‘It feels like coming back home to the comfort of somewhere you’ve never been before.’
That was my thought upon first seeing the café. Outside, the design is simple and serene, a bit hidden from public scrutiny; a reminder of those countryside houses so ideal, they can mostly be found only in European-set films.
It’s all in the name — Corner Tree Café is a little space in the corner of a street, with a lone tree in front of it. It’s along Jupiter St., and beside the entrance is a note reminding visitors to be mindful of pickpockets.
Entering the place however, makes you forget about all that lurking danger outside. The lights were on the yellow tint and set a bit dim, letting a warm tone coat the already warm atmosphere of the homey interior.
Books above a sectional with corduroy-wrapped throw pillows; adds to the vibe of being comfortable and relaxed at home, basically ready to drink some coffee (or coco, if you’re on a decaf diet).
More throw pillows, this time with some prints. The velvet texture of the bench is an interesting mix with the wood and clean walls.
Afternoon coffee. Chase got his regular, plain brewed dose of Americano, while I ordered a mug of latte. Properly priced for pretty good quality. We immediately noticed the smooth texture and pure, whole roasted color.
Since my caffeine tolerance is low, I always prefer a bit of flavor. (Don’t judge me, please.) They separated the milk so I can measure on my own; this is always such a thoughtful gesture since everyone’s preference is different. The sugar provided is muscovado.
Fresh froth on my latte; tasty, and as Chase put it, “well-made”. I always trust the man’s opinion considering he’s from a family who’s a collective of coffee enthusiasts, haha.
Personally pleased with the menu’s selection since I’m on a pescatarian diet. It touches a part of my soul whenever I see restaurants lean a bit towards vegetarian-friendly food; even just a legend of what contains meat and doesn’t is already worthy of appreciation. Not only does selection become easier, it’s also a delight to explore different dishes here and there since vegan food is quite a step away from the mainstream of what we usually consume.
As for the food, we were served a bowl of red bean arroz caldo, some fried bananas, and a plate of grilled cheese.
Three slices of fried bananas. If they used 2 whole bananas, where is my 4th slice? Haha. Math aside, it was quite a comfort for a winding-down kind of afternoon. No hint of oil but a tad dry; the sprinkled herb (I think it was parsley) was a nice touch. There was also a sprinkle of salt that gave it a shocking aftertaste.
Always yes to cheese. The bread was beautifully toasted and the amount of cheddar was pretty decent. I enjoyed the greens on the side; it’s particularly interesting when eating both the sandwich and the salad at the same time, though a little less dressing would have been better.
I cannot even begin to describe how good the arroz caldo is. It’s made from red rice, with shiitake mushrooms, fried tofu cubes, crispy garlic and spring onions. If you’ve ever had regular lugaw as your comfort food at some point in your life, this is kind of like a major upgrade to that.
It was served warm, with properly cooked rice. Normally, I wouldn’t enjoy eating tofu (how ironic for someone who’s on a semi-vegetarian diet) but the way they fried their tofu was just incredibly satisfying. The texture is smooth, smells fresh, and just so comforting to eat. If you ever plan on trying this treasure, squeeze the slice of lemon and watch some magic happen in your life.
We would have tried some desserts to top it all off, but I personally am vying with sugar at this point of my life. Although I wouldn’t mind coming back to try the rest of what they have to offer.
Overall, Corner Tree Cafe is a place I would really recommend to people who would want to try something different yet at the same time, something familiar. Yes, it sounds like a paradox, but that’s exactly why I recommend it. They offer a quiet vibe should you and a friend need to catch up in private, or if you just need some time on your own to finish a book or two; they also provide alcoholic drinks for those times you might need to loosen up after a long day, and a unique twist on comfort food if you’re in an adventurous mood.
Whichever you might need, I can guarantee that a little bit of this place would definitely not hurt.