Words by Howi Bakunawa
Photos by Zoie Sy
Vegan. It’s a word many Filipinos tend to avoid. For those who have never tried it, vegan cookery might even be synonymous to bland, unappetizing food. In a country where meat-eating is the norm, one restaurant is taking these long-held misconceptions and challenging them in the best way possible.
I’m talking about Green Bar—a resto whose specialties include bold, innovative flavors wrapped in simple, no-frills, and delicious vegan dishes. If you’ve ever had thoughts about going vegan then the food at Green Bar is a must-try. A first step, if you will, to see all the exciting and delectable things vegan cuisine has to offer.
For starters, we have their take on Nachos, Cheesy Potato Flatbread, and Barbacoa Tacos:
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Top: Barbacoa Tacos, Lower left: Nachos, Lower right: Cheesy Potato Flatbread
“Wait”, I hear you saying, “Cheese? On a vegan dish?” Let me introduce you to the world of non-dairy cheese which, I dare say, is miles ahead of their animal-based counterparts. Not only is it a godsend for those of us who are lactose-intolerant or vegan, but it also tastes amazing!
Their Nachos, on the other hand, are topped with a gooey, melt-in-your-mouth, soy-based pepperjack cheese. Then there’s the Cheesy Potato Flatbread, a dish guaranteed to make your mouth water with their fresh, homemade thin-crust bread topped with soy-based mozzarella, a creamy, cashew-based white sauce, and the one thing that vegans and non-vegans can all agree on: warm, rich, and velvety potatoes. Not to be outdone, their Barbacoa Tacos is sure to make you swear off of meat altogether once you take a bite of their seitan cooked in their signature savory chipotle sauce.
If you’re more about breakfast (and honestly who doesn’t love breakfast?), Green Bar has your cravings covered. Two dishes that definitely stand out from the all-day breakfast section of their menu are the Chickpea Omelette and the Breakfast Burrito:
Green Bar’s Chickpea Omelette is a beautiful, golden, garbanzo flour-based pocket stuffed with all sorts of vegan delights. Digging in further, you get rich layers of emerald-colored kale, topaz-bright pepperjack cheese, and onyx-like sausage crumbles. A quick and simple treat, yes, but with a treasure trove’s worth of flavor!
Their Breakfast Burrito is everything you could ever ask for wrapped inside of a tortilla. Their tofu-scramble, seasoned with turmeric for a bright, sunny color, make for a great, protein-filled replacement for eggs. Throw some roasted potatoes, baby spinach, and seitan sausage into the mix and drizzle the whole affair with vegan hollandaise sauce, then you’ve got a hearty, filling meal that’s perfect at whatever time of day.
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But why limit ourselves to breakfast fare when Green Bar has so much more to offer? Let me introduce you to their Cheesy Mac Crackling Burrito:
Cheesy Mac Crackling Burrito
It’s a dish that I can’t help but wholeheartedly recommend. I took some back on the way home from a long commute through the Metro and once I had taken my first bite, my eyes let out tears of joy. It was almost as if it had managed to touch my weary soul just as much as my taste buds. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but their Cheesy Mac Crackling Burrito is just that good. The grilled flour tortilla gives a nice bit of bite to the chewy, gooey mac n’ cheese. With an added helping of grilled sweet potatoes and crispy soy skin, the whole dish brings a vibrant range of textures and flavors that are enough to bring tears to a grown man’s eyes.
Now we’re getting into some hotly-debated, highly-contested territory. Burger-purists will tell you that there is no other way to a good burger than meat. I’m here to tell you that plant-based burgers are just as good, if not better. How you may ask? Just try Green Bar’s version of the Beyond Burger and their Wild Thing Bacun Cheeseburger.
The Beyond Burger, as some of you may know, is as their inventors describe it: “the world’s first plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and satisfies like beef without GMOs, soy, or gluten“. It goes without saying that you should expect a juicy, full-flavored patty. Green Bar lets its star-ingredient shine with rustic yet classic pairings of pepperjack cheese, lettuce, onion, and pickles that are sure to give any meat-based burger a run for its money.
Now, one of the most common arguments against veganism is bacon. Bacon, bacon, bacon. As a vegan myself, I’ve heard it countless of times. But what if I told you that there’s a plant-based version of bacon that gives the same taste and crispy texture? Green Bar’s Wild Thing Bacun Cheeseburger is the definition of a truly indulgent dish with unturkey bacun, a seitan and jackfruit patty, lettuce, crispy onion rings, mozzarella cheese, and chipotle mayo all served on a gorgeously toasted sesame bun.
But maybe all of this is starting to sound a bit over the top. (I did say that Green Bar specializes in bold, innovative flavors) Maybe you’re a more down-to-earth rice-and-ulam kind of person. Or maybe not. But no matter what your preferences are, Green Bar has got you covered with their BBQ Seitan Rice Bowl and Hollywood Bowl!
BBQ Seitan Rice Bowl
Their BBQ Seitan Rice Bowl is a dish of homely flavors owing to the coconut-creamed kale, roasted squash and broccoli, barbecue-seasoned seitan all served with a generous serving of rice! Their BBQ seitan is crispy, chewy and delicious. With the veggies and rice, there’s no doubt that you’ll feel like you’ve had a full-course and satisfying meal.
If you’re looking for something a bit lighter on the palate, Green Bar’s Hollywood Bowl just might be the dish for you. Their quinoa and mixed greens serve to cut the intense richness of the dish’s seitan. It comes complete with a coconut-bacun ranch dressing that adds a juicy, lip-smacking savoriness that gives a wonderfully-nuanced balance to the dish as a whole.
When we said a “vegan feast”, we really meant a feast. But even after all these dishes, we hope you left some room for dessert! You’re going to need it for Green Bar’s Vegan Donuts. Despite coming in an assortment of flavors, all of their donuts are created equal. Equally delicious! They’re soft and sweet — the perfect end to an amazing meal.
When I first tried their donuts, I was so happy. Happy not only because as a vegan myself, I hadn’t eaten a donut for two whole years up until that point, but happy also because I had the chance to enjoy it alongside my non-vegan friends. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s good food. And if it’s good food that we’re talking about, then Green Bar stands out as a prime example. Their menu is guaranteed to bring together both vegans and non-vegans alike.
Address: 106 Aguirre Street, Legaspi Village, 1229 Makati
Phone number: 0917-808-2506