Food Trip in Bacolod City: Café Uma
Before proceeding to Silay City on our second day of touring the Negros Province for the media preview of the 2022 Negros Trade Fair, we dropped by Café Uma for lunch. Situated right around L’fisher, Café Uma is recognized for its fusion of Western and Asian cuisine.
Café Uma has been on my bucket list for about three years, but thanks to the Association of Negros Producers (ANP), we were given the opportunity to sample the dishes served at Cafe Uma, one of the most recommended restaurants by some of my Negros-based foodie friends.
The restaurant is owned by Ina and Joey Gaston, while its reputable menu of fusion cuisine was created by Joey and his brother Chef Jumi Gaston.
The restaurant’s name, Uma, comes from the Hiligaynon dialect meaning “farm” or “hacienda.” This is fitting because Joey Gaston is a descendant of Yves Leopold Germain Gaston, one of the first sugar barons that brought sugar farming to the island. To add, Negros Occidental is considered the “sugar bowl” of the Philippines, with enormous sugarcane plantations established decades, if not hundreds, of years ago.
The restaurant was packed with customers when we arrived; good thing we had a long table reserved for our group.
The restaurant interiors were an experience in itself. They were similar to that of a farmer’s cafeteria back in the day, where everyone at the farm gathered for lunch or snacks. It was tastefully designed using wood and metal elements, and the high ceiling featured several bamboo and ratan-made chandeliers produced by local artisans from Hacienda Crafts Company, an envirosocial design company that showcases Negros Island artistry and unique products that appeal to people worldwide.
After settling down for a few minutes, food was served. They served all the best-selling dishes that made Café Uma popular among locals and tourists.
It felt like a family reunion. The comforting atmosphere of the restaurant and its welcoming staff make it perfect for families and friends to sit back and relax.
The appetizer served was Pizza Negrense, a flatbread with seafood, onions, greens, and a lot of cheese.
They served Café Uma’s “Signature Ilonggo Cuisine,” Negros Beef Shank for soup. The soup dish is locally known as Cansi, the Ilongo and Negrense versions of Bulalo and Sinigang combined. The slow-cooked beef shanks were so tender, and the soup had just the right amount of sourness.
The restaurant also served pork adobo flakes paired with yellow rice, an unnamed dish that wasn’t on the menu yet.
The pasta dishes served were Limoncello Shrimp & Pancetta, which had shrimp in white sauce, and Spaghetti Marinara, which had clams in its tomato-based sauce.
Their Paella Tostada, commonly known as Paella Negra, is a must-try. Their version had thin slices of squid, chorizo, and an omelet. The finely sliced squid was silky and had a mild aftertaste, while the chorizo added a unique flavor to the dish, making it stand out from other regular Paella dishes.
Finally, for dessert, we enjoyed a few scoops of Buko Cheese Ice Cream made by a local sorbet maker.
It truly was an enjoyable gastronomic experience. The decor procured from Negrense producers and artists was a nice touch. The fusion menu of Western and Asian cuisine did not disappoint, and remembered to highlight local dishes, like Cansi. It’s no wonder the restaurant is famous and that the locals keep coming back to Café Uma.
Address: Paseo Verde, Lacson Street, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines
Operating Hours: 11AM to 3PM; 5PM to 8PM, Daily
Contact: 0922 847 6280; (63) 34 7099966; (63) 34 4323853
Facebook Page: Cafe Uma on Facebook
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