Here at Geekend Gladiators we’re not only passionate about our comic books, movies and TV shows, but we’re also passionate about food! In our debut article, Gladiators Gino and Phoebe tried out this hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Caffe Piansa. To make things interesting, we decided to put ratings on five categories that we love in these types of restaurants to be given 5 points per category, totaling 25 points overall, these are: taste of the food, ambiance, service, affordability, and level of geekiness. Just a brief background, Caffe Piansa is a theme-restaurant. Its theme revolves around the court/jail theme. It’s owner is/was a judge, hence the iron bars, mug shots, and prison uniforms, even their menu embodied the whole theme. Having said that, let’s get down to business. First up,
Gino’s side: With the food ranging from pasta, chicken, pizza, pork, beef and others, Gino picked the Chicken Cordon Bleu with mashed potato and coleslaw (as pictured below). And for dessert we shared the Chocolate cake The verdict, the mashed potato was to die for. It was creamy and delicious, and the sauce on top, man that was some seriously mind-boggling taste. The sauce did a great job of providing added depth to the side dish. For the other side dish, the cole slaw, it tasted like how cole slaw should taste. It really didn’t leave that much of an imprint, but the good thing about it is that the slaw really didn’t ruin the dish itself. And for the main attraction, the Chicken Cordon Bleu, it was really good. The breading on the chicken was perfectly seasoned, and I somewhat tasted in the breading a particular ingredient, which Phoebe pointed out as grounded cereals, though we could be wrong, but it really accentuated the whole dish. Another highlight for the cordon bleu is the sauce. Ordinarily, restaurants would match the cordon bleu with ketchup or a thousand island sauce, but with Caffe Piansa the cordon bleu was topped off with a tomato based sauced with a pinch of Italian taste and with olives. To my surprise, the whole sauce and chicken really worked and resulted in a satisfying dish. For the chocolate cake, we didn’t know what to expect, but to our surprise it was really, really good. The cake was light, even the mousse on top was really light. It wasn’t too sweet, nor too bland. It was right there in between, making it a hit for us. The cocoa powder on top helped counter any sweetness that may exist in the cake. For this, I give the food a 4.5/5 Phoebe’s side: Phoebe chose the Gas Chamber. Yep, you read it right, Gas Chamber. It is a black fettuccine pasta with chicken schnitzel and drizzled with chopped fried garlic. First off, the pasta. Black fettuccine pasta, drizzled with olive oil and chopped fried garlic, that combination alone does wonders to ones palate, what made it better was the chicken schnitzel. Make that, traditional chicken schnitzel, as what the menu claimed. The breading on the schnitzel is just like that of the cordon bleu that Gino had, however, it was enveloped with melted cheese, the combination of the chicken and the cheese was perfect. The schnitzel with the pasta was divine, at first we ate it separately, pasta first then chicken, however, when we tried to eat them together, a slice of chicken and the pasta in one bite, it was close to perfect.
For this I give the food a 4/5 Next up,
Gino’s side: From the moment I heard about this place, I was really excited to try it out. And once we entered the restaurant, I was not disappointed. The whole judicial system theme was apparent. From your waiters wearing prisoner clothes, to the booths separated by jail bars, a bench and bar at the end of the room where the barista-judge sits. Then there’s the electric chair section, the bench where you get to choose between prosecution and defense, and the famous mugshot section. And personally for me, this is the main draw of the restaurant, the mugshot experience. And yes, I enjoyed getting my mugshot with my partner in crime. Aside from that, posters also gave the diners some useful trivia about the judicial system. I’m also going to highlight the clever puns used by the resto in its menu. From the forcible entree (forcible entry), tortured pizza, adulterous pasta, and the like.
