I have seen a lot of establishments in Eastwood Mall open and close – from my initial stint in 2012 up until my return in 2016. A lot of restaurants and retail shops set up shop here, only to shutter after two or three years in business. Closures here can either be caused by the rather exorbitant rental rates or low foot traffic. The thing with Eastwood Mall is that it caters more to the upscale crowd, but not on the level of, say, Shangri-La or Robinsons Magnolia. Here are some establishments that I remember seeing, if memory serves me correctly:
- The Coffee Beanery / Cravings (once occupied by Rice Lane Asian Kitchen, to be replaced by Epicurious)
- Swensen’s Ice Cream (once occupied by Potts Point Café, to be replaced by Pound by Todd English)
- La Creperie (once occupied by Cheesecakes by Guy, to be replaced by LAVA Cheese Tarts)
- Komrad Mao’s Hunan Kitchen (now BLK 513 + 80 Queens)
- Vanilla Cupcake Bakery (now Toby’s Estate Coffee)
- California Pizza Kitchen (now Rice and Dough)
- Johnny Rockets (to be replaced by Denny’s)
- Cutting Edge (now The Halal Guys)
- Churreria La Lola (now defunct)
- Nautica (now Regatta)
Among these turnovers, CoCo Ichibanya joins the list of new restaurants that have opened in Eastwood Mall in recent years. I wrote about their flagship branch at Estancia Mall in Pasig last 2015, with the hope of new branches opening. Two years later, they have opened new outlets in locations such as Greenhills, Power Plant Mall, and BGC in Taguig.
It seems that Japanese curry developed a following here in Manila after CoCo Ichibanya’s opening; a lot of other Japanese restaurants followed suit and included Japanese-style curry dishes in their menus. Once more, credit goes to Hubert Young and the UCC Group for opening CoCo Ichibanya here in Libis—their second endeavor after UCC Park Café at Eastwood 1800.
CoCo Ichibanya is located at the third level of Eastwood Mall, and shares an entire wing with Green Pastures Café, Gloria Maris, and Mesa. Its location might look isolated for some, but a stairway from the outside area allows direct access to the restaurant upon entering the mall. Its warm ambience of yellow and brown contrasts with the gray and white color that dominates Eastwood Mall. Correct me if I’m wrong with this, however: this location is larger than the one in Estancia, and can seat more people.
Impeccable service continues to be CoCo Ichibanya’s trademark. The staff is attentive and accurate, still taking orders on a tablet and refilling service water whenever possible. There was a bit of a mishap, involving a forgotten order of ice cream that appeared in the bill, but this was quickly rectified by the staff. Such a speedy action earned them plus points from me on their feedback form.
Curry rice dishes in the Eastwood Mall branch are the same with their other branches: adjustable amount of rice and spice levels. However, they have started to offer lunch specials to attract more diners from the nearby offices – one of which I tried. Also noteworthy is their iced coffee, which makes use of UCC brand coffee from their sister establishment.
Delicious and filling curry specialties that offer the best value for money; with this, I doubt CoCo Ichibanya’s Eastwood Mall branch will go the way of the dodo. Stop by CoCo Ichibanya’s Facebook page and official website to know more about them.
Until the next review, bon appetit.
Curry House CoCo Ichibanya
3/F Eastwood Mall,
Eastwood City, Bagumbayan,
Libis, Quezon City 1110