Coffee and Clocks: A "UCC Clockwork" Review - 3rd Wave Coffee Shops in Manila

UCC Clockwork has some of the most Instagram-worthy dishes, and it’s something you have to visit if you’re on the lookout for pretty food to add to your feed.

Snow Ice Treats: A Hobing Review

Bingsu is a popular Korean dessert composed primarily of ice shavings, topped or mixed with various ingredients such as fruits, beans, milk, and nuts.

Carnivore Craving: A "Yoree Korean Barbecue Dining" Review

I was glad that it was going to be a smokeless cooking because we still had to get back to work and we didn’t want to come back smelling like we were the ones barbecued.

A Reply to Sean Ellis' Love Letter: A "Metro Manila" Review

Normally, good visuals with a great story is hard to come by in a time of poverty exploiting indie films. Yet, this time around, not only was it a great story, but visually stimulating as well.

Bayan o Sarili: A "HENERAL LUNA" Review

Tarog's feature is a masterful "work of fiction based on facts" that's needed to be seen by everyone who considers himself a patriotic Filipino.

The Spectacle of White Heroes and Menacing Aliens: STAR TREK BEYOND Review (2016)

By Gio Potes

The premise appears like something out of a day's viewing of CNN: a crew of white star troopers are sent on a mission to save an alien race, only to be entrapped as hostages, with a hidden artifact as ransom. The alien race must now be defeated before it destroys the whole (white) human race.

Starting off at this point is not to be expected from a big budget science fiction movie review, but this critic found the parallelisms extremely familiar. Stripped of its camp and sci-fi extravagance, STAR TREK BEYOND is subversive comment on recent happenings in US military involvement. It's unabashed white heroism with the usual Hollywood sci-fi tropes of abject monsters defeated for the triumph of "unity and peace".


In fact, STAR TREK's Federation stands as a parallel to STAR WARS' Force, keeping intact a notion of peace and unity among stars and planets the way the United Nations compromises the legitimacy of struggle for the sake of immediate World Peace. Yet the sequel's antagonist Krall criticizes the Federation in subversion: "The Federation is war". It forces a flashback montage of several scenes of conflict in the Middle East especially in Syria where a crew of whites sink their teeth in a war so convoluted by their involvement, as if it wasn't troubled enough. Win or lose, the Federation ends with a promise of a sequel to new ventures for "peace and unity". A scary thought, once compared to its real life counterparts.


Immersed in this idea of the whole hypocrisy of real life's "white heroes", one can cringe throughout the whole film for its corny heroic punchlines and grand gestures. Otherwise you'll just have to give up, sit back and appreciate what STAR TREK really has to offer: a glossy eye-popping visual spectacle.


Justin Lin's new sequel calls to mind FORBIDDEN PLANET, APOCALYPSE NOW and STAR WARS with its human renegade emerging into a dark emperor, but the elements are tucked under Star Trek's geeky science. Its well-established characters are ever-engaging playing with new interesting aliens, including Jayla who provides additional dramatic weight to the action.

The characters blend with the CGI visuals. Chris Pine has proven himself a reliable action figure, but the crowd-pleasers are his eccentric supporting cast. From the onscreen duo of Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban to the reliable sidekicks played by Simon Pegg and the late Anton Yelchin, non-fans will undoubtedly be drawn to the series. But it's most worthy to be seen for its breathtaking action, especially in the introduction of its most menacing swarm of antagonists to date.


Fans will be pleased, and newcomers will enjoy this standalone popcorn sci-fi sequel. While STAR TREK BEYOND may not go beyond its predecessors and even if its political subversion is defeated by its own autopilot episodes of heroic adventures, it is still promising in its updated and highly entertaining 3D spectacle, true to the intentions of the reboot series.

Star Trek Beyond Trailer


Credits to the images and videos used in this post go to "Star Trek Beyond" and/or to their respective owners. We do not own these materials. No copyright infringement intended.


TROUBLE IN THE SHADOWS: Review of Jun Lana's ANINO SA LIKOD NG BUWAN (2015)



By Gio Potes

After a rough VHS-quality introduction of the political situation, the viewer is brought in an idyllic decrepit little house, where a young poor couple (LJ Reyes, Anthony Falcon) is visited by a seemingly friendly soldier (Luis Alandy). Starting off with card games and endless dick jokes, the fun swiftly fades as increasing intimidation leads the three to a deadly face off, pressuring them to big revelations that end up putting their lives pushed over the plank.



