I have been able to leave the house ever since Metro Manila was placed under the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) following a tighter fortnight lockdown in August. I also got a new job after a short tour of duty in Ortigas – and now I’m back in Eastwood! However, my current work is from Tuesday to Saturday and we’re still on a work from home setup, so I only get to leave on Sundays and Mondays.
Most establishments open rather late in the new normal compared to before, with only a few catering to early birds. Fortunately, two such places that open early exist in Eastwood City, allowing me to work while having breakfast. UCC Park Café is one of them.
Seating for quick diners…
…and for remote workers.
A spot good for lone wolves.
From where I’m seated.
UCC Coffee for sale.
Cakes on display.
I first wrote about UCC Park Café back in 2016 for a triptych, but I distinctly remember seeing it as early as 2012 when I first had a stint in the business process outsourcing enclave. The café served good food and had power outlets for remote workers, but the menu items were on the more expensive side. However, I would say the prices are justified given that UCC cafes are known for their syphon-brewed coffee and Western-inspired Japanese dishes. After all, the company’s head Hubert Young brought a number of notable Japanese food franchises to Manila – such as CoCo Ichibanya, Tendon Kohaku, Mitsuyado Sei-Men, and MOS Burger.
KORI KOHI: This drink consisting of coffee cubes and warm milk is a UCC Cafe specialty.
It comes with sugar syrup if you prefer a sweeter drink.
Here’s what it looks like when mixed.
UCC SPECIAL BLEND: This is UCC’s signature black coffee, good with creamer and sugar or left as is.
I like how they give healthier coco sugar instead of the usual white or washed sugar.
ICHIBAN BLEND: This one possesses a robust flavor with light notes of chocolate. Best paired with cakes!
UCC Park Café at the Eastwood 1800 building became my frequent haunt during the past few months. I would usually go there as soon as it opens at 7:00 in the morning and have breakfast whilst finishing my deliverables, wrapping up at around 9:00 or 9:30. Just like I mentioned in a previous post, UCC Park Café takes public health protocols seriously: One can expect contact tracing forms, sanitized surfaces, temperature checks, socially distanced seats, acrylic barriers, and protected staff when dining here. The presence of these assured me that I would have a safe dining experience despite the expense.
The UCC brand is very much known for its coffee, and my dad has definitely agreed ever since someone gave him a box of UCC’s drip coffee as a gift. Traditionalists will enjoy the syphon brewed coffee, whilst more adventurous ones will like the kori kohi – frozen coffee cubes served with milk and sugar syrup. UCC Park Café also serves a variety of dishes, from starters to whet the appetite; Filipino and Japanese breakfast plates; yoshoku (Western-inspired Japanese) main courses; to desserts for capping off a meal.
I’ll end my thoughts here and proceed to show what you people visit this blog for.
SNOW CHEESE: This limited-edition drink is a cheesecake-based smoothie, which you can opt to add espresso shots.
FRENCH ONION SOUP: Pretty good take on the traditional French soup, down to the top layer. It even has mushrooms, too!
CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP: Chunky and earthy, this bowl doesn’t scrimp on mushrooms.
CHICKEN KATSUDON: This version had more than enough ingredients, but I found it lacking in rice.
SALMON AND SHRIMP OMURICE: Spinach, shrimp pieces, salmon cubes, and shiitake mushroom slices cooked in cream sauce and topped on a scrambled egg omelette and rice.
A very indulgent, yet meatless meal in itself – this is among UCC Park Cafe’s bestsellers, in fact!
SEAFOOD CURRY RICE: Shrimp, squid, and mussel cooked in the style of UCC’s sister restaurant chain CoCo Ichibanya, served with fukujinzuke relish.
The seafood was cooked right, though it was a chore to remove the mussel off its half-shell and peel the tail off the shrimp.
JAPANESE HAMBURG RICE CASSEROLE: A giant hamburger patty served on top of curried rice pilaf, with mushrooms and mozzarella cheese underneath the patty and finished off with brown and white sauces.
The patty is topped off with parsley and breadcrumbs for extra texture similar to a gratin.
As seen in this shot, this giant patty is comprised of pure meat.
HAMBURG CHEESE CURRY: A smaller hamburgr patty served with a slice of cheddar cheese on top, laid on a bed of rice and Japanese curry and served with fukujinzuke relish.
If anything, this dish reminds me of a pared-down version of CoCo Ichibanya with the relish and curry combination.
APPLE PIE ALA MODE: The classic apple pie served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a mound of whipped cream, sprinkled with cinnamon to round out everything.
This was among the first dishes I tried out from this joint ever since I discovered it years ago – and the taste remains the same!
CHOCOLATE OVERLOAD: For something that’s meant to cap off a meal, I found this rather cloying. Had to get another cup of black coffee just to down this dessert, but chocolate lovers might find this to their liking.
Visit UCC Cafe on Facebook and Instagram to find out the latest promotions and menu items.
Until the next review, bon appetit and stay safe!
UCC Park Café
Unit 7A, G/F 1800 Building,
Eastwood Avenue, Eastwood City,
Brgy. Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City 1110