JUNE 25, 2019

After-dinner sweet thrills

BY CHINO L. CRUZ
ILLUSTRATIONS BY CLARE MAGNO

UP Town Center is exactly the place to gather with friends and family for a hearty meal and a good laugh. It also just so happens to be the perfect spot to end the night with a sweet treat.

Does dinner always call for dessert?

You could argue that it isn’t totally necessary. You might be tempted to say that there is dignity in walking away from the path dusted in powdered sugar; that the nice dinner you had with your friends was just enough and you couldn’t possibly have another bite.

But as you walk along the tree-lined pavement of UP Town Center, friends and witty banter in tow, you will find that there is no space in your head to argue these things.

You will instead, think of sharing feathery piles of ice dribbled with sweet mango syrup as you unleash the stress of the workweek before. You will imagine scoop upon scoop of ice cream, rippled with chocolate and dripping with caramel, all of it made perfect for sharing. And you will remember exactly what makes UP Town such a sweet spot to begin with.

When the choices are as good as they are and the company is even better, why even bother fighting the urge? No one will blame you.

Here are some of our faves:

Yelo Yelo

Feel free to take a picture of this adorable spot, a little confection of a space decked in sunny yellow paint and a touch of greenery, but make sure to save some shots for the star of the show: halo-halo.

Yelo Yelo offers a colorful and wildly imaginative variety of flavors that range from old school (saba con mais) to fairly new wave (chocolate and popcorn halo-halo, anyone?) all served on finely shaved kakigori-style ice.

We won’t take it against you for sticking to the classic in all its Technicolor glory, though.

Yelo Yelo’s Buko Pandan. Illustration by Clare Magno

Manila Creamery

There isn’t anything quite like having to decide what to get at Manila Creamery. Does today seem more like a Mango Float Parfait Day or a Turon Gelatoshake Day?

Will you have a go at the luscious caramel depths of the Roasted Milk and Cookies or will the Strawberry Crunch pull you in its with winning mix of ripe red berries and crisp, salty cereal?

Regardless of what you pick, at the end of the day you’ll have yourself a scoop of Manila Creamery’s impeccable gelato and that in itself is a win.

Manila Creamery’s Mango Float Parfait. Illustration by Clare Magno

Nono’s

While Nono’s isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind when you think of desserts (not unless you consider their shatteringly crisp fried chicken a dessert), you’ll have to remember that their kitchens are run by Baba Ibazeta-Benedicto, one of the metro’s best bakers.

And cakes don’t get quite as good as what comes out of Baba’s ovens. If you do drop by, go for a slice of Strawberry Shortcake (light as air, just tart enough) or the rich, pitch-black Chocolate Oblivion.

Chocolate Kiss Café

Is there any need to discuss what Chocolate Kiss Café is?

As far as institutions go, Chocolate Kiss is something of a legend, its peerless image held together by the adoration of scores of UP Diliman graduates and the billowing ivory meringue that adorns its infamous Devil’s Food Cake.

And boy is that cake something to behold, its layers of soft chocolate sponge as dark as its meringue exterior is pale. If cake isn’t exactly your thing, try the Cookie-Brownie Sundae, though you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone ordering anything but cake for dessert here.

Chocolate Kiss Café’s Devil’s Food Cake. Illustration by Clare Magno

Kumori

Bread for dessert might seem like overkill, but only the dead would be able to resist the sweet, buttery aromas wafting from the open door of the warmly lit Kumori.

Inside you’ll find yourself faced with an incredible display of Japanese-style pastry, but make sure to set your sights on the Krones, flaky cylinders of puff pastry, each one filled to order with custard cream speckled with vanilla beans.

Your friends will ask you to share, but you probably won’t.

Kumori’s Krones. Illustration by Clare Magno

Visit all these featured shops at UP Town Center, open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Friday to Sunday.