I give it a 5/5 Phoebe’s side: I first heard about the restaurant in a television show, I believe it is one of the first themed restaurant in the Marikina area. I was ecstatic to find out that there is a themed restaurant in the city where I live in, I was like, #AWESOME. When we arrived at the place the first thing I noticed was that, from the outside it looks like any other restaurant. The building’s facade was like that of a residential house, if you didn’t notice the signage you would think that it is just an ordinary house. But as always, looks can be deceiving, once you entered the place, you will be greeted with the iron bar enclosures, which serves as a division of sorts for the tables. As Gino said, there is an area for taking mugshots, an enclosure with an electric chair, which is non-functional of course, and that section of the room with a bench and a bar. For the uninitiated, the place would be a shock to the system because it really is one the closest thing to a prison. If the jail bars weren’t enough, the uniform of the waiters/servers was like the prison uniforms of old, the black and white striped uniform we usually see on TV. We wanted to experience the electric chair, however that section was occupied by another couple. I give it a 4/5
Gino’s side: Service was also good. At first I thought the waiters weren’t really that accommodating, but then again I realized that they were staying in character. In fact, they were really courteous during our stay. They were even willing to assist in taking the mugshots, which was pretty cool. Food service was also good. The orders were correctly taken and served. Overall a really professional crew they got there. But really, break character once in a while guys. 4/5 Phoebe’s side: The service was good. The waiters were acting like real prisoners, which kind of daunting. I know they’re not real prisoners, and I know it was just an act, but I felt awkward when they took our orders. Yes, they were pleasant, polite, and helpful, but at the back of my mind I was thinking, this is not right. But I realized, that’s the point of a themed restaurant, you have to feel the experience, if you didn’t then you’d know they failed. Service time was shorter than what I expected, or maybe I just got used with the 15-20 minutes serving time in other restaurants, the food arrived just as we were finishing our mugshots, so that’s like 10-15 minutes. I give it a 4/5
Gino’s side: At first when you check online for their menu, you’d stop and say this is a little pricey. For one, I really thought that a meal for two would cost around PhP1,000.00, but to my surprise it was less than that. We ended up paying around PhP700.00 for our meal. Not bad! I really had to check whether they computed it wrong or not, because the food was really that good and I enjoyed my dining experience, hence the expectation of an expensive meal. I give it a 5/5 Phoebe’s side: Gino was paying so I wasn’t really that concerned with the price. Kidding! Of course I checked their menu online, I don’t want to pay extra in case either of us ordered too much. But joking aside, I wasn’t really expecting that for Php700+ we got to enjoy one of the best meals we ever had. I should have ordered that Forcible Entree. Dang it! I give it a 5/5
(For the full menu you can check out their facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/caffepiansa)
Gino’s side: In the words of my Jedi master Yoda, the Geek factor is strong in this one. Sure, it’s not your comic book type of geek, but it’s a law student’s/lawyer’s type of geek. From the novelty items of the bench, bar, electric chair, the jail cells, the mugshot section, all types of nerditude were reached. For me, it’s the perfect place to dine for those in the legal profession, and for those who adore the legal profession. For that, its a 5/5 for me.
Phoebe’s side: Themed restaurant done right. It’s not for all geeks, but any geek would love it. Imagine you can have that awesome geeky mugshot without actually going to prison. Highly recommended to lawyer geeks or lawyer-wanna-be geeks, actually, highly recommended to all types of geeks.
I give it a 5/5
Overall, the Geekend Destination Rating for Caffe Piansa is 23/25 Stars! A must-try restaurant.
Caffe Piansa is located at Dragon St., San Roque, Marikina City. Its open from 11:00AM – 2:00PM and 5:00PM – 10:00PM
Gino is the Gladiator’s resident TV and Comic book reviewer. He is a lawyer in the making at day and full on geek at night. He believes that the lightsaber is the best weapon during a zombie apocalypse. #AgeOfTheGeek Phoebe is a lawyer wannabe and moonlights as Gladiator’s all around girl and resident foodie. She usually dabbles in arts and crafts, and loves writing about the dark side of the moon. #Awesome