Sometimes I just really need that quick cup of comfort in a laid back cafe to end a rather stressful day! Having UCC Park Cafe in the neighborhood where I stayed in the Philippines made life so convenient. It was my go-to for my favorite iced coffee, Kori Kohi.
UCC Park Cafe has this rather grown-up vibe. It has a simple interior that makes the colorful, tribal/ethnic theme mural pop out more. I would often see well-dressed people come here for meetings. It also has a spacious second floor which is suitable for private functions.
I know, I know. It's not a kawaii place that I would usually write about. But I had my first glass of Kohi Kori here, something of a novelty iced coffee (for me at least)! Besides, I did try one of their desserts, the coffee jelly in the other brand CoCo ICHIBANYA. I thought I should explore the UCC menu more.
We got our drinks first. Kei, my photographer, ordered the Green Tea Milkshake. And of course, I got the Kori Kohi, which was a Japanese way of preparing iced coffee. UCC serves coffee straight from its very own distiller.
I guess it's the novelty of Kori Kohi that has me hooked! Brewed coffee or espresso is frozen into ice cubes, which you melt away with warm milk. You could add the liquid sweetener or have it as is. I prefer to slowly pour everything into my glass, varying the creaminess and sweetness as I go.
For the dishes, I wanted to try out a variety of things that day. I got the salad, pulled pork grilled cheese sandwich, and roasted vegetable pesto, while Kei opted for a rice plate, the beef yakiniku. The salad was great to start with, something light and fresh to cleanse the palate. I thought the pulled pork sandwich would satisfy my craving for meat. Generally though, I prefer flaked chicken for my sandwiches, and of course, thick and juicy beef for my burgers. Pork and bread never really went well together (bacon is just a topping for my burger, sorry!). So I was pleasantly surprised that I actually liked the pulled pork. It was a very savory sandwich and just half of it was already filling. Maybe it was even too savory for me, with it having cheese. That's why I hesitated to try out the other dish, the roasted vegetable pesto. But then I wanted to remove the extra umami from my taste buds, and I thought veggies would do the trick. And again, I fell instantly in love with the light and simple roasted flavor. The veggies even had this lovely crunch to them.
I easily got full and had some leftovers (which I later heated as midnight snack for my boyfriend). But of course, I had to taste a bit of the beef yakiniku rice plate. The beef was well-seasoned, slightly sweet, and so tender. In addition, Kei raved about the Japanese rice.
I am glad I was able to try out some of the items from the UCC menu. Personally I think it's one underrated cafe in the strip of restaurants in the Burgos Circle area. My only concern is that service tends to be slow, maybe because they don't have that big of a staff around. Overall, I loved the food and drinks they serve. And knowing that it's a 10 minute walk from my place makes it an easy favorite!
Photos by Kei Villanueva.