How badly do you love Filipino Food? What influences your favorite Filipino Dishes? If you are a fan of innovated and unique Filipino dish concepts, check out Bench Cafe. They have recently opened their newest branch at Robinsons Place Manila.
The interiors are modern, crisp with an additional hint of tropical vibes. The staff welcomes you with its signature Filipino warm gestures and smiles.
I was surprised upon arriving at the media preview as I thought that Bench Cafe would serve a fusion of global flavors but of course I loved how they stuck around its love for its very own.
The creative menu shares an unbelievable array of affordable options: Salads, Small Plates, Specialty Rice, Meryenda Selection, Meat, Seafood & Vegetables, Desserts, Pandesal and its special BENCH-TO (their version of Japanese Bento sets, it includes vegetables, rice, salsa and atsara). Whatever you are craving, there is one for everyone!
As a drink starter, I ordered Sago’t Gulaman. I’ve got a huge crush on this drink and whenever its available at any restaurant (makes me think of M Cafe‘s Sago’t Gulaman now!) I order it.
I like that theirs has a touch of Pandan. At first it was too sweet for me (note that its just me, for drinks I prefer very little sugar, its my usual preference) so I requested to add some more ice and they were more than happy to do it.
Little funny story: As I reach out to the salad dish presented, i thought that the bottom part was either salmon or tuna sashimi! It turns out that it was watermelon *lol*. ( I told myself “We’re in a Filipino Cafe Jaey, duh?!”). I would recommend this if you love exploring new salad creations. It is very unique.
Next, my top favorite: Tinapa Cones – this was an ultimate winner! It’s an innovation of the popular crispy lumpia wrapper although this time it was shaped as an ice cream cone and filled with smoked fish mousse and salsa. Its a burst of flavors in your mouth!
Another option as appetizer is the Street Food Platter. The miniature cooking pan is filled with Fishball, Squidball, Kikiam and Dipping Sauces. You are definitely in for a nostalgic treat!
If you are looking for a crowd pleaser, order their newest Lengua Pastel, its their version of chicken pastel. The Pie Crust was victorious on creating the balance between a flaky and soft pastry and it was intensely buttery specially when immersed with the lengua. Im literally drooling as I recall the moment we tasted this.
No Filipino feast is complete without Crispy Pata. It has chunks of pork knuckles served with soy sauce mixed with a kick of citrus. Meanwhile, I wish I could’ve tasted the Bagnet KareKare!
You could never go wrong with Tortang Talong. It was not too oily and as flavorful as expected. They’ve also got other vegetable options too such as Pinakbet and Gising Gising.
Here are other dishes I regretted not trying, as they all looked so yum but I was on a food high already *lol*
For dessert, it sure delighted my happy tummy even more as they served us both the ube halo-halo and white halo-halo. I opted for the white one and it was truly a piece of gem as the fine milky ice melted straight as I took a munch. Pure heaven!
Bench Cafe’s cuisine indeed tells different stories of past, present & future making local tradition accessible to more Filipinos and Filipinos at heart! This cafe is perfect for families & group of friends!
Disclaimer and Transparency Clause: Information such as prices, dish ingredients, menu are subject to change without prior notice. I was invited to the media preview but this article is not paid and is based on a hundred percent “heyjaey” hands on experience and personal views. We may or may not be always on the same page but hey thanks for dropping by anyway! Feel free to drop in some comments/suggestions.