I feel a sense of kinship with Cabel, a restaurant tucked in one of San Miguel’s busier streets in the Philippine capital. Their menu, which consists of savoury Filipino dishes and beautiful, ultra satisfying desserts, reminds me of the love language that some of us have already relegated to the sidelines a long time ago. But not Cabel and definitely not me.
Cabel understands this love language well and how good food can bring people together and how it can nourish the soul. Going to Cabel is like going home to family for the holidays – a time when the best cooks of the household bustle about the kitchen to prepare a feast. From their Tita-approved crunchy Lumpiang Shanghai to their spicy Mindanaoan dishes – Cabel does not disappoint. And I bet they never will because the heart of the business is the desire to provide a mouthwatering north to south experience to its patrons.
But what do I know about food?
With winemakers, cooking comes with the territory. My family has fussed over food and wine in equal proportions since the beginning of our history. Many of my fondest childhood memories revolve around food and how it is the love language for a family that consists mostly of stoic individuals. Stiff upper lip. Hard as nails. Not the hugging type unless the recipient of this momentary affection is a creature of the canine persuasion. My parents and grandparents and those before them never found it romantic for two cooks to be in one kitchen unless it is the holidays.
In my mind, Cabel Restaurant is like our household during the Christmas season. I can imagine how busy their kitchen is and how passionate their chefs are in making their masterpieces. But it is not just a bustling kitchen that makes the place so familiar. For Cabel, putting heritage at the forefront is de rigueur. Basi del Diablo is the same and the brand is named as such exactly because of heritage.
When my grandpa Benito Salucop started selling basi at 2 centavos a cup in our little store in Batac, many of the old clay jars he inherited from his father kept going missing. All of those jars had basi in them. The streets of Batac back then were not as well-lit as they are now and people were superstitious. My dear Lolo, smart man that he was, started a rumour to keep thieves at bay. He told his patrons that he saw a demon in our backyard, right where he kept his wine. The rumour spread and from then on, no one stole his basi ever again. This is why despite the protests of a few well-meaning friends, I named the brand Basi del Diablo in honour of that part of our history.
It is now 2022 and the Cabels’ heirloom recipes finally met our heirloom wines and that is all thanks to our dear manang Bam. For someone who comes from an unexcitable stock, I am thrilled about this pairing and I hope that this relationship will flourish in the years to come.
Cabel is located at 1153 JP Laurel cor. Aguado Street, San Miguel Manila.
Contact | 0915 214 8565