Clockwork by UCC
G/F Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Pasig City
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Blue Bay Walk, Macapagal Avenue, Pasay City
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) We have no idea what UCC did that turned it into the tita capital of Manila—or when the conversion happened. When UCC opened on Tomas Morato in 1994, the first customers were the curious Chinese in the area who were checking out the complimentary coffee deal. Some time after, it became the base for ladies who lunch.
Then came Clockwork by UCC in 2014. It was owner Hubert Young’s idea to appeal the younger set, fighting for the concept before UCC's Japanese owners. The theme was constant reinvention—not just in terms of the vibe, but also through an adaptable menu that occasionally adds something new to look forward to.
Clockwork leans towards American comfort food, but always with a proverbial twist. For example, Canada’s pride and joy, the poutine, comes with a curry-spiked gravy and cubes of bell peppers—the thick-cut fries take so well to the extra whisper of spice tailing the usual salty savoriness. The Curry Cheese Poutine (P220) falls under the category “Dirty Fries,” flanked by other toothsome-sounding options like chili fries, mentaiko fries, and truffle fries.
Curry Cheese Poutine
Then, there’s the Steak Mac and Cheese (P750), which summons images of cheesy prime cuts socializing with cheesier macaroni. What arrives instead is a slab of juicy skirt steak cooked to a tasty medium rare and served with a mustard sauce. Right beside it, creamy macaroni emboldened by four cheeses—gorgonzola leading the pack. You get two levels of comfort food on one board.
Steak Mac and Cheese
Crab Cakes and Rocket
The Crab Cakes and Rocket (P450) may not be the most obvious choice alongside nachos, a cheese platter, and wings, but there are no regrets when it comes to the plush, pancake-y crab patty topped with a slightly spicy Japanese tartar sauce. The arugula salad gives it a burst of flavor to save the soft textures from being too overwhelming.
Tomato Beef Lasagna
Still, some classics are best left as is. The Clockwork Monte Cristo (P280) is a stunning assemblage of ham, American Jack, and fig jam, while the Tomato Beef Lasagna (P320) offers expected solace in the form of a small casserole. The light béchamel balances the sharp tanginess of the tomato sauce.
The kare-kare (P550) feels a bit lost in the originally Japanese cafe, but it’s hard to pass up the stunning flavors of oxtail lavished in sticky peanut sauce. The side of bagoong is delectably salty while Japanese rice makes this Filipino favorite all the more addictive.
Rib Eye Salpicao
If you want instant gratification by way of effortless eating, the Rib Eye Salpicao (P750) is simply irresistible. The cubes of steak soak up most of the special gravy; the flavor you get as it melts in your mouth becomes even more explosive. The toasted garlic rice is a must.
The Coco Mango Cake is always a part of the UCC adventure—whether you're at Clockwork or Mentore or Park Cafe—but you have to finish your meal with the Nitro Draft (P190). It’s a cold-brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas. Science aside, the end product gives it a foamy top and a creamy finish—it’s a bit like beer, but wth a different kind of kick. It's cool. Just like Clockwork.