The unsubtle grimness brims from start to finish in Jun Lana's dark political chamber melodrama ANINO SA LIKOD NG BUWAN (2015). As the writer-director claims, ANINO was based on a ‘90s play about the untold stories of "No Man’s Land" in Marag Valley, Apayao. Set in one plodding night of passion and betrayal, the most talked-about feat of the film is its one-take cinematography, the key element in the film's intentional "stagey" theatricality that works and fails in equal measure. But then again, this voyeuristic camerawork is called for: what other approach would make or break the stripped down (oftentimes literally stripped) trio of great performances?


Besides the fact that Luis Alandy and Anthony Falcon's relentless sex appeal almost transformed the film into an ST movie, they're effective binary supporting players to their feisty anti-heroine. The show is owned by none other than Ms. Reyes, whose range in many different modes clearly blew her cutesy Starstruck days out the window. Given only a few breathing time in her chameleon-like character, she slips through every mask with aplomb. For instance, her laughably ridiculous romantic is quickly shattered in the moment of truth where she aligns herself with the deathly climax and denouement. Her performance was welcomed with divisive reactions, but whether ANINO is executed as a film or a play, LJ's disappearance into the role is indeed impressive and in many ways refreshing.

Thematically, ANINO follows BARBERS TALES as a next step deeper into the rural situation of militarization. Departing from the brilliant lambasting of the Martial Law's extrajudicial killings, Lana's ANINO hammers closer to home - the equally violent 90s where a so-called newfound "democracy" operated. A strong, empowered and bewildered female protagonist reveals feminist politics clearly on point, but the class conditions scream all over the frame. Lana's recent political (indie) dramas aim to shed light on these overshadowed narratives to reveal to metropolitan audiences a raw interpretation of rural desperation at its last breath, following the massacre of both land and man. And the usual scenario within activist cinema, of proletarian struggle vs. the dominant armed force, is shifted by Lana to a claustrophobic (albeit a very melodramatic) confrontation that gives way for the viewers to weigh in on their biases.

Beyond the political agenda, Lana delves deeper into his characters to suggest these intentions are angst deeply rooted in different human conditions that also tend to compete against each other. But whoever wins in this arms race, whether reel or real, I believe it is no coincidence that its UP screening early 2016 occurred after the onslaught of IP killings in Bukidnon, and is now pegged for a one-night only screening in the metro after the new administration's inauguration. There is still a troubling situation indeed, and ANINO perfectly begs the question in the current ceasefire of both militant and military forces.


Interestingly, its UP Diliman screening coincided with the UP students' vigil for a slain lumad child. The scenes of intense conflict in the rurals are present in both fact and fiction and they are now much more visible, transcending generations and landscapes of militarized areas (no mans' land) into endless narratives of the "bakwits" both from the North and the South of the archipelago, now to be revealed right before the eyes of a bewildered urban audience. It should rather be considered a microcosmic ideological battle only wrapped with sexualised, even voyeuristic aesthetics - the so-called shadow behind the shining moonlight. And like its trio of anti-heroes, ANINO SA LIKOD NG BUWAN demands an answer from its viewers as they sit back in the dark, in the middle of a waging civil war: "Sino ang nasa tamang panig ngayon?"

Credits to the images and videos used in this post go to "Anino sa Likod ng Buwan" and/or to their respective owners. We do not own these materials. No copyright infringement intended.

The Passion Of MA’ ROSA (2016)

By Gio Potes

The recent controversies of the local illegal drug trade following the bloody baptism of President Duterte's administration seemed like the big welcoming party for Brillante Ma Mendoza's MA' ROSA. Coming from Mendoza, one can expect the grit and grime of the semanticist-pleasers SERBIS and KINATAY and his auteurist style of “poverty porn”. But while the brilliant MA' ROSA has all of the above, it was refreshing to see the aesthetic taking a backseat for what it really has to offer. Naysayers can now rejoice in its timely and relentless drug-related story by Armando Lao, and Mendoza’s straightforward direction that’s quite a surprise not because it’s brutally violent (as response to social media’s exposés of local drug cartels), but because of its effective reliance on restraint.


The titular character (played by Jaclyn Jose) and her husband (Julio Diaz) are poor sari-sari store owners with a sideline "ice" business in the middle of Quezon City's urban poor communities. They are abruptly raided and detained by local city police who demand a certain sum (part bail, part salary). And it is Rosa's children (Felix Roco, Andi Eigenmann and Jomari Angeles) who must take the burden of borrowing money as they proceed to accessible means like relatives, pawnshops and prostitution to set their parents free.

