When In Manila and you’re feeling a little under the weather, there’s a place that can surely turn any frown upside down (plus, it’s a sure shot place to impress your date).
I’ve been eyeing this interesting, quaint place in Maginhawa for quite some time now and when the perfect occasion came to date, off we go to visit Van Gogh is Bipolar (VGIB).
Van Gogh is Bipolar is Jetro Rafael’s abode-slash-happy restaurant. Just like Mel Gibson, Jim Carey, Kurt Cobain, Robert Downey, Edgar Allan Poe and Vincent Van Gogh, Jetro has been diagnosed as a bipolar. But what may seem to be an imperfection to many, gave birth to the creation of such a lovely place and food concoctions good for your body and soul.
I felt like Alice being magically warped into Wonderland when I stepped inside Van Gogh is Bipolar. (And oh, shoes are to be removed upon entering. This is part of the whole VGIB experience.) It was a feast of visual treats. Our meal hasn’t started yet but the VGIB effect is already on me. Everything was just so wonderful.
Teapots, knick knacks, thingamajigs everywhere. Walls adorned with art. Hats. Trinkets. Clocks. I was seriously waiting for the Caterpillar or the Cheshire cat to appear but it was Jetro who warmly greeted us to his very own wonderland. First up, the House Rules that VGIB lives by.
The 8 Rules of Van Gogh is Bipolar:
1. Indoors are reserved for 12 diners only. (This is why reservations are to be made beforehand.)
2. Stupid & idiots are welcome.
3. NO SERVERS HERE. If you need anything “Please ring the bell by the kitchen window.”
4. Write your name & orders on paper provided.
(You can choose the 3, 4 or 5-course meal. And you get to choose HAPPY or CHILL for your main course.)
Both being first-timers in VGIB, Jetro gave us an adventurous introductory to our 4-course meal. Say hello to the Axl Rose’s Egg Shot. An egg submerged in hot water for a few minutes, then mixed into a combination of sweet and tangy sauce. A soft-boiled egg shot for an appetizer, weird and interesting at the same time. In Van Gogh is Bipolar, we say Prost! which translates to cheers or toast in German.
Van Gogh is Bipolar menu choices are named after famous bipolar personalities and Jetro carefully created these dishes to induce happy and calming hormones, plus they’re made from all natural ingredients. So no mood swings here, only good vibes all the way!
The bell rang and our name was called. Then came our Virginia Woolf’s Tears and Courtney Love’s Potion of the Day.
Virginia Woolf’s Tears was the kind of soup that will make you feel better when you’re in bed and sick (at least for me). It has this nice texture and a little citrus-y to my taste.
Courtney Love’s Potion of the Day truly got me love potioned. It was love at first taste. All the fruits and flavors complimented each other that it made me happy with my every sip.
Our main course was each of Happy and Chill. Happy means it’s meat-based and Chill means it’s fish-based. My Happy meal is of salmon belly with black mountain rice topped with mangoes while our Chill meal is of chicken wonderfully marinated and nested on cabbage leaves and baby potatoes topped with mangoes and cashews. I forgot their names but I’m pretty sure they are after famous bipolars as well.
Next up, Dessert!
This would probably the most interesting dessert I had so far, the sinful dessert called the Mel Gibson’s Darkest Sin. The name itself already sparks curiosity. It is a shot of russian vodka paired with melted dark chocolate, crushed walnuts with honey. I’m allergic to alcohol but this one’s too good to pass, plus the vodka is served in a test tube, that made it sold for me. The warm feeling from the vodka that soothes down on your throat then the bitter-sweetness of the chocolate — it was really good.
After eating, we sent off our soiled dishes through the kitchen window. That’s rule number 6!
We were so full after our meal — full of Happiness!
To cap off our very satisfying and happy-inducing meal, it was time for some tea. Van Gogh is Bipolar is like a tea-heaven. Choose from a table of pretty-to-quirky teapots and follow the instructions on how to make your own tea.
There were six tea flavors to choose from, each giving off a different mood. I choose the Avocado Tea that evokes a soothing mood. I was wearing a fancy hat while taking a sip of my tea (yes, hats are free to use in VGIB) and all that’s missing is the Mad Hatter for our tea party of three.
Time to explore the nooks and crannies of this wonderland — after carving our names on the tea bar.
The red wall where you can write your thoughts and leave your mark in VGIB.
On your way to the washroom, there’s the dark room where dark secrets are to be written. Feel free to write yours.
Welcome to washroom! Another wonderland of its own — a paper mache horse, clocks, plants, you name it and a sweet surprise.
Someone made a proposal in Van Gogh is Bipolar and a proof of it is nicely framed in the washroom. :)
Overall, my Van Gogh is Bipolar experience was nothing short of amazing and wonderful. I can’t wait to go back there and have a new and totally different experience. That’s what Van Gogh is Bipolar gives its visitors, a unique experience every visit.
When In Manila, the Van Gogh is Bipolar experience is something one should definitely try.
As it is indeed the place where imperfections are celebrated and flaws & weaknesses are embraced. Prost!
Van Gogh is Bipolar
154 Maginhawa St. Sikatuna Village Quezon City, Metro Manila Philippines.
Text/Call 0922.824.3051 for reservations
Van Gogh is Bipolar: Restaurant Experience for any type of Mood you’re in