Tuesday, November 23, 2010


4.5 out of 5 stars

I cannot --- CANNOT ---- stop raving about Meat Plus. It's an eatery that has been a cornerstone of Subic. Your trip would not be complete without a visit to this restaurant (then, of course, a hop and a skip across its duty-free stores to burn off that steak you've eaten).

The rating spiked up since my last review not only for staying alive for over a decade, but that it has maintained its superb service, facilities and quality of meats. You may queue up to pay akin to a cafeteria, but the difference ends there. The restaurant is bright, airy and comfortable (except when the crowd spills through its doors); the bathroom is spotless; the condiment options are great; plus, I really appreciate their huge steak knives. How about the food, you ask? Imagine spending a little more than grand for two massive ribeye meals (and drinks)? And it's not just some run-of-the-mill beef, but USDA standard Angus beef from US or Australia!

So please, if you can, just open the chiller to the side of the counter and take out your Angus steak! Don't bother ordering the smaller, local ones from the placard up front. Prepare to drool as your stare at the picture below. I promise you --- it tastes just as good as it looks.

USDA Angus Ribeye (500++ PhP)

Meat Plus MENU. Click on the pic below to magnify.

Building 65 Sampson Road
Subic Bay Freeport Zone
Zambales 2222
tel: (047)252-7091
fax: (047)252-6365

10am to 9pm

Thursday, November 18, 2010


4. 8 out of 5 stars

The last time I went to New York six months ago, my best friend took me to Velseka (a Polish/Ukranian diner) and Bonchon (a Korean restaurant similar to North Park in Manila, having the best double-fried chicken wings on earth), while my cousin took me to Matsuri (a Japanese restaurant by acclaimed chef Tadashi Ono), finally dining and partying in Buddakan ( a flashy Chinese restaurant/bar owned by Stephen Starr, who also owns Morimoto; NY trivia: this is the place where Carrie Bradshaw threw her wedding rehearsal dinner).

This was all fun to the palate, but left me wondering that I've tasted all kinds of cuisines but American in a US State. So for the second time around NY for '09, I begged my foodie best friend B to take me to an restaurant that served excellent American food. Without even thinking, she mentioned Gramercy Tavern, although it was a struggle not to try the famous Burger at DB Bistro Moderne, where Daniel Boulud conceptualized a sirloin burger with a filling of boned short ribs braised in red wine, foie gras, and preserved black truffle, served on gruyere and gold flecks.

Gramery Tavern can be described in three words --- homey meets luxury. Expect the graciousness of an elegant American home in the private dining area accompanied with a causal area parked at the bar.

Never too avant garde, never too loud; rather, it draws its strength from gastronomic ideas that are tried and tested, and the freshest of seasonal ingredients that are luxurious but uncomplicated. And one can expect the best from Gramercy, making its mark for more than 15 years, housing the likes of distinguished chefs such as former executive chef Tom Collichio and its current one, Mark Anthony (who has also worked under Boulud).

We got the Four Story Hill Chicken Soup ($ 12/22) and Barley and Butternut Squash Risotto ($ 12/22) for our First Course, and the Chicken ($ 19) and Halibut ($ 22) for our Entrees. Even before we ordered, the waiter took it upon himself to converse with us about the menu, the specials and our orders It is this kind of service that is expectedly excellent, working seamlessly like a well-oiled machine. Although sadly, the starter bread was slightly tough and cold.

The chicken soup was the odd man out, its chicken and ricotta dumpling / ravioli absorbing the bland taste of the broth. Not even the unique taste of salsify upped the flavor level. This was salvaged by the risotto, whose texture was a contrast or rich creaminess from the barley grains that remained al dente. Not only was the delicious squash cubed within the risotto, the risotto was also encircled by its puree. The shiitake was not too strong for the dish; rather, it provided a slightly smoky taste that had a similar note as the barley grains. It was topped off with seasonal miniature vegetables of zucchini, radish and carrot --- an over-all winner.
Four Story Hill Chicken Soup ($ 12/22)

Barley and Butternut Squash Risotto ($ 12/22)