Ma' Rosa Trailer



Melting slowly from crime thriller to a family drama, the tautly tackled drugs issue is quickly subsided in favor of a (surprisingly) heartwarming story of family. Although its perspective on drugs has been established clearly - drugs as a go-to easy income in the Philippines, and everyone from pushers to enforcers get their hands dirty in this messy traffic - MA'ROSA's political critique is confined in the pit fights of police, criminal and civilian without catching the bigger fish syndicates and politicians that's all over local news. But suffice it to say, MA'ROSA is better off without it. Its interests lay in the causes and effects of drug pushing in the poor family in the center. And Brillante crafts this in a very engaging manner with aesthetics that benefit the film’s character-driven storyline.


Shaky tracking shots are signature camerawork for Mendoza, but watch closely as it transforms to a critical eye on the gritty locale. Avoiding an otherwise voyeuristic perspective (FINALLY!), the film provides an immersive and tense viewing experience as Rosa is brought from her house to the police station. It echoes a subtler THE WRONG MAN with its circumstantial doom, and even how it captures the Kamuning Police Station’s headquarters that’s just as dirty and flawed as its huge prison cells. The set design is also another important feat, juxtaposing two interiors by way of their openness and secrecy, forcing the viewer to shed his comfortable skin and look for safety in a crammed but familiar urbanity. Shame that while the design seems to capture precisely a world of crime and corruption, it is the performers who remained alienating throughout the film. Save for the brilliant 2 minutes of Maria Isabel Lopez, the reliable weakling of a father in Julio Diaz and the wide-eyed Jomari Angeles, MA’ ROSA’s biggest pitfalls lie in its supporting players. The bankable stars were plodding and can't seem to tone it down to be even half-realistic in a film that screams social realism.


Less is more, and Mendoza knows where to plant the better elements of MA' ROSA. His straightforward narrative is a fresh approach, as it avoids convoluted subplots and plot twists - getting down to business, as the film may attest.

But I believe a lot more is invested in Ms. Jose's bravura performance. From street-smart mama to intimidated prisoner, Rosa's character can easily be the weepy stuff of an MMK episode. But Jaclyn Jose leads you on into an all-too damaging experience, transitioning along the changing situations with simple twitch of the eyes or a murmured stutter. She holistically embodies Rosa whilst acting and reacting to the differing dynamics of her relationships to family, community and her captors. The hopeless situation built around her is enough for the viewer to (finally) empathize with Mendoza's heroine. This all proves the stereotypical Jaclyn Jose school-of-acting is a misinterpretation, as she avoids theatricality and exaggeration with a restraint that encapsulates a rich profound worldview, a genuine struggle of a Filipina who can endure heavy debts if it means well for her kin. The ending is nothing short of magical.


By this point in Brillante Mendoza's oeuvre, MA'ROSA is a return to form, and a newfound maturity for the director. The substance is clearly at par with the style, as the usual tropes of his films become effective supporting elements to the story and characters. And it may be the first time he isn't looking at his subjects as starving guinea pigs or as copulating rats (in experimentations with no clear hypotheses), but rather as humans struggling in a dog's life. One can call it a rarity; an engaging and even entertaining film highlighting the behavior of Manila’s underbelly and it is at this point that he became in touch with his subjects more than ever. After Brillante Mendoza's countless trips to European and Asian festivals, and after shooting numerous films in Manila, it looks like he has finally found home.

***Special Thanks to Miguel Bongato’s insights and constructive okray, and also to GMovies for making it convenient for us to book tickets. You guys are awesome!


Credits to the images and videos used in this post go to "Ma' Rosa" and/or to their respective owners. We do not own these materials. No copyright infringement intended.

How to Make Tiramisu with Graham Crackers

It was on a lazy weekend when I half-heartedly opened my fridge and stared blankly at the emptiness. All that’s inside was a liter of grape juice, some garlic and onions, a few bottles of Yakult, and a handful of eggs. I knew I needed to put more stuff inside, otherwise this fridge is just going to be an expensive ice-maker.

I was never the cook type, and I have always loved eating much more than cooking. But on that particular weekend I’ve had a sudden surge of inspiration to make my own food– that and the fact that I needed to make use of my fridge.

As if the universe was conspiring, I also happened to come from a cooking demo by Nestlé All Purpose Cream where my fellow bloggers and I learned how to make Chicken Adobo with Cream (more about that on a separate blog post), and the event organizers were generous enough to give us samples to take home.  Now what can I do with a 250ml box of Nestle All Purpose Cream?


