Have you ever had those days where you just can’t seem to get things right? I don’t know if its the eclipse but some unexplainable power has given me a one-day curse. Funny as it may seem to you all, my dear readers, but today, my luck has totally run out. I have been jinxed by the most powerful supernatural being there is out there.
I walk home feeling so down til I stumble upon this newly-erected Bench Cafe. It’s warm yellow lights allure with me desire like a siren calling a seafarer at sea. I climb the black-painted staircase leading to one of the most charming interiors I have ever laid eyes on.
Industrial lights reign the ceilings while the walls stand with frames of pastel images and shelves with plastic plants and vintage bottles. Everything is so put together in a very chic, New York-like vibe. When you look down, you’ll notice the tiles with very abstract patterns of black lines connecting with each other from one square to the other. Then I pan my eyes to my right and see this neon signage that says “Food not feelings” which I should clearly do from here til eternity.
The wait staff serves me with warm water infused with a citrusy punch. As I peruse the menu I’m holding, I find myself looking back and on both sides to marvel on this new hangout spot.
Bench cafe serves all Filipino dishes. They boast this “glamorized turo-turo” food and “Pinoy-style bentos”.
I decided to order palabok, one of my favorite noodle snacks and their classic halo-halo. I feel like I need to cool my spirit down. Maybe this is the intervention I’m heeding for.
The food arrived a few minutes later. They serve me palabok with lechon kawali, an egg and spring onions on top. I can barely keep myself from picking the pieces of fried shrimps delicately placed alongside the other garnish.
I twist my fork and slowly circle it to gauge some of the noodle, transfer the food on my small plate and start munching on it like a hungry hippo. The lechon kawali is crisp and tender both at the same time. The first bite feels gritty but the succeeding ones feel like a breeze. The noodle is as thin as an angel’s hair pasta but has managed to hold the flavors in tact. I almost forgot that the serving is meant for two. I am halfway through when I asked the crew if this meal is for sharing.
Then, I begin mixing the halo-halo. The hues of purple devour the once pearl-white crushed ice. Little by little, I take it in — bits and pieces. The creaminess of the ube ice cream makes it seem like the halo-halo is an actual frozen treat. The sweet flavor of leche flan adds a more tingly feeling to my every bite. After a few minutes, I reached the bottom of the cup while my mouth still craves for it. I want to order one more but it’s night time and I want to keep my strict diet as my resolution. Said no one ever.
I guess Bench Cafe has really honed the craft of creating sumptuous foods straight from the get-go. The thoughts of “I would like to come back the next day and order the other food off the menu that I have not ordered the previous night.” was very much felt as I walk out of their cafe.
I get my phone out and started to create this article. Maybe it’s some kind of an intervention by the universe because the words just keep on flowing.