The chicken was roasted to perfection, fanned out in a medley of butternut squash, carrots and brussel sprouts. It intense jus served as the base of the plate. The halibut was more simple in its presentation --- literally just a slab of fillet on top of a red cabbage slaw. Around it was a thick drizzle of hazelnut yogurt sauce. The fish was perfectly seared on both ends, retaining its succulent juice inside. The sauce was a great accompaniment to the fish, refreshing and cooling to the taste.
Chicken ($ 19)

Halibut ($ 22)

complimentary dessert
We capped off the scrumptious meal with a complimentary array of truffles, macaroons and chocolate tarts. After eating in this famed restaurant, I must concur with Frank Bruni's closing statement in his review:
"But like a solid marriage rather than a heady love affair, it has stood the test of time, righting itself when it starts to go wrong, knowing that what’s at stake are a great many warm memories, some yet to be made."
Menu. Click to magnify.

Gramercy Tavern
42 E. 20th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 477-0777
Mon-Thu 12pm-2pm, 5:30pm-10pm
Fri 12pm-2pm, 5:30pm-11pm
Sat 5:30pm-11pm
Sun 5:30pm-10pm

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


4.85 out of 5 stars

It's strange that I wouldn't write about one of the top 3 restaurants that comes off the top of my head. Of how the sprawling "Spanish hacienda"-esque property reminds you of the olden days where love came in the form of prose on parchment and serenaded melodies. Where you'd drown yourself in the huge red velvet chairs, watching the sunset from the balcony overlooking the Tagaytay landscape. A place where a violin quartet wouldn't feel out of place. Yes, Antonio's has never lost its feel for romance and good food all these years. Chef and proprietor Antonio Agustin “Tony Boy” Escalante has done a great job in building up Antonio's to be a world-class restaurant, as evidenced by placing a spot in the Miele's Guide TWICE.

lower dining area

Apart from its unique and swoon-worthy setting, it is known for its set meal, which includes the House Salad, Soup of the Day, Sorbet, Entree, Dessert and Coffee or Tea. The choice of entree will determine the price of the meal, with an additional charge for appetizers ordered. It has expanded its menu to include over 20 entrees and a full page of the same number of appetizers. Martin and I decided on sharing the Steamed & Nori Wrapped Tempura Scallop, Lemon Confit (250 PhP) appetizer, while he had the Antonio's Trio (1,900 PhP) of beef, lamb and cod and I had the Barbecue Lamb Cutlets with Garlic Risoni (1,650 PhP).

upper dining area

The appetizer only whetted out appetites. It contained two huge pieces of scallop. The steamed scallop was perfectly cooked to a tender texture, giving in to the thrust of a fork, and holding its own own flavor to the tart lemon confit and chiffonade fried spinach garnish. The stark contrast of the nori-encrusted tempura scallop goes to show the various ways of cooking the same ingredient. It was leaner, meatier and was a good accompaniment to the light cilantro pesto sauce. Considering I'm not a fan of cilantro, I nevertheless enjoyed the sauce and didn't leave a drop of it on the plate!
Steamed & Nori Wrapped Tempura Scallop, Lemon Confit (250 PhP)

The salad was a delight, made fresh from their own organic vegetable farm. The mix of arugula and spinach burst with flavor from dried blueberries, radish, walnuts, beet slices and bleu cheese drizzled with a sweet raspberry vinaigrette. This was followed by a robust white onion soup, very thick and foamy and drizzled with olive oil and herbs. I didn't even have the chance to take a picture of the green mango sorbet, it was finished in a matter of seconds!
House Salad

White Onion Soup

The Antonio's Trio (1,900 PhP) was composed of Beef Fillet on Plancha with Black Pepper Sauce, Barbecue Lamb Medallion with Garlic Risoni and Crispy Cod Glazed with Kombu Sauce on Peppered Egg Noodles. Our least favorite was the Beef Fillet. It was actually quite cold and tough around the edges. By far, the best sampler was the Crispy Cod. It's crispy, but did not fall apart and wasn't too oily. The sampler dishes were small (each could probably be finished in three big bites), so it was surprising how Martin was full when he finished his platter.
Antonio's Trio (1,900 PhP)

