Pablo (my boyfriend) and I love eating out, and trying new restaurants and cafes. And because searching for new places to explore became a habit, we chanced upon Van Gogh is Bipolar. Because of its uniqueness, we were certain that we have to visit it soon.
It was November 16 last year when my boyfriend showed up to our office in Quezon City carrying a bouquet of red roses, and asked me to dine in VGIB. Since our office is just a few blocks away from Maginhawa St., where VGIB is located, we did not had a hard time locating the place, given also that we are pretty much familiar with this food street. However, VGIB can be quite a challenge to find if you are new to Maginhawa St., because it is inside a compound. But don’t worry, this is totally Waze-able. ☺
Van Gogh is Bipolar is a brainchild of, and is owned by Jetro Rafael. This restaurant is his home literally and figuratively. Because Jetro is bipolar, and he doesn’t want to depend on prescription drugs to make him stable, he helped himself by finding alternative psychotherapies. Because he loves cooking, he started designing his own diet, which is mood-healing in nature. And with the encouragement of his friends, he eventually turned his home into a mood-healing restaurant, or which he fondly calls as sanctuary, to share his talent, and to make other people eat their way to happiness and tranquility.
VGIB is very unique in all aspects. The interiors, the food, the hospitality, the experience, everything can be rated as excellent! Let me share to you our 3-hour gastronomic experience, which was very awesome, if I still haven’t made it a point.
Before entering the sanctuary, we were advised to remove our shoes. We were welcomed by Cherry, the lifeserver for that evening. She is a friend of Jetro, who volunteers to help him in attending to the customers. She is very pleasant, and she guided us the whole evening to make the most out of our dining experience.
First, we were allowed to select a table, where we would want to eat. We selected the table near the door because it is for two, and the table is large enough for us. We were given the house rules, a guide on what we can do in the sanctuary, and a short questionnaire to identify our current stress level, because the food that will be served to us will be crafted to alter our mood, and to induce good vibes. For the menu, my beau and I chose the Lover’s Feast for Twin Souls. We did not have any idea what food will be served to us that night, but we were very excited to be surprised.
While waiting for our food, Cherry gave us a very refreshing concoction – the Courtney Love’s Potion of the Day, and introduced us to Jetro. Jetro is very accommodating. He interviewed us a little, and he shared about his condition, and his personal project, which is his sanctuary. He also discussed about how food can alter mood, and induce a happier and calmer state. He also encouraged us to select a hat or mask, and wear it while we’re eating.
To start off our meal, we were served with the infamous Axl Rose Egg Shot. This shot was prepared in front of us by Cherry. In a shot glass with puree, she let out the egg from its shell, and added lemon and paprika. Jetro approached us, and taught us other words for cheers (which I forgot already, sorry!) before Pablo and I make a toast, and drink this shot. I never thought I could drink it because of the raw egg, but I must admit that the shot tasted good. This was shortly followed by the Virginia Woolf’s Tears soup. After finishing a cup, we were served with the salad, the Larry Flynt’s Cabbage Experience. This was our personal favorite! Pablo even tried to replicate this at home. There were a lot of ingredients surrounding the cabbage; there were mango, banana chips, salted egg, cucumber, olives, anchovies, and many more, which you think will not complement other ingredients, but once you wrap those with cabbage, and add the vinaigrette, voila! You would not stop eating until you finish the whole plate.
We just had our starters, but we felt a little full already so we decided to go outside first to explore what’s in the front yard, and to talk in quiet. After that, we went inside to consume our main meal. I had chicken, and Pablo had lamb. Both of our meals were served with red rice, and vegetables.
To give more space for dessert, we took a break, and explored the place. Pablo and I wrote silly stuff to each other in the dark room. Actually, the dark room is the place where you can write your dark secrets. Clearly, we did not follow the instruction very well. We also explored the red wall, where you could write anything. Most of the things written there are reviews of VGIB. After that, we headed back to our table, and I told Pablo that I will try the recommended activity of Cherry, writing a letter to your most beloved on a certain corner of the sanctuary. Pablo also tried this activity after I did it. I will not share the whole experience here, because it is very worth it to try on your own without expectations of what will happen next. ☺
Then it was dessert time! We were served with the naughty version of the dessert, the Mel Gibson’s Darkest Sin. This was prepared by Jetro on our table. It is a shot of absinthe, with melted dark chocolate, nuts and wild honey. There was a burning ceremony before taking in the absinthe, but I cannot fully remember now the exact preparation. I must have gotten drunk with that one shot. Hahaha!
Here are a few snapshots of our one-of-a-kind date. We only have limited pictures because VGIB observes digital detox.
You could create your own tea. There are a lot of cute teapots and cups available, and there is a tea bar, where you could get the leaves. I prepared a tea for us, but I failed to use a filter so we were not able to drink it. Failed attempt on being domesticated. Hahaha!
The hats and mask we used that night. GGSS shots, gandang ganda/gwapong gwapo sa sarili.
Some shots of the interior. The first picture is the location of the teapots and the kitchen area. The second picture is the oil station. You could try the healthy oils in this section.
The front yard. This place is so relaxing!
My handsome date, and our only picture together that night. We went home with a happier vibe, heart and tummy.
If you are looking for a unique date idea with your family, friends or special someone, or you just want to take a breather on your busy or stressful life, I highly recommend to visit Van Gogh is Bipolar. It is located at Inner Courtyard, 154 H. Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City. You may also check their site here.