It’s not uncommon for us to meet restaurant owners who venture into the food business because of one fact: the love of good food. For them, the restaurant becomes an extension of their home kitchen, with menus that include their favorites and reflect their preferences. Straying into Unit 8 café, we found this to be a fact. Tucked at the bayside of the Southeast Asia’s Mall, it promises unpretentious food with a simple philosophy: simplicity, elegance and freshness. Let’s see if the place lives up to that promise.
Lagal[og] said: It wasn’t easy to find the café as it’s located at the bayside of the SM Mall of Asia south wing. One of the advantages of this is that it’s far away from the mall crowds. We came on a Sunday afternoon and we had the restaurant all to ourselves which is great.
Ironwulf said: The interiors play on the colors of orange and green which are quite refreshing to the eyes. Space is just right and furnishings are fairly simple. They have electric outlets to plugin your laptops as wifi would soon be available.
Lagal[og] said: For starters, we had the Fruity Wonton Salad. Nice textures and touches here – the wontons are filled not with meat but with cream cheese that burst open with cheesy goodness. The veggies are fresh and crisp while walnuts and dried cranberries add crunch and some sweetness. The use of raspberry vinaigrette is another fruity touch.
Ironwulf said: That Fruity Wonton Salad is probably one of my faves here since I love the combination of the raspberry and cranberry flavors. And the Cream Cheese adds just the right saltiness to the taste. Also props should be given to them for giving us chilled forks to go with the salad for that extra touch of freshness.
Lagal[og] said: Probably, the best appetizer of the lot was the Fried Lasagna Rolls. I’ve seen roll-ups before but they were always baked. These ones are bite-size lasagna pieces fried (but not at all oily) and served with tangy marinara sauce. A word of warning though, this appetizer is very heavy. Try not to eat more than a piece to leave room for the main course.
Ironwulf said: I really liked the Fried Lasagna Rolls as well but the Chili Crusted Tofu isn’t far behind for me. Have to give plus points on how this one is presented. These blocks of tofu have a thin layer of cornmeal breading for that crunchiness and very good chewiness with each block. Dip it in the chili sauce for that full flavor. It’s a really good appetizer since it’s flavorful but light on the tummy. The bed of crispy noodles can also be nibbled on while waiting for the main dish.
Lagal[og] said: We can’t help but get a taste of the Crisp Fried Whitebait (Fried Anchovies). I like the way it was lightly fried and enjoyed having three kinds of dips: Asian Tartar, Soy Vinegar and Mango Aioli. Between the three, it’s a toss-up between the Soy Vinegar (very PInoy) and the Mango.
Ironwulf said: Love the Crisp Fried Whitebait as well but the Asian Tartar sauce gave me the right kick of flavor.
Lagal[og] said: One of the items we had for our main course was the Grilled Rib Eye Steak. Nothing really fancy save for the mushroom compote that comes with it. The price, however, offers good value.
Ironwulf said: The Fish Fillet on Light Soy Sauce was another well presented dish. It’s lightly flavored but for me, the taste of the dory could be more heightened. Make sure to dip the meat in the sauce for a better taste.
Lagal[og] said: Since we already had meat and fish, we felt we ought to have some chicken – the Asian Style Barbecued Chicken. Served in skewers, the chicken meat is very tender while the Asian-inspired barbecue sauce is not too sweet yet not too spicy.
Ironwulf said: Halfway through our meals we were served an Orange Granita to freshen up our palates. It’s an an orange sherbet with flavors naturally coming from the orange fruit since it’s packed inside a hollowed orange fruit. Served chilled, it’s a perfect neutralizer to refresh your taste buds for the next items.
Lagal[og] said: From the appetizers alone, we were full already. But eat desserts, we must. So we had the Frozen Mango Tango. This reminded me of a refrigerator cake, but a creamier one. Sherbet-like mango is layered in a glass with cream, cashew and graham crackers, then topped with whipped cream, mango balls and mango sauce. What I love about it is that it isn’t so sweet.
Ironwulf said: Unit 8 Café just opened last June. Being so new I find that the place is still searching for an identity. As it is now, it’s a cross between a restaurant and a café. For the dishes, I personally find that their strength right now is on their delicious and unique appetizers, but there are more items on their menu to try and maybe in a few months’ time, they would have a clearer direction on where they are heading.
Unit 8 café
Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia
Bay Boulevard, Pasay, Metro Manila
Tel. 804.0853, 334.7984 • Open during mall hours