Urbanidad – it’s Spanish for “urbanity,” which could mean any number of things. The word connotes civility and all its attributes, like polished courteousness, a suave disposition, and a cosmopolitan manner. Derived from the Latin “urbanus,” it connotes elegance and refinement, a view of the world as seen from ancient Rome in those days. Or it could refer to “New Urbanism,” a modern design movement which promotes environmentally friendly habitats in an otherwise citified milieu, like open spaces, walkable neighborhoods, a sophisticated locale bereft of any barbarisms.
And when we sauntered into Urbanidad Cafe one rainy Sunday, it felt like all of that. Located at the quiet corner of Scout Lazcano and Mother Ignacia in Quezon City, it was tucked away, almost unobtrusively, in a low-rise building amidst a serene residential setting.
Inside, the interiors were spartan but chic, one wall declaring the cafe’s mission statement, and the opposite wall decorated with vintage photos of Quezon City’s landmarks during kinder and less congested times.
We started off with Americanos which seemed a tad bland, but a quick follow-up of double Espressos pulled from South American Arabica blends more than made up for that initial dispassion. The “Classic Grilled Cheese” sandwich from a brief menu lived up to its masterly reputation. But it was the “Huevos en Purgatorio” savory, a slightly spicy baked egg dish with thinly sliced chorizos, tomatoes and melted cheese atop a hearty serving of beans in tomato sauce, that convinced us that a return trip to this oasis was of the highest imperative. And soon.
Unwinding while seated comfortably and sipping a steaming cup of espresso in that gracious setting, as cloudy skies and drizzly weather prevailed outside, it seemed the perfect definition of urbanity – we were relaxed, unhurried, composed and absolutely chill. We dined and drank in a leisurely three hours, taking time to read a few chapters of Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird,” scribble a few pages of food styling notes, and shoot the inevitable selfies. No wonder American author James Norman Hall was said to have remarked, “When urbanity decays, civilization suffers and decays with it.”