East Cafe in Rustan’s Makati is nestled among the different collections of ladies wear on the 2nd floor of Rustan’s Makati. The restaurant is quite sequestered that if you walk quickly through the floor you might just miss it.
I’ve been here a few times but my latest visit was a surprise because of the new look of the place. The menu at East Cafe, created by Chef Him Uy de Baron of Nomama, is composed of familiar Asian dishes that will appeal to the tired and hungry patrons of the department stores.
The decor is now brighter and gives off a more relaxing vibe, perfect place to get a bit of a rest after a few hours of shopping. The chairs are wide and comfortable to sit in, good for resting tired feet.
There’s even a long but narrow pond area with a few fish and some rocks that adds to the relaxing feel.
We started with a Roast Pork Salad (P260), a Vietnamese inspired salad with glass noodles, cucumber and basil. Meaty yet tender pieces of chashyu pork are thoroughly coated with the tangy and refreshing dressing contrasted with the soft and silky glass noodles. A familiar and enjoyable starter.
The Super Unagi Maki (P410) and Spicy Salmon Maki (P260) are both good starters if you are leaning towards Japanese.I was leaning towards the spicy salmon maki as my favorite because of the silky and substantial amount of salmon slices.
The Salt and Pepper Crab Salad (P260) is beautifully crafted with a large piece of fried soft shelled crab hidden amidst crisp greens and bright cubed vegetables. Slice off a piece of the oil free crab and pair it with some of the juicy vegetables for a fun play on your taste buds.
Salmon Belly Lollipops with Pineapple and Cilantro Salsa (P380). This was the dish of the night, melt in your mouth with a wonderful smokiness. I loved the combination of the pineapple and the aromatic cilantro which gave the buttery salmon bellies a nice tangy kick. A dish worth a return to East Cafe.
Fried Lapu Lapu with Mapo Tofu (P525). A whole piece of lapu lapu thats been butterflied then deep fried before being doused in mapo tofu. I’ve encountered this dish in a previous visit but was quite hesitant to try because mapo tofu was usually spicy. This time around, armed with a higher tolerance for spicy food, I delved in and the experience was quite satisfactory save for the absence of rice.
Crispy Beef Ribs (P650). Large pieces of perfectly fried beef ribs that were quite juicy despite its appearance. I’ve never been really a fan of beef ribs since I prefer the smaller and more finger manageable pork ribs.
We finished off the meal with my favorite dessert at East Cafe, the Sumaki (P325) which has been given a cool upgrade. Japanese maki shaped suman (rice cake) with ube, mangoes and pinipig then topped with a scoop of Pinkerton ice cream.
Looking for a place to rest your weary feet and package laden hands? Escape to a serene and flavorful meal at East Cafe.
East Cafe2F, Rustan’s Department Store Makati, Ayala Center Ayala Avenue, Makati City Contact Nos.: (632) 812-0233/(632)813-3739