At first I thought that it was a bit odd for the Mandarin Hotel to open up a satellite branch of their deli so far away from their home base, and in Cubao, of all places. Cubao is a cross-section — literally and figuratively — of Filipino culture. It isn’t Makati, that’s for sure.
Still, if there’s one place in Cubao where the Mandarin Deli would be at home, it would be inside Gateway Mall, which bills itself as the “newest destination in shopping and entertainment.” It’s doubtful whether Gateway blends effortlessly into its environs ”“perhaps it’s not meant to. Being inside is like being in any other mall in Manila: the shops and restaurants are the same, save for a few.
The coffeeshop’s menu is focused on Asian cuisine, and is priced lower than at the hotel. There are plenty of salads, noodles (in soup and fried), rice dishes, and sandwiches; nothing too fancy and all familiar: char kway teow (P200); Hainanese chicken rice (P265); nasi goreng (P200); barbecue duck noodle soup (P195) traditional club sandwich (P180); and a burger with add-ons (P195)
With the familiar dishes come its more innovative counterparts. Take for instance, the merienda fare: kesong puti (P85) served not with pandesal (although that is available too), but with a salt stick or a croissant. Then there is the bibingka (P150) that can be served with a side of smoked salmon. Other welcome additions are the churros (P130), puto bumbong (P75), and guinataan halo-halo (P80).
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is known for their fine cheese, breads and pastries, truffles, and cold cuts — all on display for one to ogle. Have a sandwich of your choice made, and then bring home a bag of Danish pastries and croissants to eat for breakfast tomorrow.
There is also the added benefit of eating al fresco at this coffeeshop. Across the dining room is the Oasis, a circular atrium of lush foliage, overhanging plants, trees, gushing fountains, and a wishing well. The “floating garden” is ideal ambience for when the weather’s just right, and at night, when live entertainment will be performed.
Mandarin Oriental Café and Deli
Level 1, Gateway Mall
Beside Araneta Coliseum, Araneta Center, Quezon City
Open Monday-Sunday, 10am-9pm