Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory Café
G/F East Wing, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Oranbo, Pasig City
Contact: 7746-0973, 0936-979-4369
Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday to Thursday), 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) You probably know Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory for a couple of things—namely, their savory-sweet cheese cookies, creamy cheesecakes, and rich soft-serve from their frozen dessert venture Cow Cow Ice. You can now add these fluffy pancakes to the list, as the Japanese company’s recently opened the second branch of their first-ever standalone Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory Café at Estancia Mall.
The Estancia branch is smaller than the original Ayala Malls Manila Bay outpost—but it maintains a feel that’s as rustic as it is cozy, with wooden accents on the ceilings, tables, and walls. Going beyond their old roster, the café puts both sweet and savory items on the spotlight, all with an overarching yoshoku (Japanese-style Western food) theme.
They’ve got proper fried spuds in the form of the House Potato Chips (P180), which is just thick enough that you get a resounding crackly crunch—but what really brings it to new heights is the nori-spiked aioli dip served alongside. Alternatively, there’s the Sweet Corn Tempura (P260), which is crisp on the outside and fluffy within, full of sweet and juicy corn in every bite, and served with an umami truffle mayonnaise for a kick.
The lines between East and West continue to blur in the Pork Mille-Fuille Furai (P390). Sure, it might remind you of tonkatsu at first glance with its crisp, panko-crusted fillet, but cut into it to reveal pork layered (hence, mille-feuille, which means “thousand layers” in French) with basil and mozzarella cheese. Tomato sauce and a truffled mash on the side reinforces the European theme, but it all comes together into a cohesive mix of flavors. The Molten Mozzarella Hamburg (P440), on the other hand, is a more Western-leaning plate of pork-and-beef sliders stuffed with mozzarella and laid down on mini brioche buns, Hamburg sauce, romaine lettuce, and tomatoes.
But it’s in the sweet side of the equation that Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory really shines, starting with the much-advertised Japanese pancakes. It’s worth the hype—and the waiting time (it takes 20 to 25 minutes to make, as the pancakes are cooked right upon order). They arrive tall and perky on your table, jiggling buoyantly when you give your plate a light shake. Much like a soufflé, they’re amazingly light and fluffy, just about melting in the mouth as you place it on your tongue. Huge as a serving may appear, they’re so light on the palate that you’d be surprised at how easy it is to finish an entire portion. Go for the tart Summer Berry Pancake (P315) with a mixed berry compote and nama cream if you’re after a more refreshing bite, or the more decadent Crème Brulee Pancake (P265) with a sweet-salty vanilla anglaise and torched sugar if you really want to treat yo’ self. Mind you, these pancakes deflate as time goes by—so gobble them up quick!
Texturally distinctive, too, are their waffles, which are crunchy on the inside but light and airy on the inside. In the Cheese variant (P265), sweet and savory mingle with a mix of cheddar cheese, a parmesan crisp, nama cream, and syrup. Go ahead and pour that syrup all over.
You might be feeling stuffed by this point, but we can’t wrap this up without gushing about another star on their menu. Behold: the Milk Pie (P100/piece, P500/box of five). Imagine the lightest, flakiest pastry exterior surrounding a choux pastry puff, filled with billowy, barely sweet Hokkaido milk cream. Only the finest Japanese ingredients go into each baby, and each batch takes three hours to make. Sadly, they do sell out quick, so your best bet is to grab a box if you get the chance.
More than the Japanese-inflected flavors, what really makes Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory’s dishes shine is the execution—the attention they put to detail and the use of high-quality ingredients—that make for stellar results.
Photos by Kit Singson