The phrase “made in Japan” connotes utmost quality—whether it’s consumer goods or gadgets. Not surprising then, that UCC (Ueshima Coffee Company) is synonymous with coffee of superior quality and taste. The coffee company is very much known for its Sumiyaki (charcoal roast), Blue Mountain (Jamaica) and Kona (Hawaii) coffee blends, and has pioneered canned coffee in its home country. Both my dad and I acknowledge that UCC brand coffee is delicious; forget Starbucks and its overly commercial coffee!
You might have noticed that this is my second time to feature UCC Coffee here in the blog. I previously wrote about their kori kohi – frozen coffee cubes served with hot milk and sugar syrup – in a triptych some time ago. Businessman Hubert Young of CoCo Ichibanya fame was responsible for bringing the brand here, years before he made the Japanese curry chain’s Philippine entry possible. Cafes under the UCC aegis include Cafe Terrace, Park Cafe, and Cafe Vienna, while the higher-end establishments such as Mentore, Eight by UCC, and Clockwork have a more distinct menu compared to the former.
I usually frequent the UCC Clockwork at Estancia Mall in Pasig and, with its recent opening, the one at Ayala Malls The 30th a few meters away. However, both are located far from where I live. Good thing a new UCC Clockwork branch opened at Vertis North—right beside Trinoma! Despite the fact that this is a franchised branch (or so the servers say), I’m pleasantly surprised that it reflected the consistent quality UCC Coffee is known for. The interiors of UCC Clockwork take inspiration from structures re-purposed into third-wave coffee shops in other countries: gray unfinished walls, bare ceilings with visible plumbing, and wood floors. This is in stark contrast to the main UCC cafes that tend to be more furnished and upscale.
I’ll stop at this point to present you some of their specialties. No pictures of the interiors, as I wanted to be discreet and I had no idea if they permitted photography. Click on each picture to see more information and my opinion on each dish.
Kori Kohi (P230): UCC’s signature drink consisting of frozen Sumiyaki coffee cubes, served with warm milk and sugar syrup. This is UCC’s unique take on iced coffee.
Vietnam Coffee / Ca Phe Sua Da (P180 / iced): UCC coffee served Vietnamese-style, i.e. dripped into a cup with condensed milk at the bottom.
Hong Kong Coffee / Yuan Yang (P190 / iced): UCC coffee mixed with Hong Kong-style milk tea. Other than the signature UCC coffee, I don’t see anything noteworthy about this one.
Creamy Nitro Draft Cold Brew Coffee (P200): UCC’s take on the cold brew coffee. True to its description, it has a full body and packs quite a punch. This might not appeal to you, however, if you prefer cold brew slightly sweet.
Quinoa, Grilled Chicken, and Mandarin Orange Salad (P398): Sauteed chicken breast pieces and quinoa with mandarin orange slices served on top of romaine lettuce, with an orange vinaigrette dressing.
This was the first dish I tried at UCC Clockwork when I first visited, so I made it a point to order it on the next visit.
The chicken and quinoa fill you up while the lettuce, orange, and vinaigrette provide a refreshing taste. My only gripe is that they reduced the portion of quinoa and chicken.
Crabby Fatty Omurice (P398): Crab meat fried rice encased in an omelette, served Japanese style with cream and crab fat based cause and topped with shrimp roe, fish roe, and parsley.
The toppings up close.
This rich omurice (omelette rice) dish is one of UCC Clockwork’s best selling items, and for good reason. They didn’t scrimp on the crab meat in the dish, plus the rice content was substantial.
From the side. You can see the substantial amount of rice inside the omelette by just looking at the mound.
This is best eaten by splitting the omelette mound open, pouring in the crab sauce, and indulging in the rich taste.
Cajun Prawns with Aligue Rice (P478): Peeled prawns marinated in Cajun spice mix and sauteed in garlic, served with aligue (crab fat) fried rice and a mango-tomato salsa.
This indulgent dish combines gambas al ajillo with delicious crab fat rice. I just wish they used fresher seafood; the prawns were slightly tough. Other than that, this is one dish I definitely recommend.
Garlic Rice (P68): A basic breakfast staple; rice stir-fried with garlic. I must say that this one is rather overpriced, as I could get this at half the price in other establishments.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich (P348): A runaway favorite. Grilled mozzarella cheese sandwich, accompanied by a side salad of lettuce and cherry tomatoes with sesame dressing.
If you want to include tomato soup, an extra charge of P100 is included. I highly suggest doing so, as the taste reminds me of pizza.
Matcha Nippon Cheesecake (P210): Japanese-style cheesecake with matcha (green tea) swirl.
The cheesecake is slightly sweet, with the matcha providing a bitterness that balances the taste. This works as a light cake to cap off a meal with its airy texture.
I hope I whetted your appetite and convinced you to visit this UCC cafe. Until the next post, bon appetit.
L1-054, Ayala Malls Vertis North
Brgy. Bagong Pag-Asa
Quezon City 1005