It’s been months since I wanted to check out this particular restaurant. I read what few reviews I could find online, checked out photos on Instagram, and bombarded Jec with questions. I was convinced that I was gonna love it nevertheless. The reviews online were enough to make me want to go there ASAP.
Finally, I got enough moolah to spend on a fancy dinner so I made a reservation and finally, a week ago (October 15, 2017), Jec and I went to Van Gogh is Bipolar along Maginhawa St. in QC.
Even before we went there, I knew it was going to be an “odd restaurant.”
This is what I gathered from various sources: Jetro, the owner of the restaurant, has a bipolar disorder, which he used to build what now is known as Van Gogh Is Bipolar. Back then, he did everything himself – from welcoming the guests to accommodating them in between to cooking the meals. I thought it was such a hectic job, but it had a twist in the service where you actually serve yourself, return your plates after eating and leave your payment after, which is known as the “honesty system.”
But when we went there, there were already servers, and Jetro just came back from out of the country. His brother, Giovanni, prepared the dishes instead.
Van Gogh Is Bipolar is more than what I expected it to be.
It definitely exceeded my expectations.
There were some areas that could be improved, but I believe no restaurant is really ever perfect.
Going there, the place is isolated from the other restaurants along the street. You’ll have to go inside this doorway to find the restaurant on the right corner. It looks like an abandoned garden on the outside, but inside, it’s all sorts of eccentric and.. bipolar. You could say all the furniture are industrial but in an odd way. The door was made of a cabinet. The table we got was a sewing machine, pieces of furniture were turned into decorative pieces, and so on.
There was so much to see and so much to do during your stay there. Boredom has no place in Van Gogh Is Bipolar – Jetro made sure of that. On the back of the menu is a map of the place and the activities that you can do during your stay. It could be before eating or while waiting for the next course.
TEA | Bottomless Mood Tea
So while waiting, and being the adventurous human that I am, we tried on different hats and made our own tea. For tea lovers, here’s a huge plus: you can refill your teapot with hot water twice! I’m sure that would be sulit enough. I can’t remember the concoction I did but I threw in some herbs for my headache, too. I also wrote on the wall – something that you would always see at the end of my blog posts, “With love and light.”
They had a pretty good playlist. Some of the songs played were reminiscent of the old PH courtship days, which gave me extra cheese. I don’t know, I guess I just really have a soft spot for Kundiman.
Even before the soup and the appetizer, we were served the welcome tea and then our wine and drinks (yes, those were two separate beverages!). Both were delicious. One was like a fusion of honey and caramel, and the other a coconut water (buko). I don’t like alcoholic drinks, so I gave my wine to Jec.
WINE | Romeo & Juliet Organic Wine
DRINKS | Courtney Love’s Potion of the Day (varies everyday)
SOUP | Virginia Woolf’s Tears
I really loved the soup they served. I’m not sure about the ingredients, but it was a hodgepodge of meat, vegetables, and plants. Next, we were served this very odd yet very delicious appetizer. It was like an egg shot and the server prepares it in front of you while saying how it’s done. I can’t really describe its taste, but it has a powerful flavor. I know it’s weird to think that a shot is enough as an appetizer. But trust me, with the right ingredients, it is! This is the only photo I have of the appetizer. 🙁 I took a quick photo and proceeded to video.
APPETIZER | Axl Rose’s Egg Shot
While waiting for the food, I went to the comfort room (50% to pee, 50% to check out the decorations). It has a stand on one corner with a yellowish light, so I thought that was the light itself. When I was done with my business, I opened the door and that’s when I only saw the light switch (really, Bae!!!). LOL. I know, sometimes my brain’s a little uncooperative. So, later on, when Jec had to use the comfort room, I asked him to take another batch of photos – this time with the lights on!
The comfort room has really weird decorations – well, the entire restaurant, actually – but the little space outside the C.R. has even weirder interiors. I almost screamed when I saw the life-size Pirate decor on the door (I didn’t see it when I entered the comfort room because the door was already open).
We didn’t have to wait too long for the food to arrive. I was actually expecting that it would take 30 minutes to an hour before our food arrived, but as I mentioned earlier, Jetro doesn’t do all the cooking anymore – his brother does, which makes everything quicker and more convenient.