My Barbecued Lamb Cutlets was good, but I preferred it less glazed over with oil. To be fair, it was very tender and filling with a sweet tangy barbecue sauce. I didn't have room to finish the yummy risoni pasta or the side of buttered cauliflower and broccoli.
Barbecue Lamb Cutlets with Garlic Risoni (1,650 PhP)

Too bad I didn't leave room for the panna cotta. It was a lovely dessert, using real vanilla bean generously peppered around the cream. It quivered to the touch of my dessert spoon, and was lined with a chocolate and caramel sauce. Martin's dessert was an sorbet assortment of local fruits, namely guava, mango and calamansi. It was wonderfully light and refreshing, and unlike me, he finished the whole thing in minutes.
Panna Cotta with Chocolate and Caramel Sauce

Sorbet Mix

All in all, we enjoyed our dinner in Antonio's. Although I enjoyed my first few visits a little more than this one, I can say that the restaurant has been consistent with delivering food and service above par. It is worth noting that the service was faultless, dishes coming in and out unobtrusively, waiters being called with the slightest wave of a hand and they'd easily customize food to your request. Truly, nothing is more ideal than to celebrate a special occasion with an out-of-town trip to Tagaytay, then, of course, having dinner in Antonio's. If you're one of the few that haven't checked this place out, isn't it about time that you give yourself this gastronomic treat?

Menu. Click to Magnify

Barangay Neogan
Tagaytay City, Cavite
(0918) 899-2866
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 7:00 am - 9:00 pm

Sunday, April 25, 2010


4.5 out of 5 stars

Amidst the heavy traffic and buildings that is Makati is this Japanese culinary gem called Little Tokyo. It houses an array of restaurants, including some convenience stores here and there. But among all of them, two of my favorite ones include Kikafuji and Seryna, both teeming with Japanese customers, a sure sign of authenticity. Kikafuji is more of a busy dining hall, harshly lit with white walls, bright yellow bamboo floors and boisterous crowds. Seryna, on the other hand, is calmer and quieter with dimly lit lights, dark wooden walls and stone accents. Since my family is hyper enough as it is, I preferred bringing them to the nice ambience of Seryna even if the yakitori of Kikafuji tastes better.

The place was packed, not surprising because it was a Friday. Even with a late reservation, we got a bad spot right behind the front door, since that table could accommodate 6. If you’re around 4 people, the best spot would be on the left side, where you sit on a table with sunken floors, as if you’re sitting on a tatami mat with the benefit of keeping your shoes on. Of course, they also have function rooms, but make sure to reserve early since they get booked real quick.

I wasn’t able to take a picture of the tekka maki (145 PhP) and salmon sashimi (235 PhP) because my family finished it in a matter of seconds, they were that hungry. My sister raved about how the seafood was so fresh. The tuna in the sushi was glistening red, and it was expertly wrapped with a dab of wasabi. I didn’t even see the salmon, it was consumed that fast, but I did hear rounds of approval from my very critical family members. If you’re a sashimi lover, and you want to splurge a whole bunch of money, you could order the sashimi tokumori (2130 PhP), which is a whole platter of various sashimi flown straight from Japan! Good thing I was able to take a good picture of the California temaki, which was light, fresh and delicious. The only thing that confused me was that the crabstick was billed separately, but this may be because it wasn’t listed in the menu. Fortunately this restaurant can whip up stuff not written on the menu by request.
California temaki

We also got yakitori (60 PhP per stick) of the following kinds: quail egg wrapped in bacon, asparagus wrapped in bacon and chicken, all a pair each. We split each order of one kind with teriyaki sauce, and the other with salt and pepper. As I said, they were good, with the teriyaki better than the other, but the ones at Kikafuji were much better, complete with perfect grill marks.
yakitori (60 PhP per stick)

The gindara teriyaki (425 PhP) came with the yakitori. I didn’t taste it, but the piece speaks for itself (and not in a good way).
gindara teriyaki (425 PhP)

The saving grace of Seryna, apart from their fresh sushi and sashimi were our two orders of Wagyu sirloin steak (2020 PhP for around 3 pax) and 2 orders of the Wagyu Japan beef sukiyaki (360 PhP for 2 pax). Of course, we got the basic orders of ebi tempura (315 PhP per basket) and fried rice, but it’s really the meat that was worth writing about.
fried rice

ebi tempura (315 PhP per basket)

