Are you a Coke person? I'm more of a Coke Zero kind of girl, but before its introduction, my soft drink of choice was always Royal Tru-Orange and Sprite. My dad is a Coke guy who always pairs his potato chips with an ice cold glass of Coca-cola. That is why I thought of him first when I visited the restaurant called The Real Thing Diner, the new cheery food destination that's always Coca-Cola.
Red, White and You
The Real Thing Diner offers that fun, refreshing feeling to customers, as they step inside the Coca-cola world. It goes beyond serving that ice cold favorite -- it gives you that family friendly, happy experience that we often associate with Coke, and the trip gives us those little twists and turns with their interesting dishes and drinks incorporating Coca-cola products.
There's no mistaking this diner for another. Even from its facade, you will see how the red and white colors pop out. Entering the restaurant is like stepping inside a Coke addict's (pun intended) collection room. Noelle Cassandra (harpist, singer, songwriter, and now restaurateur extraordinaire) explains that all the Coca-cola merchandise inside the restaurant are from the personal collection of co-owner KV Golamco. Not even his entire collection yet, she adds.
The interiors of The Real Thing Diner has the Coca-cola theme down pat without being overly excessive with its branding. Bubble designs adorn its walls, and on one side, the black booth seats mimic the signature Coca-cola wave. The in-house restaurant music will whisk you back to your younger years, with the different catchy Coke jingles -- my favorite one is "Always Coca-cola" but what easily gets stuck in my head is "Holidays are coming". Inside this resto, everything is bright and bubbly, very family friendly. I can imagine kiddie parties being held here.
A Coke And A Smile
I mentioned earlier that this diner not only has Coca-cola as its theme for their interiors, but also it is evident in their menu offerings, as they incorporate Coca-cola products. Being the adventurous eater, I wanted to try out their best-sellers and the owners' personal faves from the menu that use different beverages as part of their ingredient. "Most of the dishes with the Coca-cola in them are on the sweeter side," Noelle Cassandra explains. I have a sweet tooth, so I was ready to get on it.
What do you get when you mix Coca-cola, Sarsi, cinnamon, and vanilla ice cream in one glass? The Cinnamon Snifter (P99). This signature drink at The Real Thing Diner is the current best seller, giving you that classic sweetness of Coke with a little twist here and there. Think of it as an upgraded version of the way we drink Coke, with little nuances of the root beer and cinnamon serving as backup vocals to the Coca-cola's high notes. And since it's served a la mode, soda float style, it can fill you up easily.
Coke Zero + Milk + Coffee + Chocolate = Coke Zero Mocha
If you ask me, I choose the Coke Zero Mocha (P99) as the perfect sweetened mixed drink at the diner. I prefer my coffee on the sweeter side, so this is my kind of beverage. Since they use Coke Zero in this Coca-cola concoction, I'm assured of lesser calories compared to its other counterparts in their beverage menu. The blend of
Coke Zero, milk, coffee, and chocolate syrup was just right, not overwhelmingly sweet, and refreshes you in a balanced way if you choose to have this drink while eating their savory meals for lunch or dinner.
Got a really insane sweet tooth? Then sip on this diabetic delight called Brazilian Chocolate Iced Coffee (P99). It's the sweetest Coca-cola drink concoction that we've tried at The Real Thing Diner. This cold beverage is oozing with all your sugary stuff -- Coca-cola with coffee, mixed with melted semi-sweet chocolate. And yes, it's topped whipped cream. Consider this drink as a separate dessert rather than your companion for the savory meals in the restaurant.
That Refreshing New Feeling
Quite interesting, the drinks were. While a soda float is pretty common, it was the first time I've tried mixing iced coffee with any soda, so it was something new to my palate. Now, we're down to their Coca-cola inspired food. My appetite for new flavors was raring to go at 'em.
A plate of Sarsi Wings (P199), Noelle Cassandra's favorite, has 6 to 8 pieces of buffalo wings (the order's measured by weight) glazed with a special Sarsi sauce. I love how generous they are with the glaze that your fingers get sticky when you grab the wings and gobble them up. This tender chicken appetizer is quite addicting with its crisp outer layer coated with shiny brown sauce. You can definitely taste the sweet sarsaparilla flavors, and I think this appetizer can already serve as your main course if you order rice or fries on the side. I think we finished three orders of this stuff for lunch!
Coca-Cola BBQ Burger
Burger served with an ice cold glass of Coke always sounds good, but what about serving burgers with Coke in them? Well, I tried the Coca-Cola BBQ Burger (P249) of the diner to discover that what sounds like a kid's goofy science experiment in the kitchen is actually a best seller in the restaurant -- and on my palate. You can be assured that incorporating the Coca-Cola flavors is not forced in the burger, but rather just a layer of sweetness, to give your tongue a little tease. They use the beverage as the sweetening agent in several of their signature dishes at The Real Thing Diner, and not to blatantly push the "Hey we have Coke everywhere!" button. With the Coca-Cola BBQ Burger, we taste the Coke-ness in the burger sauce, complementing the meatiness of the patty and the saltiness of the cheese -- all-American flavors with that Coca-cola twist.
Eight O' Clock Apple Green Tea Dory
The next dish was the most intriguing for my tastebuds. The Eight O' Clock Apple Green Tea Dory (P249) might not be everyone's cup of tea because of its unique layers of flavor. The apple green tea here comes in the sauce, where you dip the soft slices of fish. The sauce is quite sweet and the green apple flavor is prominent. The dish comes with a serving of mixed vegetables and a side dish of your choice -- rice, criss cut fries, or wedgies (wedge fries). I recommend having the rice with the fish so you can try drizzling your sauce on it.
Coca-Cola Baby Back Ribs
The Coca-Cola Baby Back Ribs (P399) took me by surprise -- a delightful surprise. Many a time I've tried baby back ribs slathered in a sauce that's too sweet for my liking. And in a diner like this one, I was assuming for the sweetest Coca-cola glaze already. Slicing a piece of meat off the bone was easy peasy -- the meat didn't put up a fight. It was very tender and perfectly cooked. And the sauce? Succulently earthy and robust, in contrast to the sweeter items we've had earlier. All the meat dishes in the diner are served with vegetables and a side dish of your choice.
For dessert, we had a bowl of warm, freshly baked Happily Appley (P89), an apple pie a la mode that tastes as cheerful as its name, in true Americana diner fashion. Noelle Cassandra revealed to us that the dessert is actually her mom's home recipe. No wonder it feels like comfort food. We devoured our pie, attacking it with our dessert spoons, and another plate of Sarsi wings arrived on our table. We paused our dessert button for an interlude with their tasty chicken. While sipping my Coke Zero Mocha, I look around me and realized that this is the most Coca-cola that I can get at one sitting. So if you're raring for that red, white and you Coca-cola experience in the metro, now you know where to go.
The Real Thing Diner is open Sunday to Thursday from 11am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-10pm, open Friday and Saturday from 11am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-11pm.