s they used it as a sweet crunchy topping and crust to a tangy cheesecake. Wow. As far as first impressions go, this cake was a great start to our dessert journey.
Actually, thanks to the sprinkles this is kind of like a hybrid cereal-funfetti-cheesecake type of dessert. The cheesecake base is not too sweet or overwhelming, but it has more of a light sour tang to it that I really like. (Maybe it’s that cream cheese frosting on top?) It’s very creamy too and it doesn’t leave that horrible sticky sensation in the throat, probably because the cheesecake isn’t so thick.
The soft cheesecake is the exact opposite of the crunchy cereal topping, giving a good play on texture with every bite. I also love munching on that cereal crust. It lends the sweetness this dessert needs to be a balanced affair. I was so sad when we finished this up!
Matcha Crepe Cake (Php 120 per slice)
This new menu item has only been out for a week, and it features layers of matcha crepe with Matcha Swiss Buttercream in between to form this gorgeously symmetrical-looking cake.
It looks perfect, doesn’t it? But it is a beast to slice down! I was expecting something along the lines of a soft and airy crepe cake ala-Paper Moon, but this was quite hard. The top layer also tends to become dry when left in room temperature for too long, and because the cake is hard to slice the Matcha Swiss Buttercream Filling doesn’t seem to hold the layers together as well as it should.
Apart from that, I really found myself enjoying the flavour of this. My problem with matcha desserts is often the lack of actual matcha flavour, but that’s not an issue here. They even dust the top generously with matcha powder.
The good news is, the Grahams regularly take feedback from customers on how to improve their products. Just this morning I was told that they’ve modified this crepe cake according to the comments they’ve gathered, so now I can’t wait to go back and try it!
Bailey’s Macarons (Php 55)
This was the basic macaron that Jason picked. Unfortunately, I really could not taste the Bailey’s here. A shame, since I do like the taste of Irish cream in desserts. This was also the sweetest among the macarons we tried so perhaps the liquor was simply overpowered.
I think it’s got the most attractive colour in the display case, but I wish we picked the Salted Caramel one instead. On a positive note, I appreciate that there’s a good shell to filling ratio for the macarons we tried.
Four Cheese Macarons (Php 70) 🌟
This was one of my favourites. It’s really incredible to see how the four cheese flavour was translated to a macaron so perfectly. That added touch of torching the parmesan cheese and queso de bola triangle on top of the shell before serving is clever, though they need to be careful not to burn the cheese.
It takes a certain diner to appreciate this, because it has the distinct taste of blue cheese and I know not everybody likes it. It’s subdued by some cream cheese, if I’m not mistaken. The filling is quite generous, and I really like the mixture of savoury flavours here. So unexpected!
Bittersweet Macarons (Php 70)
By appearances alone, this macaron makes you expect the ultimate deep dark chocolate experience, and in that aspect it falls a little short. (It could also be because I ate this after the very flavourful Four Cheese Macaron.) I really like bittersweet chocolate, so maybe my tastebuds were fighting against the sweetness of the shells and trying to find a darker chocolate flavour.
I did notice that this was one of the macarons that seemed to have an unbalanced shell to filling ratio, but I’m not sure adding more filling would help. The chocolate taste simply wasn’t earthy enough to hit the expectations the name of the macaron gives off. It’s still a good chocolate macaron though.
Ensaymada Macaron (Php 70) 🌟
Another favourite! Mrs. Graham’s Macaron Cafe seems to be hitting the mark each time they add cheese to their macarons. It acts as the great balancer that every sweet macaron needs! In the case of these macarons though, they managed to magically capture the essence of an ensaymada into a macaron. I am so impressed! There’s that slight buttery sensation and sweet cheesiness typical to ensaymada. Really good.
It was so good I forgot to take a photo of the inside. On my next visit, surely! 🙂
Churro Macarons (Php 70)
I’m not so sure it tastes so much like churro as it does simply cinnamon, but somehow I enjoyed this a lot. Classic churros always comes with chocolate– and I was looking for it to shine through in the macaron along with the cinnamon– but I found out later on that this was supposed to come with a chocolate dip, which we did not get.
