By Michael Karlo Lim
My phone died two hours into a roughly five-hour crawl from Ayala to the end of the Earth otherwise known as Day-as, Cordova. The fear of missing out and the full moon funneled droves into a barrio two-way to a wharf end of 10000 Roses & More. Unfortunately, we included.
An hour, an armful of chicherias randomly purchased from the roadside stores and some leftover chicken and waffles later into what would have regularly been a three-minute breeze from the corner, we finally pulled into parking only to walk into a horde of selfie-stick wielding zombies. I’ve never been to Sirao but I’d imagine it to have been like this at the frenzied peak of its popularity.
People touching the LED-lit artificial roses, leaning into these, stepping over the nylon fencing line and wading into the enclosed area, breaking the plastic stems — all to get their preferred shots. No editing apps could make the majority of these mugs look remotely good and make up for their belligerent character and lack of respect for property. We saw some girl twirling a white silk rose on her fingers on our way in and, sure enough, there was a stalk left bare with only an LED glowing bright. Several, in fact.
Having plowed our way into the zombie horde, we finally made it to the actual cafe. The quick, empty-handed turnover at the counter foretold of Korean cafe pricing. We took a leap of faith on Gorgonzola Pizza and Bacon Pasta.
Items were presented on sleek, brushed steel serving ware. Hunger may have factored in but the pasta was a rather welcome tomato-based dish with a taste I’d best approximate as, or associate with, Korean cooking. Generous bits of bacon had me hankering for samgyeupsal. Gorgonzola is one of my favorite cheeses and their pizza reeked of its smelly-old-socky goodness and rich, melty mouthfeel. Served on the side, the mellow sweetness of the honey cuts through the saltiness of the cheese but it doesn’t clash with, in fact it enhances, the piquancy.
The two items hold much promise for the rest of the menu, but my return can only be guaranteed by easier passage. It’s a pity, though, that the ninety five percent who made the inconvenient pop pilgrimage just went for pictures and missed out on the genuinely good café food.