Green Bar

Can the terms “vegan” and “comfort food” belong in the same sentence? The answer is a resounding YES if one is dining at Green Bar. This chic spot located at West of Ayala in Legaspi Village serves up a variety of light meal items as well as more substantial all-day breakfast and bowl sets, all with a uniquely healthy twist.

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We arrived here on an odd Saturday evening when we needed both comfort food as well as study fuel in preparation for a long night of reviewing for exams. Thankfully Green Bar had just what we wanted. We ordered the Queso Pop, which is Green Bar’s vegan take on the quesadilla, as well as the Texas BBQ bowl for a more substantial entree. Lee was in an adventurous mood, hence he ‘built’ his own bowl with a variety of greens, vegetables, and non-meat protein choices. We chose to wash this all down with two glasses of light and refreshing lemongrass pandan juice, ideal for cleansing the palate!

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The Queso Pop turned out not only to be larger than we expected, but also much heartier thanks to its being filled with a mix of three vegan cheeses: Chipotle Cheddar, cream cheese, and mozzarella. Each bite was molten comfort, with a slight spicy kick from the Chipotle Cheddar. This starter came with a small saucer of salsa fresca, which was a great tangy complement to the richness of the quesadilla.

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The Texas BBQ bowl was touted as being the perfect comfort bowl—and indeed it lived up to its reputation. There were some familiar favorites such as smashed potatoes, coleslaw, and chipotle dressing, as well as pleasant surprises such as “bacun”, a healthy yet flavorful coconut based alternative to bacon. The meal in itself was very filling yet not overly savoury, with the flavors of each ingredient nicely balancing out each other. We’d definitely recommend this not only for comfort food but even for carbo-loading purposes!

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As for the build your own bowl, the mixed greens and veggie spirals were fresh and crisp not just in appearance, but also with in terms of taste. The bbq tofu added some much needed bite with its sweet and peppery notes. The “bacun”, while not as smoky in flavors as its porky cousin, still offered a nice crunch. With the garlicky red rice, with a splash of balsamic vinaigrette bringing all these individual elements together, it became a guiltless treat in itself.

 

Green Bar also has its own daily specials as well as a small lineup of desserts and pastries to round off a meal. Also highly recommended are its breakfast selections and ‘handhelds’, which are healthy take-offs on sandwiches and burritos. We will certainly keep this place on the radar for future visits and study sessions!

 

Food score: 5/5. This place has fairly large portions that do not skimp in terms of flavor or freshness. Green Bar also has some of the best meat substitutes we’ve encountered so far in our food trips.

 

Ambiance/Service Score: 5/5: One perk of this place is its calm and cozy interior, reminding one more of a sedate lounge than a city cafe, making this spot excellent for meetings or quiet casual dining. The service is prompt and friendly, making dining here even more pleasant.

 

GERD Score: 4.5/5: Green Bar’s selections allow people with heartburn to immerse themselves with a meal but without the worry of having the acid act up badly. Depending on your appetite and serving size considerations, a bowl is good either for one or two people as well.

 

Epilepsy Score: 4.5/5: Fresh ingredients make this place a great stop for diners with restrictions on preservatives. Gluten free selections also are available here.  However one may want to go for less heavily seasoned choices or simpler dressings just to err on the safe side with allergies and sensitivities.

Team Glasses Score: 4.5/5: For a quiet dinner out, or pregaming before a long evening, this place fits the bill. We hope to be able to try the other recommendations such as the breakfast dishes soon!

Green Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Pipino

One of the most readily mentioned health foods—regardless of trends and fads—is Cucumis sativus, or more commonly known as the cucumber. It has been touted as a refreshing source of micronutrients such as magnesium and potassium, as well as antioxidants that help protect the body from the effects of stress and toxins. It is only fitting that this fruit should lend its name, albeit in the Filipino language, to a healthy dining restaurant on Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Diliman in Quezon City.

