I selected a table outside to people-watch on Monseñor Rivero whilst I waited for my companion. I didn’t have to wait long to be presented with a menu, the standard “good morning, how are you?” (usted –polite form) and... wait for it... a smile. A real one.
The coffee was excellent. It was presented as a small jug of coffee and a small jug of hot milk with a cup and saucer to mix yourself. Freshly made and aromatic. Easily the best coffee I have been served in Bolivia and excellent value for this area of town.
The strawberry cheesecake was less of a success. Whilst in no way unpleasant what I received was not what I was expecting: a pastry (rather than biscuit) base, a layer of soft cheese and topped by a layer of strawberry jelly set with half strawberries. The whipped cream around the edge was very sweet and created too much of a contrast with the slightly underripe strawberries and the sharp “cheese” layer. It wasn’t horrible, just not how a cheesecake (or “cheescake” as they tend to spell it here) should be anywhere and though I finished it, I would not order it order again. Through the window I could see the huge display cabinets of the other baked goods.
They did not have salteñas that morning and so my companion settled for two chicken empanadas (a sort of pasty). The pieces of chicken looked of good quality and the slightly sweet dough contrasted well with the savoury filling. The spicy sauce she requested appeared in the form of a cheap brand of spicy ketchup (rather than a freshly-prepared salsa) and did not meet with her approval.
The orange juice was freshly squeezed and in a generous full glass. In some places you may receive a juice that is half full of ice but here you will receive the ice separately.
We moved inside so we could use my laptop and we salivated at the fridges of cakes. This branch was clean and glossy with powerful air-conditioning. A nice touch is the tables with coffee beans inside the glass top.
The final test was the bathrooms: modern design and fittings and very clean.
Our bill was 41Bs (around US$6) with each item costing roughly the same. Fridolin also offers a set lunch (25Bs for 3 courses on weekdays) which I have enjoyed at another branch in the city. I’ll definitely be back for more coffee but I will be giving the cheesecake a wide berth.
If you accessed this article from our April 2011 Bella News Ezine, return to reading the April Bella News Ezine here.