IT’S a common dilemma of busy working professionals. You don’t have time to prepare food at home since you lead a very busy life at work, so you have to eat out most of the time. You want to eat healthy, but the options that present themselves before you are fast-foods and casual dining restaurants that basically serve American style food.
Now, if you’re in the Mandaluyong-San Juan area, you have an option: Organico Gourmet. It’s a restaurant that serves healthy but delicious food in a comfy casual setting at affordable prices. Located right along Luna Mencias St., near the corner of Shaw Blvd., in Mandaluyong City, it makes use of organic ingredients—from the vegetables to the eggs, poultry and meat to the milk and fruits—so you can sit back and feel assured that you’re eating something good. And since the place used to be a house, you are able to enjoy your food as if you’re in the comforts of your own home.
The Executive Chef of Organico Gourmet is Gloria de Vera, who is totally committed to serve only healthy and organic food that is at the same time delicious and fully satisfying. Her commitment comes from a very personal experience. Her youngest daughter battled with weight problems back when she was 12. She loved to eat, and steak was her favorite food in the world. She would eat it so often she ballooned to 170 lbs. Chef Gloria was naturally alarmed. She felt in a way guilty because she was then in culinary school and was cooking a lot at home, so she knew she had to do something to help her daughter win the battle against the bulge. She researched on proper nutrition, read up on diets, and came up with a menu plan that centered around healthy, organic food. In two weeks’ time, her daughter successfully lost 10 lbs., which motivated the 12-year-old to continue eating healthy and light. Now, at 16, she weighs a light and healthy 115 lbs.
So, now, Chef Gloria wants to share her success story and help others who have a similar problem to find the right solution to their problem. She put up Organico Gourmet, which is mainly a restaurant that serves organic and all-natural food, including a whole range of cold-pressed juice made from 80% vegetables and 20% fruits. The juices, processed through a slow juicer that keeps enzymes alive, can be enjoyed with the food at the restaurant or bought in bottled form to take home.
The restaurant’s menu, which Chef Gloria drew up with Sous Chef Mark Bernardino, makes full use of organic, all-natural, pesticide-free, hand-grown and non-GMO ingredients. Chef Gloria makes sure that even the meats they use come from animals that have been grass-fed and not treated with any form of chemicals.
The menu is as extensive as the menus of regular restaurants, with appetizers, soups, salads, seafood, chicken, pork, pasta, pizza, sandwiches, yes, steaks, rice bowls and desserts. Organico Gourmet is a place where you can have brown rice, red rice or black rice, which go very well with must-try dishes such as Bellychon (pork belly stuffed with garlic and leeks, prepared into a roulade, and slow-cooked in the oven until finger-licking tender), Grilled Prawns with Passionfruit Butter Sauce (fresh prawns butterflied, seasoned with herbs and grilled and served with a unique sweet-and-sour blend of passionfruit butter sauce), and Tamarind & Honey-glazed Chicken (soft and juicy chicken inasal marinated overnight and served piping hot with brown rice and toasted garlic).
Not to be missed is the restaurant’s signature dish, Bulalo Steak, which is an heirloom recipe of Chef Gloria’s family, the Reyeses, which has been passed on from generation to generation. For Organico Gourmet, Chef Gloria uses Australian beef that is guaranteed to be grass-fed, antibiotic-free and non-GMO.
The sandwiches on the menu are pretty interesting. Aside from the Organico Gourmet Burger (made with ground grass-fed Angus Rib Eye, layered with freshly sliced organic salad tomatoes, crisp organic lettuce and aged cheese), the restaurant offers Banhmi (Vietnamese style sandwich of grilled organic chicken, liver pate, pickled organic vegetables and various Asian herbs in a freshly baked French baguette), Oyster Po ‘boy (a New Orleans classic of oysters coated with organic beer batter and deep-fried, then served in a homemade baguette with creamy garlic kefir sauce), and Mushroom Burger (special organic mushroom-filled burger).
Leave room for dessert, as it, too, offers a few surprises. There’s Mango Pudding with Chia Seeds, Sweet Potato S-mores, Coconut Panna Cotta and Kapeng Organiko Panna Cotta.
As for the cold-pressed juices, it comes initially in five variants—Mango Fusion (mango, yellow watermelon and lemon), Pineapple Mint (pineapple, cucumber and mint), Red Beet Fusion (red beets, red capsicum and lime), Carrot Fusion (carrots, orange and apple), and Energy (kale or Chinese broccoli, and cucumber).
True to its healthy nature, Organico Gourmet devotes a portion of the place to a market area of super grocer, where healthy, organic and all-natural food and beverage products sourced from all over the country and even abroad are available for sale.
What’s more: the restaurant has an in-house nutritionist who can design a diet program for customers based on their personal needs; and complete breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner fares can be delivered straight to their homes to make sure they comply with their diet program. Personalized meal programs cost Php1,500 per day.
What Organico Gourmet hopes to do is ignite a healthy dining revolution in the country. “Our tagline is ‘Deliciously Organic’ because we want to show people that organic food can be delicious as much as it is healthy,” says Chef Gloria.
(Organico Gourmet is located at 916 Luna Mencias St., Mandaluyong City. For inquiries, reservations and meal plan deliveries, call 0917-3790888.)