When you Google van Gogh’s menu, you probably won’t see anything permanent. Their food changes a lot depending on the customers and on Jetro, I think. If it’s your first time, Chef Giovanni might give you a template dish. If it’s your second time, he might give it a twist. So it heavily depends on the occasion.
MAIN COURSE | Happy + calm
Finally, our food arrived. It was a literal feast. Jec even mentioned how it was like eating in the “Game Of Thrones” era, and I had to agree because it was a plate of various foods including roasted chicken, grilled (?) fish, black rice, vegetables, and fruits. Since Jec wanted his food a bit spicy, his other half had chili flakes on it. My greedy self would always forget and take bites from his side fo the plate, only to be disappointed that it’s mildly spicy. 🙁 Because half of the plate had fruits in it, you’d think it was already the dessert, but it’s just part of the meal.
The dessert was something else.
Like the appetizer, it was only a single shot. The server prepared everything in a round flask before pouring it into two shot glasses. Right after taking the shot, you have to eat the “lollipop” (dark chocolate on a spoon), which is like the chaser.
Just imagining its taste brings me back to the place, I kid you not.
It looked scary at first, but once you take it, the taste is super mindblowing, followed by the homemade dark chocolate with some sprinkles.
Mel Gibson’s Darkest Sins + Marilyn Monroe’s Messy Ice Lolly
To be really honest, the dessert was my favorite part. The dessert and the soup, that’s it. Oh, and my caramel-honey juice. It tasted like honey juice but on top of it is the caramelly bits. It’s like drinking a rock salt cheese milk tea. At first, you drink and think that it has an ordinary milk tea taste, but the rock salt cheese on top chases after your tongue, so it has this pasabog flavor that will catch you off-guard. So yeah, I drank my juice lips to glass, no straw!
For a more casual dessert, they also served this homemade yogurt with mango slices and dark chocolate smeared on one side. This is to balance everything out and not make it 100% yogurt. To be honest, eating it that way would be too boring, and their homemade dark chocolate had a kick in it, so it blended with the yogurt well.
Writing this, I thought of doing an intense restaurant review. But I thought I wouldn’t give justice to how well everything was executed from the very accommodating service to the wonderful food to the interesting interiors. So I just shared my entire experience minus the nitty-gritty details. I also don’t want to bombard you with too much information.
So take this as an encouragement for you to go and have your personal experience.
Overall, we spent 3 hours there, but we didn’t notice because we were just enjoying our time. I was nursing a bad headache during the entire night, but I tried putting it aside. In case you’re wondering, we got the LOVERS meal, which is P3,500, already good for 2 people. If you’re on a budget, there are much cheaper meals, like the Classic, P777.
You don’t really have to settle for set meals. They also serve ala carte meals during lunchtime, which I believe is cheaper since you’d also pick what you personally want. Their ala carte meals are affordable, nothing really fancy priced, so it’s a real steal!
!!! Disclaimer !!!
It’s your discretion if a restaurant like this will interest you. Not everyone will appreciate “weird interiors” and edible flowers on their plates. From my personal experience, I saw a couple enter the restaurant and the entire time, the girl had this “NOPE, I AIN’T HAVING THIS” look on her face. I didn’t even have to see her face per se. They looked very hesitant. Once seated, they looked at the menu and when the server left, I saw from the corner of my eye how the girl kept shaking her head. So they left. I told Jec that the girl looked disgusted. No hate, but she also looks like the kind who takes fancy dinners casually so I wasn’t surprised how the place spooked her. Jec thought they just went outside just to see the decors in the “garden” but then they never went back, so…
You also have to pay attention that food is not consistent; it changes every time. What you’re seeing now in this blog post might not be the same thing they’re serving a year from now. They also serve mood healing food, so the flowers are not for mere decor – they’re actually edible (and they taste good). So if you’re adventurous with food and you appreciate labor from the heart, be my guest. Or rather, be Van Gogh Is Bipolar’s guest! 😉
VISIT VAN GOGH IS BIPOLAR!
📍 154 Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines 📍
☎️ 0922-824-3051 ☎️