Somehow, the magic of food and film are frequently fused together. There is Like Water for Chocolate, an enchanting Mexican realist drama magical which depicts the sensual power of a recipe; Chocolat, whimsical tale where a certain sweet, cacao based substance wins over closed hearts; and Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman, whose central character is a master chef whose only real means of communication with his daughters is via the elaborate Sunday dinner he cooks for them every week.
It was therefore not surprising that internationally acclaimed filmmaker Brillante Mendoza has opened a café in the Centerstage compound in Mandaluyong, his film production studio.
Many may not know it, but Mendoza, the first Asian to win the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009, is a foodie who appreciates good food. He is, after all, from Pampanga, the culinary capital of the Philippines.
While attending film festivals abroad, he noted that “there is usually a place where artists or filmmakers can meet and eat, drink, have coffee. A place where they can talk about films, food, and more.”
This is what Mendoza had in mind when the opportunity to open a café with chef Allan Garcia, another Kapampangan who had previously worked in Singapore and Thailand, came about. The result of this coming together is Filmfest Café.
Featuring black and white interiors with a movie motif, the café, which was personally designed by Mendoza, is a throwback to his days as a film production designer. There are posters from international film festivals Mendoza has attended; specially designed table lamps that highlight his films; as well as movie memorabilia.
As for the café specialties, they are also quite something. There is the delightful sushi shaped Fresh Spring Roll; rice meals of Bagoong Rice, Seafood Rice, Crabmeat Rice, Pineapple Rice; melt in the mouth Baby Back Ribs; and crispy Kare Kare. Not to be missed is the Trio Pasta, which brings together its signature pastas—Mushroom and Ham Carbonara, Pesto Linguine, and Meatballs Spaghetti.
It also has a special version of the Thai dessert Sticky Rice with Mangoes with Mendoza’s special touch; as well as Strawberry Margaritas and Frozen Margaritas to cap a hearty meal.
Since it opened late last year, Filmfest Café has become a gathering place where friends and family members get together for great food and great movie talk.
The Filmfest Café and Restaurant is located a 947 Busilak Street, Barangka Drive, Mandaluyong City and is open Mondays to Saturdays, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.