The sukiyaki is made tableside and doing this made it the presentation special. When we got our bowls, it was apparent that they did not scrimp on the ingredients. The star of the show was the beef, and paper thin strips of these filled the entire container. The soup merely coated the meat and the vegetables, and it wasn’t too sweet either. I also loved the brown beech Mushrooms and enoki mushrooms that tasted just as good as it looked. It was an amazing soup!
sukiyaki made tableside
Wagyu Japan beef sukiyaki (360 PhP for 2 pax)

Just as amazing was the wagyu steak. They served it on the table raw and pre-sliced, along with settling a portable brick grill which allowed us to cook it according to our level of doneness. The meat was cooked without any oil or seasoning, and it was best barely seared on either side since the meat was thin. It was so good even without dipping it in the chives, chili and a soy-based steak sauce provided to each of us. My first bite of that unadorned meat was pure bliss: pinkish, tender with a concentrated flavor of beef with every bite. This is what authentic wagyu is all about. Not one single ligamented portion, where it would give way with the shove of a fork but keep its shape.
Wagyu sirloin steak (2020 PhP for around 3 pax)

The tempura and rice is anticlimactic compared to the wagyu, but still worth noting. The ebi tempura was crunchy and light, and was not masked by too much flour coating. Our half orders of fried rice were well-presented with a huge shrimp on top, accompanied by a rich beef broth. In all, the food was so delicious that we were willing to bypass the dreadful service. For example, my sister’s fruit shake came 45 minutes past the time the sashimi was served. Even getting the bill itself took so long. The ratio of calling the waitress and being noticed was probably 4:1. In defense, it was probably a busy night, and my previous visits weren't as inattentive. Besides, the food all the more made up for anything else. If you can’t book a flight to Japan, this restaurant does a pretty good job in tasting it!

2277 Chino Roces Ave.
Makati City, Metro Manila
(across McDonald's in Mile Long)
(02) 894-3855
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm


My friend told me of this good restaurant in Fort that was connected with a cooking school. I immediately thought Aubergine and led him towards that direction, not knowing that he meant another place! He was too nice to change course, and told me that we should eat there instead, since I’ve been raving about it from here to there. I assured him that Aubergine’s an excellent dinner bet for his first time, and another awesome thing about it is that its kitchen closes at 10pm, later than your usual fine dining.

I don’t know what else there is to say about this, considering that I’ve worshipped this place since it opened and have written about it on occasion. We were quick to decide on what to eat, my friend choosing the Wagyu beef tri tip, while I chose the fish wrapped in bacon with tomato fondue and ravioli (both around 1,200+ PhP). Service was quick and faultless; we were only around 6 customers at that time. On a side note, I’ve noticed that the prices have gone up (The beef tri tip used to be below 1,000 PhP) and that the menu changes at a crawling pace. I guess they have every right to charge an extra premium for such a bustling business, but hopefully they could overhaul some of the dishes instead of change a few of the ingredients of the same order and call it a different thing.

The fish was full of intense and flavorful flavors coming from the rich saffron cream-based sauce, tomato fondue and bacon. I wanted to eat everything and sop up all the sauce with my ravioli, but I stopped myself since my friend didn’t eat his vegetables nor the foie gras. However, I voluntarily didn’t finish my amuse bouche since I found the Brie mousse too sour. Not even the cherry sauce could save it. Below are pictures of our meal.

Sadly, we didn’t have free macaroons or chocolate truffles to close off our meal like we used to. But nevertheless, I still love this place, and would recommend this restaurant to anyone for a truly fine dining experience.

beside HSBC, across S&R
32nd and 5th Building
5th Avenue cor. 32nd Street
Fort Bonifacio 1634 Taguig
(02) 856-9888
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Su, Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

*Be sure to reserve before dining.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hi, Peeps!

