The cold cuts options of Café Bob’s Deli Shop sound like a tongue twister: prosciutto, lyoner, capicola (and the turkey ham, exception to the rule that one). And the cheeses sound downright intimidating, like a series of exotic cuss words from an Eastern European dictionary (Gruyere, provolone piccante, brie, raclette, Roquefort).
The cost is also intimidating (from a low of P80 per 100 grams, to a high of P200-plus per 100 grams), but a lot more reasonable than the ready-to-order cheese platters in hotels and high end restaurants.
Husband and I are not charcuterie virgins, but neither are we connoiseurs. We cannot tell the difference between hard and soft cheeses (except maybe the texture), nor do we know the fine nuancing in flavors in the aging process, or what forms the rind in certain soft cheeses.
Our charcuterie love affair was sparked by Tony Bourdain waxing sentimental about his absolute luuurrvvv for fine French cheeses with Barry White caterwauling in the background porn-film style.
Café Bob’s Deli Shop is a find, operating for years now and frequented by patrons opting for a more upscale fare than cakes, pizza, pasta, and the ubiquitous frappe.
What we ordered (there were four of us) was a bit of everything: lyoner, prosciutto, capicola, turkey ham for the cold cuts. Then cheeses: manchego, raclet, brie, Gruyere, provolone piccante, double cream, and blue.
The provolone piccante (not to be confused with the mild provolone) is really sharp, with an almost bitter aftertaste. The raclette (a recommendation of a German friend) has a really funky smell (I was told this is true with Alpine cheeses). The manchego is for those with affinity to crumbly cheese (not my favorite), while their Gruyere is a bit on the nutty, creamy side. I was partial to brie, that soft cheese now made available in various brands and in the cheese section of most supermarkets. I let it melt in my mouth or pair it with prosciutto. The brine in the prosciutto complements the general mildness of brie.
I cannot, however, bring myself to take another nibble at the Roquefort, which is really really strong with a smell reminiscent of old socks (or worse). Hey, I didn’t say I was cosmopolitan, and I’m not going to apologize for my pedestrian taste. My husband, though, could not get enough of the blue cheese and was trying to “contaminate” other cheeses with it.
I love the cold cuts though. The prosciutto’s brininess is not overpowering, and is lovely when paired with the aforementioned brie, or with the lyoner which is melty when the prosciutto is stringy. The revelation – for me, at least – is the coppa (or the capicola). It is oh-so-lightly spiced, like a less strong pepperoni, and has a smell like pressed rose petals. Lovely.
All in all, it was money well-spent. Should we go back? Definitely. And this time perhaps pair the offerings with a nice bottle of Chianti.
Five of five stars.