Cafe Racer is a new diner at North Reclamation area that is beginning to draw foodies, gearheads and Instagram lovers into one place. My sister and I are foodies and I am an Instagram lover while my son is a gearhead (because he loves cars and bikes) so we were excited to try it for ourselves and find out what the buzz is all about.
The minute we pulled into the lot of Cafe Racer Diner, a 1951 Chevy Bel-Air car welcomed us and we immediately felt like we were transported back to the 50’s. It was also like stepping into an old US diner just by looking at the facade of the diner.
Everything has a vintage vibe and the whole place carries an automobile/racing theme. We learned that the place used to be the Jetti Gasoline Station. How ingenious of the owners to tie it up with the automobile-inspired concept as they transformed it into a diner! There’s even a car wash station at your service if you want to have your car cleaned up while you dine. I wasn’t able to ask though for their service rates.
I fell in love with these oil barrel seats. Who would have thought that you can turn them into something useful aside from storage purposes? Even my son enjoyed seating on them.
I was surprised to know that this red vintage gasoline pump tank is actually working. You will also be surprised to know that instead of spewing gasoline, it dispenses draft beers for those who want to satiate their alcohol thirst. This red gas pump is the highlight of Cafe Racer’s beer drinking area which is perfect for those who just want to chill and drink with their friends.
As you go inside, the automobile-inspired theme continues. You can see that the oil barrels have now been turned into mini couches. The wall poster is also perfect for selfie backgrounds, LOL! Unfortunately, we were not able to take selfie shots here with my sister as we were too busy taking Instagram-worthy shots.
You will also notice that they added an industrial touch on the interior because of the bare ceiling that shows the ventilation tunnels and metal support bars. Then there’s also the cashier area enclosed in an old Volkswagen camper van.
I must say that this place really takes you to a unique dining experience because of the novelty touches they added even up to the minutest detail. Just take for an example this mini vintage racer which my son enjoyed to the fullest.
Now for the foodies out there, I will share with you how their food scored.
I ordered their Monte Cristo Sandwich (their best seller according to the waitress) and Carbonara. Let’s start with the Carbonara which I didn’t get any decent shot because it lacked in presentation. You can see a portion of it on the photo below. I liked the sauce but I didn’t like the pasta they used. It would be yummier if they used the classic spaghetti noodles. However, I got to give them a plus point for not scrimping on the bacon. Meanwhile, the garlic bread needs more toasting and some parsley for a touch of color. If you notice it looks blah.
As for the Monte Cristo, it tasted good but it would be better if they added a cranberry sauce or maple syrup on the side. Between the Monte Cristo of Casa Verde and Cafe Racer, I prefer Casa Verde’s. The fries were a bit soggy too. So out of 10, I give both dishes a 7.
My son on the other hand had his all-time favorite fried chicken. I must say their chicken is quite good but again it lacked presentation in my opinion.
My sister meanwhile had the Baked Back Ribs. She and I both agreed that the ribs were dry and overcooked despite the abundance in sauce so it was kinda chewy. It was such a letdown because it was okay taste wise.
For the drinks, we had their Vanilla Milkshake. Since Cafe Racer is a diner, our expectation was too high on the milkshakes since most diners (particularly in the US) have these as one of their cold beverage specialties. Presentation wise was okay because they served it an recycled mayo jar with a cherry on top. But taste wise, it was nothing special. It was too watery and too sugary. It’s like drinking water with lots of sugar. I was expecting it to be thick and creamy, we couldn’t even taste the vanilla ice cream.
Overall, I must say that I was more impressed with the interior and ambiance of this diner than the food they served. If you just want to chill with your friends after a hard day’s work, then I guess this is a cool place to go. But if you are more after the food trip, it’s not worth the trip at all.
Pros: Instagram-worthy interiors and details; spacious parking space; cool ambiance; lots of outdoor seating for barkada hang-out; car wash service while you dine; affordable food with big serving size.
Cons: Food attendants lack customer service; food is not impressive.
Cafe Racer Diner
Location: North Reclamation Area, Mandaue City 6014
Contact No.: (032) 511 7798
Parking: Yes (Parking Lot)
Store Hours: Mon – Sun (11:00 am – 2:00 am)