This has nothing to do with restaurants or food, being that it is all about these things. But I can't help it, and I just have to share this out loud: I am now an attorney!!!!! Thank you to all who have made this possible! :D

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Don't you just love Japanese food? I surely do! This also means loving everything else they eat, including their snacks and junk food. Not only do the Japanese pay extra attention to detail, but they're very meticulous with the quality and uniformity of their food products, making sure that it doesn't get "lost in translation" by the time it reaches their consumer. From fancy gift-wrapping and intricately carved boxes to different textures of sticky and crunchy upon eating them, Japanese snacks are the closest snacks I've known to edible works of art. Living in a subdivision near Robinson's Galleria has made the Japanese convenience stores in "Japanese Town" less accessible for me. So it's a blessing that the Northerners have their own Japanese convenience store dislocated from its companions in Makati called "Konbini." Apart from selling foodstuffs and snacks, they also have a small restaurant where the "Tonkatsu Ramen" is to die for. But that's a separate review altogether. For now, there's this snack that the household constantly get when dropping by the store after work called GAUFRES (French for waffles).

It's a big round wafer which has a thin layer of cream inside. There are three packets inside the tin, containing 3 flavors of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate in it. So basically, nine wafers in all. It tastes light, crunchy and slightly sweet all at the same time! It is made by Fugetsu-Do, which is a famous Japanese bakery in Kobe that was founded in 1897. These snacks are a pretty price to pay, but it's worth every peso! Finishing off a pack of these is all the sugar craving you need.

outer wrapper

on the inside

heavenly wafers inside the plastic packet

GAUFRES by Fugetso-Do at the
Konbini Store
57 Connecticut Street
North Greenhills, San Juan
Metro Manila

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


4.5 out of 5 stars

Jetro Rafael is a true artist, and is reflected with his day job of travel photography. He also happens to have bipolar disorder or manic depression, along with the likes of famous people like Edgar Allan Poe, Ludwig Von Beethoven, Kurt Kobain and yes, Vincent van Gogh. Being productive about his condition, he decided to customize a meal plan to help calm his erratic mood swings instead of taking drugs with extensive side effects. What began as a personal meal guide turned into an idea for a restaurant, and hence, the birth of “Van Gogh is Bipolar.”

Make sure to leave lots of free time when visiting this restaurant because VGIB is a visual treat. His masterals in UP Fine Arts is apparent with the way the place is decorated. Every corner of the wall and table isn’t left empty. From hanging suits and headpieces, indigenous instruments and photographs, to leaving a chiffon divider with a decorative dragonfly, this place is an explosion of the senses. In fact, it got me befuddled in a manner that made me want to explore each and every nook and cranny. I only wish I had more time to take in all that is VGIB.

Even the concept of the restaurant walks off the beaten track, being that it is “semi-self-serve” and non-formal in some ways. Guests write down their names and orders in paper, which they bring to the kitchen window. Jetro or his helpers (who are sometimes his friends) will call out your name from the window, so you can pick up your food. Whenever you need anything, you ring the bell beside the kitchen window. I have used this bell to return my used dishes, request for more sauce or simply ask questions regarding my food. Jetro is quite gracious and says that if you’re not satisfied with your food, you can return it to the kitchen, and they’ll try to cook according to your specification. Apart from this, you make your own tea from materials provided in the center counter, and you’re even encouraged to compute for your own bill. Yes, the honesty system is carried through to the open container on the tea table carrying Palawan honey for 5 pesos per stick, or the travel tissue packs provided in the bathroom with a 10-peso donation box.

It is apparent that profit-making is only secondary to VGIB’s main purpose, which is for Jetro to share two of his numerous passions, namely cooking and photography. Most of the photographs and some of the artworks posted were created by him. And the menu is basically what Jetro eats on a daily basis. And in opening these interests to his guests in a restaurant where he literally lives, he essentially opens his lifestyle and heart to his guests. This sincerity shows through the effort put into the food (where the herbs come from his garden, vegetables from Tagaytay and Batangas, honey from Palawan and black rice from the Mountain Province, all organic!) and the creative way of entertaining his guests. While in the bathroom (where it’s also Jetro’s dark room), peruse through his photos, some books or drop a name of your real love in a bottle with the wilted rose. How about writing a greeting or message in the red healing wall in one corner? Or when dining al fresco, why not try eating from a bed? Not only does he advocate a healthy diet loaded with fresh vegetables, but the eclectic place encourages conversation and languid moments with friends over mood-altering teas.
Our dining area, where we ate by the red-curse healing wall

