What led me to check out Caffe Bene in Eastwood last December 18, 2012 was my preconception of how Koreans take aesthetics and design seriously. From product packaging, architecture, fashion down to plastic surgery, I think Korea is one of the leading innovators of design along with of course, Japan and Sweden.
Take for example K-pop. It is almost impossible to see a group not clad in eye straining, almost hypnotising, brightly coloured clothes in every hue of the spectrum, plastered with clashing prints, or wrapped in leather and latex coupled with statement accessories, but somehow these combinations work. It’s either their stylists are pure geniuses or their marketing and promotions department know their craft too well.
Caffe Bene is just that – worthy of praises for it’s interiors and ambiance.
I scanned through the menu of what this cafe had to offer – hot and cold coffee and non-coffee based drinks, pastries, ice parfait and gelato(!). Being the first timer that I was, who came in unprepared without reading any reviews, I set aside my apprehensions and decided to ask the barista what their best seller is.
She suggested Misugaru, the bestseller in their line of drinks.
What I ordered:
So I trusted the barista and got iced Misugaru.
According to their website Misugaru is a combination of “black seeds, black beans, black rice, brown rice and barley”. Just by the ingredients listed, my (decent) description for Misugaru would have to be: very thick in consistency, nutty in flavour, grainy in texture and healthy overall.
After forcibly gulping down almost 2/3 of this power packed goop of a drink, my insides still had space for more but my head, which was starting to throb, was telling me not to. It must have been the grains seeping through my brain (I’m kidding of course).
Here’s my final verdict: Misugaru tastes like roasted puffed rice (ampaw) mixed with heaps of baby formula. Look for other healthy, multigrain drink options.
Would I buy this again? Maybe… or probably not. I don’t know. I might give this another chance but I’d probably get the hot version. Perhaps the heat would overpower the taste. It’s kind of like, paralyzing my tastebuds for the time being, making the nutty flavour less pronounced.
I also got Peanut Butter and Banana Pie to go with my drink.
(Photo’s not mine, by the way. Credit goes to the owner.)
I was expecting to find chunks of banana thrown in somewhere in this peanut butter treat but to no avail. It seems that peanut butter and banana were combined in a blender to make the filling, as it was not creamy as regular peanut butter, and certainly not the natural type, which is much thinner in consistency. This had a creamy and sticky feel to it. There are also bits of peanuts in it.
Only the universe knows that I have an undying love for peanut butter (also cheese) . In fact, if you are following me on Twitter, you’d find some tweets in which I profess my love for it. However, if peanut butter has solid pieces of nuts in it, I usually stray away from it.
Overall, this pie’s worth a try. I like it sans the peanuts.
One of my friends D. just had an appointment with her dentist the night before so she opted for waffle as it’s supposedly relatively easy to chew.
The very unappetizing photo of the waffle with a dollop of strawberry gelato on the left had undergone severe torture. You could only imagine what a burnt waffle went through.
My friend and I waited more than 10 minutes (which should not have been the case for there were barely any people around at that time) for this rock solid waffle. Considering the fact that there is a scoop of gelato on top, I thought that it would help soften up the waffle but it just melted away to the sides. The very rough and tough exterior was still impossible to cut through.
She even tried stabbing the thing just to see if the knife would penetrate it but still nothing happened. Then how was she able to consume a part of it? By slicing through (with much force, mind you) the golden/unburnt parts, obviously ha ha.
I can’t give any comment on the taste since I wasn’t able to try it but as my friend said the gelato’s okay.
My other friend M. bought Caffe Mocha which “tastes like Swiss Miss”. Sorry folks, no photo!
Some of the baristas seem like they don’t even know what they’re doing. Why do you even ask for your customer’s name if you would forget about it and decide to have a guessing game of match the order with the customer? I understand that it has not been a month since the cafe opened, but you did have at least some sort of training, right? Sorry for ranting but after the burnt waffle and the inefficient customer service I received from the cashier (who I think was lost in his/her own world), I think this criticism is justifiable. I sincerely hope that early next month, the service would improve because I would like to visit again.
Caffe Bene is the place to go to if you want a more relaxing environment than your usual Starbucks or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, but not for coffee. The cafe is furnished with rustic wood finishing, a mural and some books. You’re paying money for the utility costs but not for the food.
With all that off my chest, I sincerely hope that early next month, the service would improve. I’d be lying if I say that I would never visit this cafe again. Maybe I just had a stroke of bad luck with choosing Misugaru – the drink that I ended up hating. Anyway, to each his own.
Caffe Bene is located at Eastwood City Walk 2, Libis, Quezon City.