Mango Float first came to mind. I remember my older sister used to make the best mango float (well to me at least) during the holidays. But since I’ve just had mango float the week before, I tried to be a little bit more adventurous and experimented on making a tiramisu.

Here are the ingredients that I used:

·      250ml Nestlé All Purpose Cream
·      250ml Alaska Condensed Milk
·      A 200g pack of MY San Grahams
·      Vanilla Flavoring
·      Cream Cheese
·      Nescafé powder
·      Choco or cocoa powder


Tiramisu is traditionally prepared with broas or lady fingers, but since I had leftover grahams from last week, I decided to use those as an alternative.

Procedure:

1.     Mix the 250ml Nestlé All Purpose Cream and 250ml Alaska Condensed Milk in a bowl. You may add more condensed milk if you prefer the mixture to be sweeter. Make sure that both of these ingredients are chilled before you mix them.

2.     Add half of the 200g pack of cream cheese to the cream-milk mixture. Whip thoroughly so the cream cheese blends perfectly into the mix.

3.     Prepare a warm cup of coffee and add a just a little bit of sugar.

4.     Dip the grahams into the coffee, just enough to get it wet. Don’t soak the grahams as they’ll end up getting soggy.

5.     Lay the first layer of the tiramisu using the coffee-dipped grahams.

6.     Add a second layer with the cream mixture.

7.     Repeat this process of layering until the container is filled. The last layer has to be made of the cream mixture.

8.     Sprinkle chocolate or cocoa powder on top of the last layer of cream mixture.

9.     Chill for 3-4 hours.

And that’s it! Easy peasy yeah?



To be fair the finished product tasted great! It has just the right sweetness with a hint of bitter every now and then. Also looks pretty decent, if you ask me.

This recipe is good for 5 – 6 servings (although I’d have no problem finishing the whole thing on my own).

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Where's the Wonder? An "Alice Through The Looking Glass" Review

When a film is marketed as one that stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, and Sacha Baron Cohen – not to mention it being a dedication to Alan Rickman’s memory – you won’t be able to hold back the itchiness to see it the moment it comes out in theaters. Naturally, I came to see Alice Through the Looking Glass on the first day that it was released in Philippine cinemas, thanks to the awesome guys from Globe Telecom who held a movie screening.


In this James Bobin sequel to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010), Alice Kingsleigh goes back to Underland where she eventually meets the personification of Time, who manages the time (duh) and lives of Underlandians. Alice asks for Time’s help in going back to the past to save the Mad Hatter’s family from the Jabberwocky. After finding out that the Red Queen and Time are acquainted, Alice steals the chronosphere and travels to the past to help the Mad Hatter. However, changing the course of history has its consequences, and Alice later on learns that even though she cannot change the past, she can learn from it.

Alice Through the Looking Glass Trailer


Alice Through the Looking Glass is just as visually stimulating as its predecessor, with undoubtedly expensive CGI, eye-popping colors, and peculiar characters all contributing to this spectacle of a mash-up that’s best appreciated in 3D.  The sequences felt like flipping through the pages of a colorful children’s book, and as I allowed myself to delve into the chaos and crazy of the visual deign, I’d say it’s pretty much how I imagined Alice’s Wonderland would look like.

Speaking of crazy...

However, what makes a good children’s book, is not just the visual design but also the storytelling itself. Alice Through the Looking Glass may have excelled in the CGI department, but sadly, I cannot say the same for its storyline. First of all, the closest that the film ventured into Lewis Carroll’s 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, is a short chessboard scene where we are demonstrated a re-enactment of the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme. After that, it’s a completely different story altogether, and if it wasn’t for the familiar characters, there won’t be anything else that’s Lewis Carroll about this movie.


A realization struck me when I was halfway through the film. Alice Through the Looking Glass, it turns out, is an origin film of sorts. The movie shows us how the Mad Hatter came to be the hatter that he is, how the rift between the Red and White Queens began, as well as a glimpse of the childhood of the rest of the quirky characters.

A place where hound, hare, and feline can all get along.

Now I believe this is where the film started to lose its charm. The “origin story” approach has somehow humanized the characters, providing logic and explanation to their identities, which is not aligned with the crazy and chaos that Wonderland was supposed to be. The storyline gave some “sense” to Wonderland, which is problematic because the senselessness of the place is what makes it fascinating in the first place. Alice Through the Looking Glass’ plot ruined this fascination by injecting logic into the wonder.