The menu is as complicated as the venue, perplexing but exciting to read. Once you’re accustomed to their system, though, it becomes as familiar as your favorite worn-out pair of slippers. The menu starts off with the bipolar concept, followed by the “House Rules,” namely:

1. Indoors are reserved for 10 diners only
2. Please enjoy your after dinner tea outdoors to accommodate other diners
3. NO SERVERS HERE. If you need anything, just ring the kitchen bell.
4. Please see the menu & write your name, orders (sic) on paper provided.
5. For tea drinkers: Read the instructions on how you (sic) to make your own tea.
6. After eating, kindly place soiled dishes at the kitchen window and ring the bell.
7. Celebrate your shit life on the red-curse healing wall or put your mark at the tea table.

Then come the Royal Bipolar Meal (Premium Platinum meals with a “narcissistic” serving), the bipolar appetizers, the bipolar salads, the Bipolar Presidents’ Manic Set Meal (Executive Premium meals), Rice Meals (Ford Coppola’s Episodic Meals), Fish Meals (Bipolar Hollywood Happy-Chill Meals), Tim Burton’s Dish of the Day, Tipid meals priced at 44 PhP (Ozzy Osbourne’s frugal Thursday’s semi-manic delight), Bipolar desserts, an explanation of Courtney Love’s Potion of the day (a special non-alcoholic drink), bipolar’s blend and concoctions (which includes teas, cocoas, and alcoholic beverages), Sunday Thanksgiving Dinner Selections, Instructions on how to make your own tea, a chart of the Bipolar diet which tabulates what to take (when you feel depressed, fatigues, stressed or in a bad mood), and articles on the unique black mountain rice as well as published articles on the restaurant. Whew! Quite a mouthful, right?

It’s almost like a book because the menu contains tidbits of information on neurotransmitters that you receive on eating a certain meal, trivia on the ingredients of a dish, how certain ingredients alter the mood you’re in as well as philosophies on life. The categories and the dishes are also named after famous people with bipolar disorder, such as Lord Byron, Isaac Newton, Axl Rose, Sting, Francesco Scavullo and too many more to mention. Noteworthy among the drinks are the Van Gogh Expensive Spicy Beer (299 PhP) where the blend of herbs and spice in the beer brew is home-made, Mel Gibson’s Darkest Sin (sweet vodka with 70 percent German dark chocolate, wild Palawan honey, almond and walnut) and Axl Rose’s Organic Egg-Jaegermeister shot (submerged in hot water for 10 minutes. Served in an egg shell. With wild honey and organic black, spicy sauce – 99 PhP)

But we didn’t choose any of the drinks since my boyfriend and I settled for the Presidents’ Manic Set Meal (a notch lower than the “Royal Bipolar Meal”), which already include both tea AND a choice of red/white wine or the Courtney Love’s Potion of the Day (which is non-alcoholic). I chose President Clinton’s Meal, which is grilled Australian lamb, along with the Courtney Love’s Potion (555 PhP), while my boyfriend picked President Lincoln’s Meal, which is Organic Turkey slow-cooked and simmered with Fresh fruit extracts and Organic Herbs, along with organic berry-based white wine (555 PhP).

We got our drinks at the same time as getting the tea, but the next time we return, we’ll remember to get the tea in the end to cap off our meal. Anyway, it wasn’t much of a biggie because you can refill your house tea thrice.

The organic wine was served with mint and garnished with strawberry. It was organic, light and fruity, but I preferred my drink so much more. The Courtney Love Potion was a mix of some tea, melon, mint, lemongrass, and had diced cucumbers, fresh mint and a strawberry on top. It was refreshing and tasted unlike any other iced tea or fruit concentrate that I’ve drank! I would go back to VGIB if only to drink this again!
From the top clockwise: Courtney Love's Potion, Mango-mint Tea
and Organic Berry-Based White Wine
Courtney Love's Potion - a very healthy non-alcoholic cold concoction made from the most fresh and organic fruit extracts with real fruit bits and pulp, varying from time to time. No sugar added, only wild Palawan honey is used. (144.44 PhP if bought alone)

We also had fun making our teas! From choosing your own teapots and teas (I chose mango for a “happy chill” mood while my boyfriend got avocado for “soothing”), to measuring the tea leaves and mint, it was quite an experience for a first-timer! Be sure to get a shot glass of that yummy Palawan honey to drizzle into your teacups for that boost of natural sugars.

