We were scouting for a new restaurant in Greenbelt 5 when we stumbled upon the Travel Cafe. Last time I went to GB5, it was still closed. I chose to have dinner there because of the concept. I didn't expect much on the food, since it was more of a tourism marketing thing for me than a restaurant or a cafe for that matter. I hoped their coffee would be great, since they were promoting the several coffee beans that you can find in the country. They have the Monk's Coffee from Bukidnon, the beans from Cordillera, and the expensive Alamid Coffee.
The place looked great. There were two 42 inch Philips LCDs that played AVPs on Philippine tourist spots. There were travel brochures on the travel concierge. Yes, they had one, with a desk and all, for any inquiries about tours around the Philippines. The design was indeed inspiring, and very modern. I loved their plates. They were all customized with the travel cafe logo.
It took a while to order, even though their menu wasn't long. The menu had salad and appetizers, pastas and main dishes, and a list of whole wheat pandesal creations that are good enough for lunch. The list also included desserts like Halo-Halo and the cool Suman Sushi, which was basically your kakanin fare presented sushi style complete with chocolate chopsticks.
We ordered the Hearts of Palm Pouches (P150) to start. As the name implies, it was fresh lumpiang ubod wrapped ala dumpling style. The peanut sauce was nice, and wasn't too strong. I literally poured it over the pouches. The ubod was actually tasty and had the right crunch. The pouches wwere also sealed by a strip of lemongrass that gave it a unique taste from your normal lumpiang ubod.
Then, the Saranggani Plate (P320) was served. It was of course, boneless bangus (milkfish) with red egg and tomatoes on top of it. It also had an insalada accompanying the dish. It was great. The bangus was indeed soft and tasted fresh. It must have really come from Saranggani since I've tasted the best bangus there two years ago. This comes close.
Finally, the Batangas Beef Ribs (P420) were served. It was their version of tadyang. Marinated in rich garlic soy sauce, the beef was flavorful. My only complaint was that it was not as tender but manageable enough. Also, it is better served with plain rice, as the garlic rice become too overpowering already. Too much garlic.
We were supposed to have dessert at Classic Confections, but I couldn't resist the Tsokolate with Suman (P140). And it was worth it. My sister said it was the most perfect suman. And indeed it was. Dip it in rich tsokolate and it ended the meal successfully.
Travel Cafe Philippines is in itself a concept that allured me. I was surprised that they served great food, great enough to make it one of the most memorable meals I had this year. I first heard of the cafe in Cool Hunter, as they featured the one in Japan. Now, it is here in the Philippines in Greenbelt 5, where all things Pinoy are.
Travel Cafe Philippines is located at the 2F of Greenbelt 5, Makati City.