UCC Park Cafe

UCC Park Cafe

Coffee, Sandwiches

Breakfast Vegetable Omelet; Japanese Breakfast Unagi; French Toast with Knockwurst; Fried Prawn Curry with Rice; Hayashi Hamburg Omurice; Hayashi Angus Beef Burger; Vienna Mixed Minced Meat Steak; Chicken Mushroom and Cheese Curry Risotto; and Fruit Crepe

UCC (Ueshima Coffee Company) has different concept stores around Metro Manila that harmonize their theme with the location. There are little tweaks here and there for every UCC branch you see sprouting in strategic locations around the metro. UCC Park Cafe, for example, has some menu items that cannot be found at UCC Cafe Terrace and UCC Vienna Cafe, and vice versa. As the name Park Cafe implies, the vibe at this UCC cafe concept is casual and laid-back. It incorporates neutral, earthy tones accented with wood, and you partake of a view of the greens of nature outside.

I've spent an afternoon at Park Cafe's Eastwood Mall branch and appreciated the quiet, calming stillness inside, the polar opposite of usual chatterbox cafes populating our cities. What I also definitely appreciate is that UCC is more than really good coffee. Here are some of UCC Park Cafe's scrumptious and savory offerings that I've tried and liked.

Hamburg Salad

If you think a salad cannot be filling, then you should try ordering UCC Park Cafe's Hamburg Salad (P559). You get a generous portion of green, red lolorosso and iceberg lettuce, topped with grilled hamburger. The burger is coated with Hayashi sauce and drizzled with Japanese mayo. The salad is also served with tangy Japanese dressing on the side.

The burger patty is pretty thick, and is smothered in aromatic brown sauce. I didn't taste any extenders in their burger, and my tastebuds loved how filling it is. I like to cut up the burger patty first then mix everything on the salad plate for a saucy, rich starter good for two.

Pasta Negra

Their Pasta Negra (P439) is sauteed pasta slithering with rich and musky squid ink. On top of the beautiful, black noodles is a medley of seafood, green and red bell peppers, and hardboiled egg.

I happen to fancy the squid ink, while some might dismiss it easily because of its color. Part of the fun of eating 'squid inked' anything is staining your mouth with black sauce. The Pasta Negra is both slightly sweet and salty; when you mix in the seafood and dirty up the squid, shrimp and scallop, the pasta becomes playful with different textures.

I've heard that UCC's signature flavor is the Japanese Curry, so I wanted to try that one out. I did, and I have to say it's the kind of curry that easily grabs a high position in my list of curry dishes. I recommend their Usuyaki Steak Curry with Rice (P439).

Usuyaki Steak Curry with Rice

A mix of vegetables is embraced by tender, thin strips of beef. The crispness of the carrots and asparagus compliments the meat slivers. The white rice looked like a little island on the plate, with three logs of usuyaki docked by the sea of aromatic brown gravy. What makes the dish shine is how the curry (not the 'instant' kind, mind you) holds everything together for that delicious, lip-smacking experience.

After a very filling meal, a good cup of coffee perfectly ends your UCC experience. From blended coffee to coffee desserts like parfait, there's a lot to choose from, and even more to bring home if you wish to keep the warmth of UCC coffee in your cupboards.

Have yourself a good coffee smile at UCC

To cap off a UCC Park Cafe meal, pair up your coffee with sweet pastries and cakes. Don't skip out on their dessert! The Red Velvet Cake (P190), most especially.

Red Velvet Cake

Their version of the red velvet tops their best-sellers list. The cream cheese icing, the chocolate-y and buttery body, the oh-so-smooth and compact texture spell out delicious. If I order this cake and I happen to see you attempting to sneak in your utensils for a slice, I might just challenge you to a fork duel. The magic word 'please' and pleading puppy-dog eyes might grant you a taste, though. I really think their version of the red velvet cake is a great example of how desserts can punctuate your dining experience with an exclamation point.

UCC does follow through their promise of 'Good Coffee Smile' with their variety of caffeinated offerings. And they can most certainly be proud to showcase their meals and sweet treats. For long, lazy summer afternoons that call for quiet lounging paired with laid back dining, a trip to this kind of park may just be the thing for you.

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