Cheesy title aside, here’s a feature on a café within Cubao that isn’t fronted by a mermaid – Hustle Café. Anyone familiar with the Araneta Center area will get what I mean. It’s full of big chain brands, including cafes. Why do you need four mermaids in such a small area anyway?!
I know it seems like a risk to put up a café/coffee shop within this area but believe me, if you put up a specialty coffee shop in the middle of all these players, your shop’s going to have an immediate draw. The area’s so saturated with second wave shops, always full of (mostly noisy) people, that a calm spot that doesn’t offer frappe’s would be a welcome change. I digress…
Hustle Café is actually not that far from the Araneta Center. It’s a short walk from SM Cubao. It’s within the same compound as the interesting co-working space, Racket Room. I have only tried one co-working space and I’m eyeing to try more. Racket Room is on the shortlist for future options.
It’s a place where you can get a dirty horchata and a sip of Sagada Beans coffee, with some solid tasting food. A tip about me: If I see Chicken Karaage in the menu, I’ll order it. Hustle Café actually has a decent karaage dish. The chicken was cooked well – crispy outside and juicy inside – but it lacks umami and tang. To be fair, you get some of that in the sauce drizzled over the chicken, but in parts without sauce, the flavors that make chicken karaage what it is are lacking. It is a hefty serving portion though, very filling.
The coffee is legit. I specifically went for the Sagada choice because, well, I haven’t had them in a while. I always associate a nutty flavor to these beans. I do not understand “the fruity overtone” the beans are supposed to have. It also doesn’t help that I don’t like to eat fruits so my base for fruit flavors are almost non-existent. You can get it as espresso, including in latte and cappuccino form, or brewed through an Aeropress. Somehow, for this particular visit, they could not find their Aeropress. I ordered a latte which they treated right.
And here’s the thing about Hustle Café, they have invested so much in the development of their baristas. It’s well documented; they have a program to let out of school youth be properly trained to be Baristas. My dude this day was Jender, who was very accommodating and did a fantastic latte art. It’s amazing for Hustle Café to give back to the community in a unique way.
It’s only Al Fresco seating, no A/C. There are high stools at the bar, there’s this outdoor metal and glass furniture that our parents were into, and two repurposed wooden cable reels as tables surrounded with stools. It’s not a place to stay for a long time. If you want A/C, comfortable seating, power sockets, you have to go to Racket Room.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful space – especially at night. I’m just pointing out that the Hustle Café space itself is more for someone who wants a quick caffeine and food fix and then head on back to whatever they need to finish. Looking at it that way, the name Hustle Café is absolutely brilliant. They help you with your Hustle by providing you a break to refuel, and then sending you back out to wherever you need to be. Now, get why I chose that cheesy title?
Disclaimer: The owners might have had a different reason in mind for the name of the cafe. They also might have an altogether different vision for the cafe than what I wrote here. That is only my analysis, not the actual stand of the owners.
Hustle Café is located at 94 10th Ave, Cubao, Quezon City, 1109 Metro Manila. They’re usually open beyond 6pm. Google they’re operating hours on the day you plan to visit to make sure.
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Categories: houses of Kape