Happy Hour at Benny’s Café in Rustan’s Makati (The Crispy Pla-pla Edition)

Ask me why I like to get my grocery shopping done at Rustan’s Supermarket in Makati and my curt reply will be Benny’s Café. I go to this superstore not because of the stuff they sell. True, I get high by reading the labels on countless imported goods from around the globe. But one would be crazy to shop here for the sake of buying every day supplies – Rustan’s tends to have higher prices for the same items one can find in SM, Landmark, or the good old palengke. Worse, Rustan’s wet section stinks too.

So, nope. I don’t go to Rustan’s Supermarket because it’s the best place to buy groceries. Sure, I get my deodorant and whatnot here but the real treat comes after I get past the counter as I head to Benny’s Café. It’s that eatery right next to the grocery area. Once upon a time, Benny’s exact same spot was occupied by a food shop called Yum Yum Tree. I’m not aware if they simply changed the name or they’re totally unrelated. But who cares, right?

The thing that matters is the food served at Benny’s Café. They offer Filipino and international classics. At first glance, you’d think this is another confused Filipino dining place. I wouldn’t blame you. After all, what kind of café lists crispy pata and pinakbet alongside ravioli and gnocchi as their specialties? Again, who cares? As long as food is good, then everything else is inconsequential.

Real Home Cooked Meals in Makati CBD

Benny's Café Crispy Pla-pla with Mustasa and Buro

Benny's Café Pork Sinigang

Benny's Café Steamed Rice in Banana Leaf

Benny's Café Steamed Rice

Ask yourself when was the last time you got a plate of delicious sotanghon guisado in the heart of Makati CBD. Never. Unless you had it delivered from, say, Max’s or Aristocrat. At Benny’s you get it freshly cooked. Pancit palabok? Ditto. Classic arroz caldo or pospas? Of course. Pork sinigang? You bet – with a healthy dash of culinary credibility just like mom’s (yours and mine).

Benny's Café at Rustan' s Makati

They also have delicately crunchy crispy pla-pla with titillating mustasa (mustard greens) and buro (fermented rice). To add a more rustic touch, the steamed rice comes wrapped in banana leaf cones. Remember to sniff before you dig in.

Indeed, anything goes at Benny’s Café. Once, I even ordered coffee and 250 grams of Parma ham. Crazy? Guilty as charged. But I bet even you won’t be able to help yourself when you see the wide selection of cheeses, hams and air-dried meats displayed right by the entrance. And yes, they have good brewed coffee, too. So next time you run out of tissue paper, you can choose to or not to buy at Rustan’s Supermarket in Makati, but you definitely owe it to yourself to eat at Benny’s.

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