I remember when I was smaller, I was captivated by the dreamlike randomness of the Alice in Wonderland cartoon classic. It was like a psychedelic movie for kids, and I loved how the scenes became “curioser and curioser” so to speak, especially with the absurdity and ridiculousness of the characters, who may not seem to make sense on the surface but perfectly captures what fun and enjoyment is for children.

This sense of wonder was lost when Alice Through the Looking Glass started presenting the Mad Hatter as a child who had daddy issues, when we see that the Red and White Queens were once simple village girls, and when it was shown that all that sibling rivalry was all because of a childhood lie over tarts. Alice in Wonderland was supposed to be random, illogical, and unreasonable – just like the answer to the Mad Hatter’s riddle, “why is a raven like a writing desk?” Why did this film try to make literal explanations to a perfectly imaginative and dreamlike world?

Wy would you try to make sense of the Hatter if he was supposed to be Mad?

If anything, I did let out a few chuckles at several points in the movie, especially with the puns about Time personified. The Cheshire Cat saying that he was “right on Time” and sitting on Sacha Baron Cohen’s character was hilarious! You can imagine what happened when they played with the phrases “Time flies”, “Time to Go”, and most especially when the Mad Hatter asked, “when exactly is 'soon'?”

How about "Time is Gold?" Yes? No? Okay.

Alice Through the Looking Glass had so much potential especially with its stellar cast, but all those were put to waste by a plot that doesn’t seem to fully understand its source material. If time was money, I say it won’t be well spent on this movie.

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Credits to the images and videos used in this post go to "Alice Through The Looking Glass" and/or to their respective owners. We do not own these materials. No copyright infringement intended.

The Greatest Love Teaser-Trailer is Unlike Anything You’ve Seen in Pinoy TV


I initially thought that this was a trailer for an upcoming movie. I was impressed! It was fast-paced, intense, and more than enough to intrigue you about the premise and be interested in the characters. I was amazed all the more when I learned that this was actually a teaser-trailer for a new Kapamilya teleserye.


A mother apparently sends out news to her children that she’s about to die, in order to make them visit her at home. This didn’t sound very original as I’ve seen something similar from a German Christmas advert, but what’s different is that instead of being happy about their mother being actually alive, the children fight over their unusual circumstance. When the mother finally gets a chance to speak up, everyone is stunned at a shocking revelation. See the teaser for yourself below:



Arron Villaflor, Matt Evans, Andi Eigenmann Dimples Romana and Sylvia Sanchez star in this teleserye. Aside from the unique plot and interesting trailer, the cast is also a refresher, as it doesn’t seem to have the love teams who are usually reserved for prime time.



I should probably get that ABS-CBN TV Plus aka Mahiwagang Blackbox, don’t you think?

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Credits to the images and videos used in this post go to "The Greatest Love", "ABS-CBN" and/or to their respective owners. We do not own these materials. No copyright infringement intended.

Pink’s Hot Dogs Now Open in BGC

One of my officemates excitedly invited me to have lunch at Pinky’s last week. I was supposed to be on my nth attempt at dieting and yet, here is another temptation calling out to me. I made a quick search online about Pink’s and apparently, it’s one of the most anticipated restaurants to open in Manila this year. Oh well, my diet can wait.


The lunch proposal didn’t happen because it turns out that Pink’s opens at 5pm. Looks like its going to be an early dinner (or late snack?) instead.

Pink’s Hot Dogs is located at the ground floor of the newly opened Shangri La Hotel at BGC, Taguig. A directional signage will point you to the right way when you’re in the area, so the resto's not hard to find. The pictures online initially gave us the impression that Pink’s is an outdoor establishment, but it turns out to be an indoor resto designed charmingly to look like a take-out joint. A string of light bulbs hang overhead, with Chuck Taylor shoes dangling on them for an added hipster touch. Neon lights and bright signages also light up the interiors. My friends and I toyed with the idea of making  a Pinoy-estero version, with clothes hanging on power lines and having yero instead of brick walls. That should be fun.


The menu posted on the wall can be a bit overwhelming and without pictures as reference, you’ll have to read through the ingredients carefully in choosing your order. Instinct told me to ask their specialty and bestsellers. To be fair, the crew was consistent in recommending The Hollywood Legend (Php 280.00) and East LA Street Dog (Php 250.00).

