New Restaurant Alert: Chaplin at Century City Mall, Makati
You'll never want to leave this cafe.
4/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City
Open daily from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.
(SPOT.ph) The cheesecake isn’t available and owner Yuval Mann is disappointed. It’s only lunchtime at the three-week old Chaplin and already the Crumble Cheesecake (P195) is unavailable. He’d been talking about it for a good five minutes, describing it as “the best cheesecake in the Philippines” and “life-changing” when Che, the server, tells him that they’ve run out.
White Chocolate Oreo Mousse
He consoles us (and maybe himself) with the Chocolate Soufflé (P240), which, not to take anything away from the elusive bestseller, is delightful: deep chocolate notes in warm forkfuls of what feels like molten chocolate cake complete with ice cream. You get the same good feelings from the White Chocolate Oreo Mousse (P220), a sweeter undertaking that's no less desirable.
It looks like a stand-alone restaurant.
Puns all over
At the fourth floor veranda of Century City Mall, Chaplin is a breezy escape from the hustle and bustle of the city below. Yuval points at the white wicker chairs on the outside deck. "Once you sit in those, you'll never want to stand up." Through the glass walls, you can see plush couches, cozy lounge chairs, and framed puns all over the wall: "A yawn is a silent scream for coffee"; "The more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap...Stay safe...Eat cake."
The quotes show just how much Yuvan has wanted to open a restaurant. "I've been collecting them for years. I have more left over!" says the self-confessed failed comedian.
Chaplin, named for that friendly, familiar, and approachable vibe, is a bit of a temptress. It doesn't go for that rustic abode that feels like your house. The clean lines, the bright natural light, the patterned tiles, and black wing chairs—its comfort feels very cosmopolitan. Once you go in, sink into one of those bespoke couches and notice the electrical outlets installed all over the space, you'll never want to leave. Kiss whatever you were planning on doing good-bye.
The menu is comfortingly Western, but there are definitely Middle-Eastern-slash-Mediterranean flourishes here and there. This early on, the Shakshouka (P295) is already proving to be a favorite. The ciabatta is baked fresh and it’s the best dipping vessel for this sizzling skillet of peppers, tomato sauce, and poached eggs. It’s a must to pierce the eggs and let the yolks gush out. The flavors shift from cumin-heavy tanginess to a creamy, rich sauce.
The Feta Salad (P445)
Many of Chaplin’s dishes come with a side salad, which is dressed in fresh, homemade pesto for that herby and fragrant appeal. Take that delicious medley of greens; add some feta; and it’s amazing how quickly cubes of salty, crumbly cheese can liven up a party.
That same pesto also makes its way to the Bourekas (P240). Think of it as an egg sandwich, but instead of white bread, you get an open-faced turnover. The crispness of that phyllo dough plays a nice little beat as you cut into it, and just when you find satisfaction from the combination of egg, tomato, and cheese, you get that little kick from the zesty condiment. It presents itself to your palate at just the right moment.
If you like crispy flakes, then you might as well take a Chocolate Croissant, too. The pastry is delicious, the butter complementing the deep chocolate beautifully. Even if you make it sit out a bit, you still get that crunchy reward.
Some dishes are closer to the Filipino heart. The Chicken Steak (P345), which is a grilled and marinated chicken thigh, is a slightly sweeter update on our own chicken inasal. There’s a lot to love in this simple dish.
Yuval gestures towards some shelves near the corner where they plan to sell freshly baked breads. They also intend on adding more items to the menu. "We're still working on more dishes and observing what our customers want," he says. All of this is part of their plan to make Chaplin the ultimate hangout destination. Unlike other restaurants that can't get their customers out the door fast enough, Chaplin does everything to make them stay. In fact, we’re afraid to try the cheesecake. We might never leave.
Photos by Sasha Lim Uy