Since that put a damper on things, this is on my Retry List.
Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Macarons (Php 70) 🌟
I’m a sucker for the strawberry-chocolate combo so this was something that appealed to me greatly. Thankfully this did not disappoint. From the fragrant strawberry shell to the marshmallow-like filling and the chocolate coating outside, this was like a little piece of my childhood right here.
Some people might argue that the strawberry flavour tastes a little artificial, but it reminds me of a pleasant strawberry candy. I like it and I would get it again.
Bibingka and Salted Egg Macarons (Php 70) 🌟
Another clever Filipino-inspired macaron. The highlight of this macaron to me was the salted egg, and unfortunately they haven’t found a way to make it consistent alongside the buttercream filling. Some bites you will get a hit of salted egg which cuts through nicely against the sweet shell, some bites you just get a sweet macaron.
I’m not sure if it’s just the case of the macaron we got, but if you look at it there seems to be a generous amount of salted egg inside. I think I’ll buy this again and see if I get a better one, but this is definitely worth a try.
Reese’s Macaronut (Php 70) 🌟
This flavour actually has a unique anatomy: it’s got a mini donut top and a macaron cookie bottom. Every bite was like sinking your teeth into a Reese Peanut Butter Cup so if you like those you will love this! The taste is not just because of the Reese bits sprinkled sparingly atop the macaronut, but the components of the macaron itself work together to replicate the iconic peanut butter-chocolate taste.
Again, we were enjoying this so much it was all gone before I realized I didn’t take a photo of what it looks like once bitten into! 🙁
Cheetos Macaron (Php 70) 🌟
We saved the best for last, obviously. Well I actually did not know I would name it the best, but we just really saved it for last because it was what we were most excited for. 😀 One bite was enough to determine that it was everything I hoped it would be and more! Cheese-flavoured shells cradle a good amount of cream cheese filling; but the top shell was also dipped in melted white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed cheetos for the ultimate sweet-salty experience!
They also have a Jalapeno Cheetos version of this, and I’m looking forward to getting that one on my next visit. Delicious! Who knew crushed cheetos would work so amazingly well with sweet macaron shells? Don’t miss this!
At this point, I wanted to make a special mention about the prices of macarons and why they are the way they are– more expensive than your average cookie. Since I also make macarons at home occasionally, I know what ingredients go in to make these babies, and the most expensive of the lot is the almond flour. Good almond flour costs good money.
There’s also the fact that macarons are a finicky bunch to make. A lot of factors go into being able to make these perfectly: from precise measurements of ingredients, to the perfectly stiff egg whites, down to how you fold in the almond flour. Then the oven temperature has to be just right or the shells will crack or not rise. It’s a hard pastry to perfect!
That said, I actually think the macarons at Mrs. Graham’s Macaron Cafe are priced very fairly, considering the flavours and the quality. There’s an outstanding inventiveness to the offerings here that really sets it apart from the rest of Manila macaron-dom! My advice is to go for the unique flavours instead of the classic ones so that you’ll get to maximize your experience. As always, my recommendations have the stars on them. 🙂
Also, since ‘Pokemon Go‘ is all the rage at the moment, guess what Mrs. Graham’s Macaron Cafe has for you?
ALMOST too cute to eat. But come on, how can you not eat a Salted Caramel Macaron?! (The only reason I didn’t was because I’d already eaten too much haha!) They actually launched two new characters just the other day– bulbasaur and jigglypuff. I haven’t seen them in person yet but judging from the pictures I saw they look so good!
In fact, I should probably run to the store over the long weekend. And you should too, because you can actually get a FREE MACARON when you purchase ANYTHING from the shop! Whether it’s milkshake or just coffee or a Pokemon macaron… Anything! Click this link for more info. (They do this sort of thing regularly, which is pretty cool.) 🙂
Mrs. Graham’s Macaron Cafe
Full disclosure: I was invited to dine at Mrs. Graham’s Macaron Cafe but opinions are 100% mine alone. I need more Cheetos Macarons.
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