Went there yesterday. We thought parking would be a nightmare but wasn’t. There are three separate parking areas. The first was full and as we were waiting for our turn to go inside the second one, a man in a motorcycle (MMDA, husband said) advised us to go to the 3rd parking slot, a few meters away. We did just that and parking was a breeze. Parking fee -P20. A bit messy in the sense that it was not paved and had puddles of rainwater, but parking nonetheless. halfway to the mall, a mall security guard approached us with an umbrella. Felt so special being so treated in the heat of the noonday sun. He did the same on our way back to parking later on.
There were a few establishments already open on the ground floor – Vanilla Cupcakes, Family Mart, Cafe Shibuya (?), Ryu (owned by Regine and Ogie, someone said), Highland Coffee. There’s a tiny elevator which we took to the second floor. I hope able bodied beings will not use it so the geriatric and PWDS will not have competition. Upstairs our first option was Casa Verde but we were 9th in line, so no. We saw a few other eating places, among them Pinac (my sister who ate there said she saw Nino Laus’s name listed among the owners, Nino of Ninyo’s fame) but that too was full. I can’t recall what other restos were open but to cut a long story short, we ended up in The Primary where Mr. Payumo who used to be (still is) with SBMA was having lunch with a few others.
The beef salpicao was really good – so tender and tasty. That was our appetizer. Son ordered chicken with pita bread – that was wonderful. Tasted like Ninyo’s. Husband ordered blue marlin which was served with rice and veggies on the side. He said it lacked flavor but I thought it was all right. I ordered shrimp in a sack which was highly recommended – in fact I saw two other tables that had it as well. I found this dish lacking in flavor. The menu said it was spicy – I didn’t detect that. An order is P900 and comes in a bowl containing a plastic bag full of shrimps in orange broth with lemon slices. Don’t think we’ll order that again. The chicken and the beef definitely. I forgot. We ordered chicharonnes because I thought it would be like chicharon. Dumb, I know. But well, it was bacon fried to a crisp served with malt vinegar. Bacon is expensive so the chicharonnes wasn’t cheap. Best to cook and eat bacon at home therefore. Just look for malt vinegar in the supermarket. I didn’t find any in Rustan’s Katipunan but maybe I just didn’t look hard enough.
For dessert we had ice cream in Family Mart. P15 for my vanilla, P25 each for the mixed and P25 for the green tea. The heat was such that son and I disposed of our cones before finishing them as the ice cream was dripping.
We explored the mall a bit and saw white and blue balloons inside iHop but this wasn’t open yet. The Tea Room was open and had some customers but it is located in a somewhat obscure corner of the mall it might be missed. There’s a Vietnamese resto behind on the ground floor beside an as yet closed burger place. By the way, note that the restos accept cash only being all in the soft opening stage.
A friend we had dinner with recently said there will be 4 cinemas in UP Town Center. That’s certainly something to look forward to!