City of Dreams' food park and video arcade is unlike anything in Manila

Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at Oct 14 2018 06:56 AM | Updated as of Oct 14 2018 10:24 AM

MANILA -- City of Dreams Manila opens on Sunday The Garage, a first-of-its-kind concept in the Philippines, which is part high-end food park and part virtual-reality arcade that has something for kids of all ages.

Originally City of Dreams Manila only wanted to open a food park. But when chief operating officer Kevin Benning presented this idea to his principals, they suggested he take a trip to Japan to visit VR Zone. He was so impressed with the experience that the hybrid concept of The Garage, located at the upper ground floor of the complex's parking building across Dreamplay, was immediately born.

THE VR ZONE

At the entrance of The Garage is the virtual reality playground by Japanese toy and videogame giant Bandai Namco. Bandai, best known for the Gundam robots, and Namco, makers of such videogame icons as Pac-Man and Galaga, have brought their tech savvy into building next-generation arcade experiences.

Bandai Namco amusement manager Yukiharu Tamiya, City Of Dreams Manila chief operating officer Kevin Benning and Bandai Namco manager Ryuichi Osada open The Garage. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

The VR Zone at The Garage is a top-notch experience at the level of other installations around the world, most notably the one in Shinjuku in Tokyo.

There are virtually no screens in the arcade. Instead, players don VR helmets that follow head movement. The screen displays what players see as if they were looking around in the real world.

A guest tries the Ski Rodeo. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

Another level of immersion is achieved with the controls used in the games. Instead of joysticks or console controllers, players get simulated driving wheels and pedals, skis, or wheelchairs. At launch, there will be three games available to play.

Super Mario Kart VR is a guaranteed crowd-drawer. Made in association with Nintendo, this game jumps from the console onto a full VR cart installation. Players get into the cart complete with a steering wheel, pedals, and hand attachments. Those familiar with the game will be giddy with the fact that the green shells, banana peels, and hammers used to eliminate other opponents in the old Super Mario Kart are here.

For those who love horror movies, playing the horror co-op game Hospital Escape Terror takes jump-scares to a whole new immersive level. This experience puts 2 to 4 wheelchair-bound players trying to escape an abandoned haunted hospital. Players can control the wheelchair and use a flashlight to look around the surroundings. The catch is that all players have to make it out. If any of the players fail to escape, the whole team stays trapped in the hospital.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by VR ZONE Portal™ UK (@vrzoneportal) on

Extreme downhill skiing is an experience that a lot of Filipinos can only dream of doing. But through the magic of Ski Rodeo’s VR, now we can. The game puts skiers on top of a mountain and use virtual skis to turn and slow down to try to finish the steep downhill course. The speed is exhilaratingly simulated by fans that whoosh air into the players face as they virtually careen down the slope.

FOOD PARK

Beyond the VR Zone is The Garage's food park. Bright incandescent string lights, wooden benches, and faux food trucks mimic a real food park outside on a bright sunny day. Even the packaging of the food served are all environment-friendly takeout packs to further the feel of an outdoor park.

The mix of concessionaires is a mix of the new and familiar. Four outlets were created and managed by City of Dreams Manila's own chefs, one is a food park veteran, and the rest are popular restaurants that have been foodie favorites since they’ve opened around the city.

To the left of the VR Zone is Chocol8. This City of Dreams shop is a chocolate lover’s dream come true. Featuring a full blown chocolate factory at the back, this store regularly comes out with custom varieties of chocolates, including berry and pistachio. Check out the chocolate sculptures as you wander around this chocolate shop. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

City of Dreams’ own third-wave coffee shop, The Roasters, proudly uses local arabica and robusta beans. Equipped with high-end Slayer espresso machines, its own coffee roaster, and “steampunk” extraction machines, the baristas take their caffeine very seriously. Try out the Bombon, The Roaster’s own spin of caphe sua da with equal parts espresso and equal parts condensed makes for a sweet and strong punch guaranteed to wake you up. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

Another City Of Dreams-owned outlet is Juiced, which offers freshly squeezed juices and custom mixed slushies. Whether it’s for stress relief, gaining or balancing energy, Juiced has a blend of berries, vegetables and fruits for you. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is known for its mild broth that goes with its noodles. Due to the milder flavor of its white tonkotsu broth, the shio is the foundation of the “donburi” ramen bowls. It also has a kara-miso ramen for those who want a spicier bowl. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

Katsu Sora’s secret is using the best pork in their premium pork cutlets: buttery Iberico pork from Spain, and Kurobota, Shimofori, and Sakura pork from Japan. These make for tender, melt-in-you-mouth meat encased in Katsu Sora’s crunchy panko crust. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

Just as El Chupacabra brought its brand of Mexican food to the streets of Poblacion, the El Chupacabra food truck brings its soft tacos to The Garage. Made with carnitas, sisig, lengua, among others, these are nice to munch on while waiting your turn at the machines. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

Perhaps the odd man out in The Garage, Pizza Grigliata was found in outdoor food parks around the metro before ending up here. Owners Isabel and Edward Co proudly told the story of how they were considered for The Garage after they won the Ultimate Taste Test in October 2017. The Prosciutto Arugula in squid ink dough, and the Quattro Formaggi with truffle oil constantly gets lines of foodies wherever they go. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

Gloria Pink of Pink’s Hotdogs of Los Angeles flew in to open its stall in The Garage. Drop by for Pink’s signature hotdogs, burgers, fries, nachos, onion rings, and other diner staples. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

Besides Pink’s, the Wildflour group offers the pastries and baked goodies from Little Flour and the ice cream of Farmacy. Little Flour will be offering brunch with its silogs, while the Farmacy trailer will serve extra thick milkshakes, sundaes, and floats made with its ice cream. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

Any food park worth its mettle has to have a bar. The Bar has signature cocktains and libations for parents, while there are non-alchoholic drinks, iced tea, and softdrinks for the kids. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

The Garage is open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.