(AUTHOR’S NOTE: As per Press Cafe’s Zomato page, they have now opened once more and are still operational. Timestamp: 4 July 2016, 09:56 am.)
It was 2009 when I first visited Press Cafe in Rockwell Power Plant Mall, way before TWG opened a branch in the place (I wrote about TWG previously here in The Monching’s Guide). I once attended a cosplay convention held at the mall, and part of the event was a “maid cafe” much like the ones in Japan. The curious me ordered a ticket to the cafe, and I was assigned a maid (who turned out to be a college batchmate) upon entry. Part of the ticket I paid for was a rice meal and it turned out to be Lemongrass Chicken (P220), one of Press Cafe’s offerings. I wrote about the dish in my old Multiply blog and fortunately recovered the review before they shut down the site. Here is an excerpt:
“It was like ordinary grilled chicken at first, with four fillets served on the plate, three pieces of thigh fillet and an entire breast fillet. I opted not to have the condiment served with the chicken. It has been a habit for me not to eat with condiments on my plate, save for soy sauce. The grill marks on it made the dish more appetizing, and a soy sauce marinade gave it the brown color. I smelled a few herbs and spices used on it, such as lemongrass. However, part of the breast fillet was overcooked. The rice was freshly cooked likewise, though presented too commonly. The vegetables accompanying it were crisp and vibrant, adding color to the dish.
The chicken was moist and tender – far from a dry and tough expectation. It was so tender that a spoon was enough to cut it. The rice had a good texture, neither too stiff nor too silky. As I ate it, a medley of flavors exploded into my mouth! The lemongrass really seeped into the chicken meat, fusing with the herb’s unique aroma. The vegetables provided a hint of acidity that whets the appetite. Pair it up with iced tea and you have a dish reminiscent of chicken inasal.”
At first, I thought they phased out the dish by the time I manage to return. Imagine my surprise when I found out that they still have it as part of their menu! I did not hesitate to order Lemongrass Chicken right away – I can now relive that moment from 2009 once more! Upon receiving the dish, all those memories from that night four years ago flashed back. The first thing I noticed was that the chicken was served with vinegar (which I opted not to have) and coleslaw (previously, this was pickled vegetables). The four breast fillets were also larger in size than before. However, this “throwback meal” had only one thing that remained the same as 2009 and that would be the taste. It still had that dominant lemongrass flavor and has lived up to its name even until now.
The texture was consistent, with the chicken breast cooked just right with no blood in it. I also tasted a slight sweetness in the chicken most likely brought about by the marinade, something I didn’t taste during the first time. The larger serving also meant that one cup of rice wouldn’t be enough, so I ordered another. Don’t blame me, I’m used to eating two cups of rice when there’s good food. I was done after finishing the second cup of rice I ordered. For my drink, I tried out their Hot Chocolate (P65) but I can’t really say anything about it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I found nothing special that makes it stand out. I ordered it for the sake of having a hot drink to aid digestion whenever I eat a heavy meal.
I’ve seen reviews about the place giving it a rather low score, but I’d give them average to be fair. If I could comment on one thing though, it would be the rather slow service; I called the attendant twice just to get my bill, and they weren’t able to follow up my change until I stood and approached the counter. I don’t know if it was just one of those days, so I’ll let it pass. Hopefully, other diners who plan to eat here will have a better experience.
Until my next blog entry, bon appetit. As a parting gift, here are some pictures of the Christmas displays at Rockwell Power Plant Mall.