An urban hideaway for tired souls

Boudica Café Bar is for the hungry and the stressed. A haven for those seeking respite after a hard day’s work.

Whether it’s indulging in a Neapolitan pizza, a juicy burger with a USDA-stamped premium beef or a smoked bacon slab downed with a tall glass of cold butterscotch latte, Boudica’s clientele wants the same thing: comfort.

Boudica Café Bar’s cozy interior design.

Situated at the end of a food strip inside City Golf Plaza in Julia Vargas Avenue, Boudica Café Bar, which opened last December, is somewhat of an urban hideaway catered to a subset of Pasig peeps and metro folks, including Valle Verde residents who do not wish to be disturbed. It’s a chill-out place for the tired soul, aimed to satisfy everyone’s cravings.

Boudica’s almost-plain façade is deceptive; once you enter, it’s an entirely different story. It feels like the cozy, gorgeous home of your artsy friend who enjoys hosting gatherings.

Modern, giant murals decorate several walls, there’s a faux fireplace on one side, two airy al frescos, a quaint kitchen emitting a warm glow and a showstopping bar right in the center of it all.

The Boudica Board.

The café bar is divided into four different sections — like four different casual restaurants, each with its distinct set of tastefully designed tables and chairs. It has become a hub for private business meetings, small celebrations and casual dining. Patrons can either smoke in open-air areas or escape the heat of a sweltering summer day by relaxing inside air-conditioned dining areas.

Matthew Bates and Matthew Lim, owners of Boudica.

Boudica is owned by “The Matthews,” comprised of chefs Matthew Lim, a Filipino, and Matthew Bates, a Brit. They are the same guys behind Cargo Fish, the popular BGC uptown fish-and-chips joint (or “chippy”), which has been serving Britain’s national dish to the Taguig yuppies since 2017. They are also the innovative chefs behind Burnt Bamboo, known for its freestyle barbecue.

BURNT Bamboo’s smoked barbecue.

“The idea is to bring something new to the area,” said Bates. “Matthew (Lim) came up with the idea that a café is perhaps needed in the area. We spoke to the owner of City Golf and he liked the idea.”

Boudica, then, is the offspring of Cargo Fish and Burnt Bamboo, serving a menu as diverse and eclectic as its crowd. A smorgasbord of comfort foods.

In fact, Boudica carries its parents’ bestsellers. You can order Cargo Fish’s fish and chips—a hot plate of authentic English beer-battered fried fish (your choice of cod, salmon or dory) with a side of fat, chunky french fries (or, if you prefer, sweet potatoes). Something you would have eaten in one of those “fried fish warehouses” mentioned in Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist.

CARGO Fish’s Fish and Chips.

Or you can order Burnt Bamboo’s famous smoking barbeque: skewers of chicken and pork isaw slathered with their signature glaze and stylishly served over smoking ashes.

One of their desserts, recommended by a friendly server to me, is the Valrhona Brownie—a decadent square of rich, moist brownie set in a small skillet, topped with a scoop of frozen vanilla bean custard ice cream drenched before my eyes with sizzling chocolate syrup. It’s so good I almost wept.

Valrhona Brownie.

It’s basically “salt, fat, acid, heat” in Boudica, designed to satiate and remind you of the pleasures of good food.

“The menu is small and we want to keep it that way. There’s a lot of thought put in the selection of dishes and the ingredients used,” Bates shared. “We’re trying to keep things premium but well-priced.”

The fascinating aspect of Boudica is that it morphs, depending on a customer’s needs. For some, it’s a New England deli to purchase cold cuts; to others, it’s a café to stuff yourself with a full English breakfast (the place opens as early as 11 in the morning), and to a certain group, it’s a Prohibition-era speakeasy once the moon rises.

It can also be a place for spontaneous get-togethers over crunchy tawilis or crispy pata, or it could be a family restaurant where small kids can enjoy pizzas, nachos and banana milkshakes, with mommies opting for a burrata salad.


Bates, who hails from East Anglia, describes Boudica as “civilization in the morning and debauchery in the evening.”

Lim, who studied culinary in Enderun, turns to Bates in shock. “Really, did you just say ‘debauchery’?”

Bates laughs, clearly joking, then went on to describe the truth: In the evening, Boudica’s lights are simply dimmed. Then the night crowd pours in, clinking glasses of Smirnoff or a Manhattan, or toasting a friend’s birthday with a chardonnay or a sauvignon.

At one point in the night, an in-house DJ would mix electro music to a small party of corporate 20-somethings chatting over alcohol over the bar or nibbling from a charcuterie board replete with four types of cheeses, chicken liver pate, olives, pickled grapes and expensive deli meats.


There are no rules here, too. You can get a tequila in the morning or you can wolf down a longganisa breakfast meal at 2 a.m.

“It’s a place for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said Lim. “We make sure all the food is available all day long. On Fridays and Saturdays, we stay open until four in the morning.”

Overall, Boudica is something you’d visit more than once or twice. If you live nearby, it could very well be a favorite hangout place.

“Simplicity, comforting, family-friendly, that’s what Boudica is,” Bates said — and this time he was not kidding.