I’ve always noticed Cable Car, but I’ve never had a chance to try it. And I almost didn’t get to, even before I got an invite from Zomato Philippines. According to the bar’s part-owner Sherwin, he and his co-owners swooped in just in time to save the almost-closing restaurant chain a few years ago. Now, it continues to provide party goers with a venue for drinking, lively music, and beer pong. But I wasn’t there so much for the party scene as for the food, so armed with an empty stomach, I went into the recently opened Ortigas branch.
Cable Car has a very chill vibe, with lots of wood and industrial lighting, and its location close to Ortigas’ business district makes it an ideal spot for a night out after work. It was a little hard to pin exactly the theme they were trying to exude, though; I was really getting into the rock music they were playing, until John Mayer suddenly piped from the speakers. The place is pretty big (it has alfresco seating as well as a loft), which should be good for weekend parties.
Sherwin presented us with a variety of items they’ve pre-selected from their menu, starting with the Diablo Fries, which were tossed in some spice and topped with shrimp. I liked the heat, but the dish was a bit too sweet for me. The shrimp topping, which I’d never seen done with fries before, were cooked nicely.
Sorry I can’t say the same for the Shrimp Scampi. The pasta was nicely cooked and I enjoyed the herby flavor of the entire dish, but the shrimp pieces here were kind of mushy.
I liked the Buffalo Rice, which kind of reminded me of chicken a la king. It was creamy with tender pieces of chicken, though with a name like “Buffalo Rice”, I was hoping for some heat, which wasn’t there.
The Sr. Gripman Burger was huge; it looked like it could feed two. It was just a hair salty, which I guess would be perfect if you’re tossing back a beer with it. I was also disappointed that it wasn’t as juicy as it looked.
The Heartbreaker Pizza, according to Sherwin, is Cable Car’s bestseller. They were very generous with the cheese and meat topping, which I appreciated. I also found the thin crust nice and crunchy. What I didn’t like, however, was the tomato sauce was, again, a bit sweet.
The Baked Potatoes I liked. Smothered with cheese, ham, and bacon, you’d expect them to be salty, but they weren’t.
Cable Car had a different approach to Tokwa’t Baboy, making it crispy and dry instead of the kind we’re used to buying in congee restaurants. I thought it was a unique version, but couldn’t really get past how dry it is.
The Seafood Rice is Sherwin’s favorite, he said, and it was easy to see why. It had a nice kick of spice and was well-seasoned. Even with its smattering of the dreaded bell peppers, I actually enjoyed this. It is a little sweet as well, but an additional hit of hot sauce took care of that.
So, while the food was OK, Cable Car as a whole didn’t appeal to me all that much. It’s probably the whole party scene thing, because it’s not really something I seek out when I think of a fun night with friends. On the other hand, if you’re in need of a bar where you can toss back a draft while tossing some darts and ping pong balls, you’d feel right at home.
Overall rating: ★★★☆☆
The Sapphire Bloc, Sapphire Corner Onyx Corner Garnet Road,Ortigas, Pasig City
Disclosure: This visit was organized by the restaurant’s management in cooperation with Zomato Philippines. The opinions expressed in this post are based on my own experience and were in no way influenced by said groups.
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