Our turkey soup came along with the set meal, and it was delicious! It was thickened soup infused with turkey broth, and flavored with basil leaves, banana chips and toasted garlic. We finished it in no time, my only minor complaint being that they could have strained the turkey bones before serving it. But it was very tasty, nonetheless, and at least we knew that the savory portions were indeed infused by turkey bones and bits.

Our main courses came, and the dish is a true reflection of the place and menu. It was organized chaos with a burst of color from the fresh fruits and vegetables. My dish almost seemed like the grilled lamb chops were an accompaniment to the star of the show, the black mountain rice. Although the lamb wasn’t as tender as Jetro wanted it to be (he said it wasn’t marinated long enough), it was still satisfactory. But there may have been too little meat and a lot of the bone.
President Clinton’s Meal, Grilled Australian lamb(555 PhP)
"Grass eating animals are always a healthy source of protein which makes you energetic minus the negative effects of chemically fed animals which alter your mood in a bad way."

What was really mouth-watering was the way he prepared the black rice, almost as glutinous as a risotto, and mixed with banana chips, peanuts, mangoes, corn, basil leaves, lettuce, cabbage and edible flowers. Weird combination, but they just seemed to meld into one another perfectly, starting with the sweetness of the mangoes and ending with the soothing and rich aftertaste of the rice. What makes it better is that it is one of the healthy kinds of rice, being completely made of complex carbohydrates and low on the glycemic level.
Black Mountain Rice up close

My companion’s turkey was served inside an orange, and had the same rice accoutrement that ended up outshining its viand. Like the lamb, there was not much turkey, but whatever there was was scrumptious. It was moist and sweet and slightly tart at the same time. I preferred my lamb, though, not because of the flavor, but because I generally prefer lamb over turkey. Both dishes were accompanied with a sauce that tasted like patis and bagoong at the same time, and I chose not to use it because I was already enjoying all the sweetness coming from the rice. There were also much lettuce and cabbage leaves that we ended up making lettuce or cabbage rolls of our food, and we still kept on eating the rice even when there were no more lamb or turkey, it’s that good!

President Lincoln’s Meal, Organic Turkey slow-cooked and simmered
with Fresh fruit extracts and Organic Herbs, (555 PhP)

TURKEY contains a natural chemical - "trytophan"- that activates serotonin hormones in the brain that flush out bad mood and gives you that super chill mood..."

This place is only open late afternoons. According to an article written by Anne Jambora in the Inquirer, "For a time, his restaurant was open 24 hours, with guests knocking on his door at dawn for some teatime. He was amused at first, he said, since it felt like he had visitors coming over to his house. But when word spread of the place and more people trooped to his place, he decided to open only for teatime (5-7 p.m.); dinner (7-10:30 p.m.); and late teatime (10:30-1 a.m.)."

This restaurant is not the place where you’d be focused on cooking technicalities, but its vibe and creativity all the more makes up for it. Nobody puts it better than Jetro himself, as quoted from the same article where he says:
“You’re not here to experience fine-dining service. You have to go to the counter, ring the bell, write down your order, wait for your order to get cooked and then come back for it at the counter when it’s done. You’re not here for good food, either. You’re here for an experience, to understand the life and world of a bipolar…. Here we celebrate our imperfections; here we embrace our flaws and weaknesses. I set this up as a way of sharing my life and my diet. Van is not about me; it’s not about the place. It’s a personal experience about the people who come here.”
Jetro Rafael : Owner of VGIB
part of the menu. Click below to magnify.

Van Gogh is Bipolar

living art space. cafe.
154 Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village

*open everyday except Tuesday from 5:30 pm to 12:30 am
*cash basis only, wheelchair friendly
Su: 6:00 pm - 1:00 am
Su: 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm

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