East Cafe: A Myriad of Distinctive Asian Flavors

A hidden gem inside Rustan's Makati is a restaurant that boasts of a well-curated menu {by Chef Him Uy de Baron} of fine Asian dishes: East Cafe

It's located at the ladies section on the second floor of Rustan's Makati. The moderate-sized dining room has a blithe atmosphere with aptly placed furniture and soothing music. In other words, it's the kind of place you want to go to if you want these two things: good food + semi-seclusion.

Salt and Pepper Crab Salad East Cafe Rustan's
Salt and Pepper Crab Salad  PhP 260

I'm sold with the soft shell crab alone. The well-seasoned fried crustacean lies on top of a ragout of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, chunks of fresh mangoes, and drizzled with aioli dressing. The flavors were perfectly balanced - mix of salty, spicy, tangy, and sweet. Considering the price, this dish {as well as the others} is properly portioned.

Roast Pork Salad East Cafe Rustan's Makati
Roast Pork Salad  PhP 290

The roast pork salad had a nice symmetry of ingredients and flavors. The Vietnamese basil dressing was evenly distributed, giving the chassu pork, cherry tomatoes, cucumber basil, and glass noodles a lovely tang.
Salmon Belly Lollipops with Pineapple and Cilantro Salsa East Cafe Rustan's Makati
Salmon Belly Lollipops with Pineapple and Cilantro Salsa  PhP 380

This was a definite table favorite. With all its superb qualities, it didn't surprise me that this was one of the dishes that was consumed immediately. The distinct taste of the buttery smooth and soft salmon played very well with the sweet and salty glaze plus the tanginess of the pineapple and cilantro salsa.  

Crispy Beef Ribs East Cafe Rustan's Makati
Crispy Beef Ribs  PhP 650

The Crispy Beef Ribs was another one of the dishes at East Cafe I'd gladly re-experience. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy ribs because the austere mix allows the true essence of the meat to shine through.  The dry appearance was immediately dismissed upon first bite. The meat was succulent, tender, and was penetrated with good flavors right down to the bones. I wasn't planning on having a go with steamed rice that day, but when I tasted this, I had to get a couple of spoonfuls from Hefty Foodie

Fried Whole Lapu-Lapu with Mapo Tofu East Cafe Rustan's Makati
Fried Whole Lapu-Lapu with Mapo Tofu  PhP 525

Another dish that will put a dent to your 'no rice' rule. The deep fried lapu-lapu with mápó tòfu will arouse dormant taste buds in a pleasurable snap. 

Sumaki East Cafe Rustan's Makati
Sumaki  PhP 325

God, I love this one! I've always had a propernsity for revamped Filipino desserts, and this one is, without a doubt, a national treasure. Sticky sumaki chunks {purple yam and sticky rice} with mango chunks, doused with sweet coconut sauce, and flecked with latik {coconut curds} was already pleasurable enough to devour. The addition of Pinkerton ice cream cemented its magnificence.

Molten Chocolate Cake East Cafe Rustan's Makati
Molten Chocolate Cake  PhP 205

There was nothing predictable about the Molten Chocolate Cake despite it being a typical dessert. The lure begins in the first forkful - with or without the Pinkerton ice cream. The soft crust comes alive with a rich liquefied center. This is delicious, but if I had to choose between the Sumaki and this one, I'd go for the former in a heartbeat.

The dishes we tried that day didn't just place a strong emphasis on the presentation and then left the flavors meek. A big, big turn-off. Theirs was a good complement of factors, making East Cafe a go-back-to place.

Quality: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Ambiance: 3/5
Cleanliness: 4/5

East Cafe
2F, Rustan's, Glorietta Complex, Ayala Center
Ayala Avenue, Makati City 1226
Contact Nos.:  (632)812.02.33/(632)813.37.39

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