The Hollywood Legend
The Hollywood Legend is Pink’s version of a chilli con carne, with ground meat topped with cheese blanketing the juicy hotdog. Thankfully, it’s not overwhelmingly spicy but it should delight meat-lovers like me. The East LA Street Dog was also a winner. How would you go wrong with hotdog,  bacon,  onions, and peppers in one bun?

East LA Street Dog
My personal favorite though weren’t among the crew’s recommendations. I enjoyed The Breakfast Dog (Php 250.00) the most,  primarily because an added soft, fried egg. As if it wasn’t good enough, bacon and crisp potatoes were also thrown in on the mix.

The Breakfast Dog
One of my office-buddies gave the Cheese Burger (Php 280.00) a shot, which I also eagerly asked to have a bite of. The buns are reminiscent of the ones we had at Sweet Ecstasy, and the patties are pretty good too. I’d prolly have this one on my next visit.


The Home Made French Fries also weren’t bad. One order was supposed to be Php 140.00, but apparently my order allows me to have some sort of combo where I add only Php 70.00 to have one.
I would recommend that you pair your hotdog or burger with a glass of Milkshake or Root Beer Float (Php 270.00). The price is a bit steep for my taste but it does well in keeping you from getting satiated with all that yummy grease.


If there’s one thing that’s going to keep me from coming back to Pink’s its most likely going to be the price of the hotdogs. They tasted great but I think I can find more enjoyment with the more or less Php 400.00 that I spent in Pink’s elsewhere.

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Café Naya Celebrates its First Anniversary


The first time I visited Café Naya was December last year for Nuffnang Philippines’ Country Manager’s dinner. On first glance you can already tell that this establishment offers premium dishes in its menu, and the ambiance exudes an aura of class and exclusivity.


Café Naya has a shared platform of Meditarranean, European, and Northern African Island cooking by Chef Mikko Reyes (The Hungry Hound, Niner Ichi Nana and Valkyrie Nightclub). Its coastal cuisine concept is on-point, with The Palace Pool Club visible from inside the Café.

Succeeded in stealing a (rather awkward) shot of Erwan. Woohoo!


With Café Naya’s first anniversary also come new items on their menu, some of which were served during the dinner party held last June 29. It was a laid-back night of great conversations, good food by Chef Mikko, and cocktails  by Erwan Heussaff. Here are some of the dishes that we had:

Appetizers:

Steak and Bulghur Wheat Salad – Php 389.00
Seared Foie and Hummus – Php 398.00
Cured Meat and Pate – Php 598.00
Truffled Mushroom Pizza – Php 389.00

Steak and Bulghur Wheat Salad 
Cured Meat and Pate 
Seared Foie and Hummus
Truffled Mushroom Pizza
Right from the appetizers, you can already tell that Café Naya may be appreciated most by a very specific niche of customers only.  The carnivore in me happily sliced through the steaks in my salad, and went through the salami in the Cured Meat and Pate, although some may shy away from it given its price.

Mains:

Glazed Duck Rice – Php 1,497.00
Chopped Chicken Parm – Php 369.00
Grilled Skirt Steak – Php 1,598.00
Glazed Pork Belly – Php 398.00

Glazed Duck Rice
Chopped Chicken Parm
Grilled Skirt Steak  
Glazed Pork Belly
The mains felt more welcoming to me than the intimidating appetizers, as the dishes served were more familiar to my Pinoy palate. The duck and pork belly were sweet, the skirt steak was tender, and the chopped chicken parm was just how I wanted my spaghetti to be. I wanted to gobble up more but I had to make room for dessert!

Dessert:

Chocolate Mousse – Php 267.00
Almond Tarte – Php 298.00

Chocolate Mousse
Almond Tarte
I would have preferred for the desserts to be sweeter, although I know some people who may appreciate more the mildness of Café Naya’s sweets. Both desserts were leaning towards being sour than sweet, most likely because of the calamansi curd in the mousse and the cranberry puree in the almond tarte.

Of course, an experience in Café Naya won’t be complete without drinks! My friends enjoyed the Spiked Lavender Lemonade Cocktail and Ye Old Punch Cocktail presumably prepared by Erwan Heussaff. I, on the other hand, indulged in a glass of red wine.


Whether you are looking for some late-night eats after a night of clubbing at The Palace, a quiet restaurant ideal for a lunch meeting, or even just an after-work happy hour sunset session, Café Naya would be a great option for you to lay back and enjoy the tides.

Café Naya is open daily, 11 AM onwards.
For inquiries and reservations, contact +63 917 550 9999.
Instagram: cafenayaathepalace

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