In our constant search for places to chill in Baguio, fate (and a friendly invitation) has brought us to Kobe Cafe the newest, hippest place to be. Situated in the Third Floor of ECCO Building in Assumption Road, its location is perfect for students and CBD workers to spend time after dismissal or during long breaks.
Upon ascending the stairs or using the elevator to the third floor, it’s hard to miss the vibrantly colored cafe. There’s even a a cute little bike that welcomes you in.
Among the many things that wowed us were the walls. The walls do the talking, with Japanese, American, and Italian scenes painted in their respective art styles.
The dining area is also divided into two. You may choose to go shoe-less in their Japanese table set up, or dine Italian-style on their creatively crafted tables. Take a peak and you’ll even find a tiny bit of the beach inside these tables.
And now for a brief history lesson on the Kobe Cafe. Many decades ago, in just around the same area, there used to be a small but popular eatery called the Kobe Kitchen, owned by an old Japanese man. But when the war against the Japanese took place, his business was destroyed, not by bombs or gunfire, but by discrimination. The Kobe Kitchen closed down, and no one heard from the old man again. Sad as the story may be, it serves as the inspiration behind Kobe Cafe, and just as the plaque says, hopefully that old man “is smiling from above.”
Of course, as much as the artsy-ness (not a real word, but we’ll use it anyway!) of the cafe satiated our hunger for good ambience and interior design, it was time to satiate the non-metaphorical kind of hunger in our bellies.
But first, let’s take a moment to appreciate their plating. And yes, that is a straw hat upon which the sushi rests.
Zooming in, Kobe Cafe’s sushi isn’t just your average sticky rice, nori, and crab sticks. What makes it absolutely special is that it contains two fruits special to Baguio – strawberries and blueberries. The tangy-ness of the strawberry really stands out, and the blueberry just bursts inside your mouth. Topped off with some salmon flakes, we already were filled with just a few of these.
We mustn’t forget the wasabi and soy sauce for that extra kick!
Moving on to their next dish, the very flavorful Chicken Teriyaki. The chicken was really tender, and marinated to juicy perfection. We didn’t even need rice because of the sushi. The salty-sweetness of the teriyaki plus the tangy-neutrals of the sushi complimented each other really well.
The Tagliolini (pronounced with a silent ‘g’) is the dish for shrimp lovers everywhere, and if you aren’t into shrimp, Kobe Cafe’s Tagliolini just might change your mind into ordering yourself a plate anyway. The pasta is cooked just right, unlike other restos which tend to cook it into mush. They were also generous with the shrimp – we counted five medium sized shrimps on there. Yay!
With those three dishes alone, we were already getting full. Good thing we were served the Kobe Cafe Lemonade to keep the appetite going. Infused with lemongrass, the drink was reeefreshing.
On the American side of the menu are the burgers, but still with a touch of Japanese cuisine as they aren’t served with regular burger patties. The Oven-Grilled Pork Burger, for example, had a really good amount of real, thick pork meat.
Plus the purple cabbage isn’t just there for garnish. We packed it into our chewy Kobe Beef Burger for an extra zing of flavor. And just a little FYI, the ingredients used by Kobe Cafe are directly shipped from Japan. Talk about genuine!
Lastly we had the Fish Burger, made with love and a chunk of Cream Dory, which is a lighter variant among the other burgers we had.
Aside from the lemonade, we had a couple of cups of Matcha Green Tea Latte. Though some of us would have preferred it sweeter, we really loved the cream frosting on top, which reminded us of fluffy cake icing.
And there’s always ALWAYS room for dessert, especially if it’s matcha-flavored. The Choco Matcha Cake was, dare we say, to die for. The cake was moist. as. fudge., and the oozing matcha frosting dolloped with cream was simply divine. There’s no better way to end a meal.
Behind all the scrumptious food we had was Chef Serena, who is only 23 years old! Serena took up culinary school in Makati, and she worked in Japan at an Italian restaurant, which probably explains why she cooks the pasta so perfectly. She also specializes in pastries. One of those specialties are her mini cupcakes which are only P5 a piece!
The mini cupcakes come in rose, matcha, and ube flavors. They’re so small and cute! We especially liked the rose cupcake.
More of Chef Serena’s pastries are muffins and cookies. Don’t the cookies look flawless?
The artist behind the gorgeous murals of the cafe is Keziah, who we had met in one of Workshop Central‘s activities. Keziah said it took her about three weeks to complete all three murals.
On another note, there is also an outdoor area for those who want a more breezy dining experience. It’s also for those who need to step outside and take a breather.
Time really does fly when it is spent with good company.
We had a lot of fun experiencing three different kinds of cuisines in one sitting. There are a lot more food items we would love to try in the future, like the pesto and the brick oven pizzas.
Make Kobe Cafe your new tambayan! Their prices are really student friendly, and their unique food menu would be a more worth while experience than any ol’ fast food restaurant. Visit them now at the third floor of ECCO building in Assumption Road. They’re open from 10am to 8pm.