One of the exciting new destinations in Alabang is the new Madison Galeries mall hiding behind Alabang Hills, near Hillsborough. It’s a new mall, with barely anything in it right now, but that’s quickly changing. Last Sunday we had the pleasure of taste-testing the soft serve churros from Llucia, a new Churreria that’s blended with Schmidt’s: a hot dog diner cafe.
Schmidt’s x Llucia, as it’s called, isn’t actually open yet so we were only able to test out the soft serve churros. But here’s a look at the two menus which have been smashed up to make Schmidt’s x Llucia.
As for the place itself, it’s small and cozy, but the real estate at Madison Galeries is pretty limited, so it’s not so surprising. One thing you’ll notice is how well-lit the place is, with lots of bright lights streaming down, so you won’t have any excuse for bad lighting when it comes to taking food shots.
So getting back to the matter at hand. What is a soft serve churro? Well it’s basically a soft serve ice cream cup with two hulking churros splashed in. It’s available in eight flavors, but only five were available for testing at the time.
The spanish churros and spanish chocolate dip weren’t available at the time, so I can’t compare it to other churrerias like Sancho’s, Dulcinea, La Maripili or Don’s, and the soft-serve churro itself is a new kind of fusion dish that doesn’t really compare to anything else.
But I’ll say that I far prefer a normal churro dish with chocolate dip to something like this, as it’s pretty weird to be honest and doesn’t work too well. The essence of the churro is its crisp texture, and while the churros here are very, very good — they aren’t too sweet, they have just the right crisp exterior and a moist, chewy inside, and are huge! But when stuck in ice-cream like this, they just sog up and you lose that awesome texture. The top part which you can bite off is great, but the bottom part that’s drenched in the ice cream is just awful.
Maybe if they dipped the bottom part in some hard shell chocolate or something and put that into the ice cream, it would work and retain the crisp texture that is the hallmark of any churro. But as it is, the dish is a mess.
That’s not to say I didn’t have fun eating it! Even as it is, it still tastes good. The soft-serve ice cream is particularly good, it’s better than the ice cream you get at Jollibee by a mile, and better than McDonald’s and even Family Mart’s famous soft serve cones. It’s thicker, with more body, and doesn’t feel like so much bad vegetable oil.
The dish may work better with the churro and the ice cream served separately, though that loses the ability to just buy it and walk out holding a cup while you walk around the mall. Well, I’ll let the restaurant owner figure this one out.
We got to try five flavors. Of the lot, by far the best one was the Classic Churro soft serve.
Classic is basically a regular churro, all sprinkled up with cinnamon, and soft serve with more cinnamon and either chocolate or caramel syrup — I obviously got caramel. It’s just the right sweetness, just tastes plain great and the churro as I mentioned is very well fried. I would easily recommend this over all the other flavors.
The next flavor is Esperanza.
Esperanza on the other hand is the same churro ice cream base, but the churro is fried with toasted coconut instead, and the same stuff is sprinkled onto the ice cream along with dark chocolate shavings. I found this one to be a little lacking in flavor, it just wasn’t exciting enough. The coconut was great, but it needed more chocolate or some kind of chocolate syrup. The shavings really weren’t enough.
The craziest flavor was Abrille.
Abrille is just Kellog’s Fruit Loops cereal crushed and shredded into the churro and drizzled onto the ice cream. It has all the fun and color of Fruit Loops, and I grew up eating Fruit Loops and that made me smile a lot, but the actual resulting taste was also lacking. Fruit Loops are excessively sweet and this was effectively just colored candy sugar being drizzled onto the soft serve churros.
On the other hand, we have Marco, who on paper sounds great.
Marco is banana and Nutella. Now how is that for a winning combination? You can’t go wrong with Nutella, right? Wrong. For some reason, this dish was highly unsatisfying. There’s some Rice Krispies mingled in to give it some extra texture, but I think they scriped a little too much on the Nutella. It feels like they got a half teaspoon of Nutella, melted it in some water, and drizzled that over the Churro. There was hardly enough to go around and I could barely taste the chocolate or the hazelnut flavor that is supposed to go with a Nutella dish. Very, very disappointed.
Lastly, we have Julia.
Julia is caramel popcorn laced with caramel syrup. Delicous, I must say! The only other flavor I’d recommend other than Classic, but to be honest, I would take Classic over this any day. The popcorn quickly loses its crunchy texture and becomes another soggy mess, which is why you shouldn’t add caramel popcorn to ice cream. I saw the brand of caramel popcorn used, but I forgot the brand. It came in a clear plastic container with blue labeling. It was deliciously sweet, but I still maintain that popcorn (and churros for that matter) just doesn’t mix well with ice cream.
Regardless, the place does have promise. The owners are still in the process of figuring out how to serve the churros and ice cream properly, and apparently are still deciding on pricing, as they asked how much we would be willing to pay for each dish. You’ll see the pricing on the menu, but it looks like it may still be subject to change.
On the whole, I’d say the quality of the actual churros is above La Maripili’s and Dulcinea’s, but it loses this advantage as it gets soggy in the ice cream. Once I get to test out the classic churros dish with chocolate dip, I’ll better be able to gauge whether this or La Maripili’s is the best churreria in town. I’ll surely be back to try out the hot dogs and the other churros dishes in the future.
Schmidt’s x Llucia opens tomorrow, July 1.