Spotlight: Gourmet Gypsy Art Café

With Quezon City’s saturated restaurant scene, Gourmet Gypsy place stands out with its good food, heart, and passion

By Diana Camacho
Photos by SIDE X SIDE

Quezon city is teeming with restaurants that it might be a challenge to find one that’s the right mix of concept, food, and passion. But this unassuming restaurant nestled along the streets of Roces Avenue is one of those that makes the grade.

Gourmet Gypsy Art Café, as the name would suggest, features global cuisine that are as comforting as they are worldly. But don’t be fooled with the words “art café.” This place is one of the most honest places I’ve been to so far.

Operating at a house-turned-restaurant since November 2014, Gourmet Gypsy is owned and helmed by Chef Waya Araos (formerly of Kiss the Cook in Maginhawa) who also runs Open Hand School, a vocational school for adults with special needs. What’s the connection you ask? The café actually serves as a venue for her cooking, baking, and entrepreneurial students to train as cooks, bakers, servers, and admin officers.

The warmth and kindness are apparent the moment you enter its doors. With furniture crafted by Chef Waya’s late father, sculptor Jerry Araos, photos by her husband, Ernie Wijangco, furnishings handpicked from the couple’s personal travels, and the Scandinavian bohemian motif, the place feels more like your hipster aunt’s home.

Nevertheless, the reason for the visit will always be about the food. And there was no shortage of good eats during out visit.

We started with the Hummus Kawarma (Php 220). With zesty hummus, pan-fried lamb bits, spiced chickpeas, lemon sauce, fresh herbs, and warm pita bread, it was a harmony of flavors that was enough to whet our appetite.

The Kimchi Bacon Grilled Cheese (Php 320) was a crowd-pleaser. Not being a kimchi fan, I wasn’t expecting much but the combination of the bacon and kimchi (both made in-house), coddled by a blanket of oozy mozzarella in-between toasty ciabatta made me a kimchi-convert. Even the side of perfectly-seasoned potato wedges deserves its own shoutout.

We also tried three of their best-sellling pastas: Spicy Coco Mango Pasta with Pinipig Crusted Fish (Php 320), Al Nero (Php 280), and Pesto Primavera (Php 320). The Spicy Mango Pasta was a hit. Creamy with a subtle mango sweetness and a kick of heat, it’s a well-balanced dish that’s indeed deserving of its best-seller label.

The Al Nero, with its briny squid ink sauce peppered with mango and basil flavors, is a twist on your usual black ink sauce; while the Primavera is a medley fresh vegetables that’s light as it is comforting.

For dessert, we tried their Vietnamese Affogato (Php 180), Pavlova (Php 220), and Gingersnap Cheesecake (Php 260). The Affogato did not disappoint. With coffee jelly as strong as your typical Vietnamese brew and a condensed milk ice cream, it’s a play on the Vietnamese cafe sua da that gives just the right jolt of caffeine after eating all those carbs.

If you’re looking for something more tart, the Pavlova is a must. With a meringue base, passionfruit curd, and fresh mangoes and kiwi, it feels like a tropical party in your mouth. Lastly, for a final touch of creamy sweetness, the cheesecake will do the trick—light cheesecake veiled by a glistening lemon curd over a gingersnap base, it’s a dessert home run.

With an array of well-composed dishes that are beautifully plated and served with a side of home-style coziness, Gourmet Gypsy will bring out the wanderer in your taste buds. Properly worldly but in-touch with its roots, it’s a place that you’ll keep coming back to among a field of sprouting restaurants in the city.

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