Casa Roces is an ancestral house that can be conveniently found in front of Malacañang Palace (President’s place) in Manila. It is the oldest heritage site in the area, and it offers a classy ambience.
It’s not hard to spot this two-story grand house as it has been refurbished into a Filipino-Spanish casual-dining restaurant. It has been uninhabited but still well-maintained for about 15 years before its reborn.
It is also known as Kape Chino because it serves both as a restaurant and a cafe area. Not only that, the second floor serves as a gallery of sculptures and paintings that are also for sale. A younger generation of the Roces clan, works as an accessory designer so you can see a lot of her works on display for sale. It is a cafe restaurant and art and fashion gallery all at the same time.
Given its location, you can expect to find a lot of politicians and legislators dining or sipping coffee.
Apart from being a dining place, the café and function rooms serve as the gallery’s backroom. More pieces for sale fill their walls. Among them, at the waiting area for the restrooms on the second floor, a Juan Luna sketch.
Casa Roces gives us a charming alternative for dining and art. I was surprised at how busy they were, more so apparently in the evenings and on weekends. The President has been known to stroll over unannounced from across the street. You may just bump into him enjoying chorizo and other Spanish Filipino specialties, flavored by whatever the Casa Roces ladies have at the moment.
Of course, our sudden visit to Casa to celebrate our friend’s birthday will not be complete without sampling one of its best selling entreé: the Malacañang Frozen Soufflé (Frozen lemon custard souffle with chocolate flakes, pistachio nuts and lemon lavender sauce).
For a price of Php 390 per order (good for sharing), I must say, this was surprisingly good! It had the right amount of custard, the sweetness was tempered by the lemon, and the pistachio provided texture to the whole dessert experience.
Here at Casa Roces, everyone is welcome. There is no perfect time to visit Casa. As it is considered a home, anytime of the day is the best day to stop by. As Chef Menoy Gimenez said, this isn’t a fine-dining place, it’s a casa, a home. Guests have a great time and unintentionally overstay; that’s okay, we even reheat the food for them.”