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Pipino is one of three restaurants located on 39 Malingap Street; one of its neighbors, Pi Breakfast and Pies, is dedicated to baked delicacies and hearty morning meals. The other, Pino, is a sleek and edgy casual dining restaurant and bar. Pipino on the other hand specializes in vegan dishes inspired from various Southeast Asian as well as Italian cuisines. The restaurant with its small store has a fresh and airy garden-type ambiance. Casual and comfortable seating and homey accent pieces add to the serene vibe, perfect for a leisurely dinner, or in my case, a girls’ brunch out.

My friends and I dropped in at the beginning of the long weekend, as part of kicking off some newfound resolutions for healthy eating. In light of this, it took us a while to peruse the menu of vegan Filipino dishes, eager to find a new take on some of our favorite flavors. We decided to try out the potato chilaquiles, the vegetable kare-kare, the tofu satay, and the portobello inasal.

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The potato chilaquiles, a platter of fresh potato chips topped with chili con lentils, salsa, jalapenos, and vegan mayo capers, is clearly meant for sharing or as ‘bar chow’. Despite the presence of chili peppers, the sauce is more of tangy than actually hot and spicy, and thus will not force diners into consuming copious amounts of beverages to beat the heat. It was an excellent way to whet our appetites for the coming entrees.

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The vegetable kare-kare has been touted as a vegan version of the kare-kare of Pino, with beans and eggplant in lieu of the traditional ox tripe. Everything was still topped with the traditional peanut sauce, and served with a side of black bean bagoong. As I have an allergy to the usual seafood bagoong, this vegan version was a welcome surprise for me.  No flavors were skimped or lost in this healthy take on a Filipino favorite.

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The tofu satay came as a pair of grilled tofu and vegetable skewers, served with satay sauce and brown rice. The tofu was delicately seared on the outside, yet firm and moist on the inside. The vegetables were also carefully grilled, brushed only with oil to preserve their natural flavors. The satay sauce did not overwhelm this precise mixture, but added a mild and slightly earthy backdrop to the tastes of the tofu, tomato, and zucchini. This is a hearty yet ‘guilt-free’ dish for the calorie conscious.

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The portobello inasal was also a welcome surprise; I had encountered various ways to cook mushrooms but inasal had never crossed my mind till this particular meal. The roasted mushroom was served on top of brown rice, with red beet puree as well as an eggplant ensalada salad. The inasal cooking method had imparted a slightly earthy flavor to the outside of the mushroom, but still locked in its natural juices. The red beet puree provided a slightly sweet contrast to the mushroom, while the eggplant salad was an excellent way to clean the palate.

A plethora of other Filipino favorites, as well as pastas, salads and desserts are featured on Pipino’s menu. The cookies and pastries are also available in the in-house store. Among the restaurants in the Maginhawa Street/Teachers Village stretch, this is one place that can cater to diehard vegans as well as newcomers to healthier food choices. It is worth traveling across the city for. More power to the chefs and staff of this wonderful haven, and we at Team Glasses look forward to coming back here soon.

The Food Score:  5/5: This is a place that does vegan and healthy food right: flavors locked in, few spices and seasonings, and fresh ingredients. It’s a far cry from the ‘rabbit chow’ feel so associated with some other establishments. While the food is a little above the student budget range, the prices will not break the bank or leave a diner in debt.

Ambiance/Service Score: 5/5: The airy second-floor location is perfect for a relaxed dining experience, far above the hustle and bustle below. The service is prompt, friendly, and helpful. Although it may take time for the food to be served, the dishes are worth the wait.

GERD Score: 5/5: The selections are plentiful, allowing for persons coping with GERD to more easily pick foods that will exclude any triggers. The serving sizes are manageable, and good for either sharing or solo scoffing—with less risk of reflux.

Epilepsy Score:  5/5: The style of cooking here uses few additives and seasonings, thus making the dishes safer for persons with adverse reactions to these substances. Preserved ingredients are scarce. The restaurant’s ambiance is devoid of harsh lighting and loud sounds, making it a safe space to dine.

Team Glasses Score: 5/5: We’d travel miles again for this restaurant and its specialties. While this is not a place for students to hold study groups and cramming sessions in (despite its location in proximity to some universities), this is more of a place to celebrate the beginning of the weekend, or take a break from the chaos of the city.

Pipino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato