Last weekend we had the opportunity to be one of the first to try out Uke Box Caffe, a newly opened coffee shop in Libis, Quezon City. Now this is not located in the busy area we all know as Eastwood, no – they are located across Ford and BMW, at the second floor of a white building curiously called 185 Village Center.
If you are bringing a car to Uke Box Caffee be warned, parking will be a challenge during peak hours. Cars double-park in the area, so may need to go out again after a while to re-seat your car.
If you are not familiar with the area you might easily miss it, but go here once and I guarantee you will never forget the place.
There are a lot of coffee shops in the Philippines however Uke Box Caffe offers a refreshing experience – stick around and we will tell you why.
Uke Box Caffe was established by three ladies – friends who left their corporate jobs to pursue their coffee-and-music dreams. Of the three, the theme inspiration comes from Apple Alegro, who picked up ukelele a few years back has been hooked since.
Ambiance: so novel, it reminds us of the hipster places in Session Road (Baguio)
Remember when I said you’ll never forget your visit? I will give you two reasons.
First, you have the ambiance. Forget about the ukelele theme, we already established that from the beginning. The cafe has a novelty to it that you cannot find in other shops. From the bean bag double-deck couches to the glass-encased hanging plants, the beach-themed photo corner, the wooden chairs that will kill your butt, the kitty bank that steals your coins (I mean tips), to the jolly mohawk-topped, tatooed barista and resident brew expert Mike.
This place is choc-full of novelty that will keep your senses satisfied for hours, and we haven’t even gotten to the food.
It is not a huge place, but it is long. The “stage” is placed right beside the entrance while the cashier and the display area is all the way on the other end, which I find a little awkward, but that’s my personal opinion.
It reminds us of the hipster places found along Session Road – every single one with its own unique appeal. I can see groups of students, colleagues, and friends hanging out and chillaxing in this place for hours. With a few orders now and then hopefully – we would not want them to go out of business, right?
Locally grown coffee meticulously ground and brewed upon order
Which brings us to the second reason: the food (quick disclosure – our food was sponsored by Uke Box Caffe). So let’s talk about why I thought the food was memorable.
I must admit that I do not know much about coffee – I have always been a tea person. Though I do know a bit thanks to my coffee-loving mom, my coffee fanatic friend Joe, and the show Breaking Bad.
But until I got to Uke Box Caffe the most I knew about coffee was Chemex. These guys use three types of equipment to prepare their coffee – the traditional espresso machine, cold brew, and a Japanese brand called Kalita.
Now that’s just the gear – the tools of the trade, if you may. I was delighted to learn that the folks over at Uke Box Caffee use locally grown single origin coffee beans from four locations: Sagada, Mt Atok, Matutum, and Kitanglad.
Now this is great if only for one thing – our local coffee plantations are dying. There may be a huge demand for coffee around the world but guess where they come from? Answer: not the Philippines.
You know those coffee plantations in Tagaytay? The land owners are selling them because they are not making enough. So they can either sell their product at a very low cost to the local instant coffee manufacturers or sell the land to be turned into some expat’s rest house.
So, back to Uke Box.
Beverages: Brewed Coffee, Iced Coffee, Espresso, Tea & Chocolate, and Ice Blended drinks
If it’s your first time visiting and you want to cool down from the heat outdoors I would recommend that you try the Cold Drip coffee. It’s really good, and while you’re at it don’t forget to check out the cold drip device.
For non-coffee beverages you can choose between ice-blended drinks like Green Tea Matcha (PHP 155), or house blend teas and chocolate such as Raspberry Iced Tea (PHP 90).
Pasta & Sandwiches
For food, try the Monte Cristo Sandwich (PHP 250). Similar to a french toast, the Monte Cristo is your classic ham and cheese sandwich, dipped in egg batter and pan fried, sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar for an interesting twist.
Dessert: Gelato & Pastries
For dessert, head over to the Gelato Station and choose from nine different flavors. Celina recommends that first timers go for Mascarpone Cheese. Personally, I prefer Sea Salt Caramel. One order costs PHP 120, which should be enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
For cakes, we were told the Ferrero Cake (PHP 210) is really popular, although they have their own Uke’s Signature Cake (PHP 185).
All roads lead to Uke Box Caffe
Our first visit to Uke Box Caffe left us with really good impression. The owners are really in touch with the food and the ukelele-powered music. The food does not disappoint, though it is a little pricey it is still competitive compared to the bigger coffee shops.
Considering you can literally chill in the shop for hours in the comfortable dining areas while learning ukelele, playing board games, or just chillaxing to some really good music.
From time to time you can even catch shows from groups like Comedy Cartel or chill out to jamming sessions from performers like Kai Atienza.
Uke Box Caffe serves good food and drinks in a very relaxed setting and these qualities make Uke Box Caffe a great place for dates, meetings and get-togethers.
Congratulatiosn to Team Uke Box and keep up the good work. We can’t wait to go back there again. ASTIG! \m/_
Disclosure: Uke Box Caffe invited us to their store opening where the food was sponsored by our gracious hosts (thank you Apple, Michelle, and Celina!).