Cebu Dining: Fabulous Fifties Cafe at Crown Regency
Since we failed getting to Kukuk’s Nest and Outpost on Day 2, we thought we would get to do that on Day 3. Unfortunately, Day 3’s traffic was even worse (don’t even ask about Day 4). Our tour ended at around 3PM, but we got stuck on the road for a good three hours. By the time we got back to our hotel at 6PM, we were so out of energy, we didn’t want to leave anymore.
It was on Day 4 that we realized that, if it weren’t raining, we could have walked all the way back to the hotel for a good 45 minutes. Anyway, Cris mentioned that at the second floor of the hotel lies the Fabulous Fifties Café.
The café entrance. Can you read what the podium says? “Hot beer. Lousy food. Bad service.”
The service was actually slow that night, because guests were coming in droves. The Sinulog Grand Parade was supposed to happen the next day, which was why their only chef was on double-time mode.
I didn’t mind waiting, though.
As you can see, I was so engrossed in taking photos of the walls, which were full of 50s memorabilia.
At first, I thought that these were all foreign brands. Upon closer look, however, I realized that many of them were vaguely familiar. Go back two photos. Do you see the Cortal ad? I remember my grandmother having one of those at her old house in Pinamalayan, Mindoro. My maternal grandmother was a pharmacist. (During her time, pharmacists actually mix and create drugs from scratch.)
These advertisements weren’t familiar, though. I never knew that 7UP’s logo was red.
Paper for cigarettes and tobacco? I’m not sure what the sign is for. Beyond this area lie the restrooms. I was aghast to see clippings of 50s showbiz gossip in there. I couldn’t take photos because someone was changing her clothes when I entered.
Upon closer inspection, you can see that glossy copies of old periodicals were used as wallpapers. I had fun finding out which brands existed in the 50s. Mixing all the news and advertisements of the 1950s together and sticking them onto the walls should have resulted in visual overload. But for those voracious readers who are interested in what went on, these can be a magical sight.
These notes jarred me out of exhaustion. See, when we visited Museo Sugbo earlier in the day, we weren’t allowed to take photos of the exhibits. One of the artifacts showcased was a pile of old Philippine notes — both legal and illegal. Apparently, during the Japanese invasion, rebels had their own currency. That was a messy time, since Japanese soldiers would kill you on the spot if you were found possessing the illegal notes. On the other hand, if you refused to accept the rebels’ currency, they’d accuse you of being a Japanese sympathizer and…you wouldn’t want to know what happens next.
These notes, however, are from the American occupation. Notice that they look so much like US dollars.
Now for the food…
I swear I want to bring my own set of mini-lights next time. I can’t stand it when I can’t control food lighting. The restaurant’s lighting may flatter the decor but it makes the food look unappetizing…so I’ve decided to just make the food photos look vintage.
Mango milk shake. I don’t know if they ever served this in the 50s. It doesn’t seem likely. The food on the menu didn’t seem to match the restaurant’s theme.
Cris ordered ube milk shake. LOLWUT? She surprisingly found it delicious. I just took a small sip as I was too skeptical to drink more. She was actually halfway through it when I remembered to take pictures of the food. -_-;;;
Classic cheeseburger and fries. Do 50s diners serve these with watermelons? Apparently, it didn’t matter since Cris loved the burger as well.
My steak. I specified that I wanted it medium-well. They gave me medium-rare. (Late na nga, mali pa!) Gah.
Total damage was around PhP750. I guess it’s not bad since the burger is huge and the steak is okay. The meal, for me, is so-so. It’s not really the menu that I’d recommend when it comes to this place but the experience of going through a time-space warp. The various 1950s artifacts sparked a conversation that inspired a future design-related entry at Sarimanok.PH.
The waiter said we could’ve ordered via room service. True enough, we noticed that except for Cris and me, the entire restaurant was empty. Why would I want to do that when I could learn so much by just staring at the walls??
Fabulous Fifties Café is located at the second floor of the Crown Regency Residences Guadalupe:
V. Rama Ave, Guadalupe