East Cafe is the in house restaurant of Rustan’s Makati, its entryway discreetly tucked in amid fashion displays. The cafe has been in operations for more than a decade giving department store shoppers a quick respite from their shopping activities by serving quick and uncomplicated Asian food.
The Food Club was invited to try out the new dishes whipped up by Chef Him Uy de Baron, who has been at the helm of the cafe since it started. Chef Him also owns the Nomama Artisanal Ramen, the unique ramen joint in QC.
We started off our meal with the Shrimp and Pomelo Salad (P240), a light and refreshing salad of seafood and citrus with a coconut and fish sauce that reminded me alot of the Salmon Poke from Izumi. The similarity was not a surprise since Chef Him was also behind the menu re-imagination at Izumi.
Next was Open faced Chorizo and Onion Quesadilla (P230). Strong complimentary flavors from the chorizo and onions makes this a crowd pleaser.
A meaty appetizer/ main dish came next, Salt and Pepper Ribs (P320), large ribs deep fried and seasoned perfectly, just add a dash of vinegar to heighten the flavors. I feel its a bit expensive for the serving size but no complaints on the taste.
Pad Thai Noodles (P260) was next, not exactly part of the new menu but this classic Thai dish always has fans.
Moo Shoo Pork (P290) is a dish I’ve always heard and seen in American TV shows and movies whenever they have Chinese food but its a dish not readily served in many restaurants here. Flour tortilla wrappers, like the ones used for Peking duck, served as vessels to hold the saucy pork strips, bean sprouts and bell peppers. I enjoyed this but wished it was drier to make eating it less messy.
Thai Red Curry with Shrimps and Lychee (P350). Chef Him gives this dish a twist by adding lychees to give the mild curry a sweeter undertone. The creamy sauce would have been perfect with a steaming cup of rice but with the amount of dishes we were having, we decided to skip on that.
We finished off the savory portion of our meal with 2 lapu-lapu (grouper) dishes, Mapo Tofu Lapu-lapu (P450) and Lapu-lapu with Tamarind Sauce (P450).
To start the dessert ball rolling we had their Suman sa Pinipig (P98), sticky and not overly sweet suman that is specially made for East Cafe. This was one of the best suman’s I’ve ever had
Sumaki (P275) is suman shaped to look like Japanese maki by adding mangoes, ube, and pinipig. This was my favorite dessert of all, too bad I was way too full by the time we got to the sweets.
We got to try even more desserts like the Ube Cheesecake, Tsokolateng Batirol Tart and Tamales. The tamales were quite interesting with glutinous rice enveloping coco jam and salted eggs.
East Cafe is a welcome respite for weary shoppers, with its quiet and secluded dining area making for a relaxing interlude. The menu is a wide range of different Asian cuisine, mostly classical but some has a fun twist or two.
East Cafe2/F Rustan’s
Ayala Center, Makati
812-0233/ 813-3739 loc. 246
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