G/F West Tower, 39th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila
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I loved it.
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If you don't know who Ginny De Guzman is, then you better familiarize yourself because she's the fabulous baker behind this lovely little place called Gustare. The Turtle Pie, the Mango or Strawberry Pavlova and the Lemon Torte are amongst my family's favorites. And you haven't lived until you've tried Gustare's Caviar Pie! I'm definitely posting a photo of it next time --- it's always the first one to get devoured before photos can be taken!
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The Impossible Chocolate Cake. Combine a super moist buttery dark chocolate cake by topping it with a custardy and creamy leche flan, and drench it with a nice golden caramel leche flan sauce. Impossibly good, impossibly rich (without being overwhelming), and impossibly addicting.
This "impossible" heavenly pastry (and other more heavenly sweets and hearty dishes) is only available at Gustare. A cozy and quaint hole-in-the-wall kitchen -cafe at the much less densely populated side of BGC. The establishment is easy to miss. No signages of any sorts at the outside nor at the building's front (except for an etched sign at their heavy glass door). It sits at the end of a narrow corridor at the ground floor of a residential high-rise building.
The lovely place looks more like a test kitchen. Subdued house lighting but with bright pin-lights from their high ceiling , a single long heavy wooden tasting table, walls lined with chillers, freezers, and a food display shelf. Their kitchen sits just off the main counter. It evokes a vibe of dining and hanging out at a someone's lovely home kitchen.
The store's concept is more on the take-out and catering services. Their offerings are usually bought by BGC high rise dwellers and reheated for home consumption (most stock up for future meals or pop 'em in the oven/micro so no more cooking). Moreso, they also cater to BGC office yuppies---usually food served by bosses during meetings or employees who want to bring precooked baon to work. Private catering for private meals at the place. One of the owners, Chef Ginny Roces de Guzman, doesn't mind that their shop is under the foodie radar vis-a-vis other food establishments. They like to maintain the vibe of the place as a passionate foodie's find with their unique offerings banking on word-of-mouth. However, they welcome walk-in clients who would like to eat what offerings they have readily available. They accept whole cake orders. Call them a day before and they'll have your cake ready for pick up the next day.
I first visited this place a couple of years ago. A friend hosted a private dinner at this place (you can have them cater and have the place all to yourself for a minimum of 10 people). I recall loving the food excellently prepared by the two owners/chefs. I recall loving their dainty but tasty appetizers/finger foods, their arroz pollo (their take on paella), pot roast, peruvian chicken, fresh salads, and their Strawberry Pavlova. I did ask for their calling card (which I lost). I never did get the chance to come back not until this visit where I am now making a review.
I visited a friend who just moved into the building where Gustare was located and we decided to grab some coffee and sweets at the place. This visit, we were lucky that we got to meet Chef Ginny who was there. Though busy at the kitchen, she would occasionally have small chats with us and oriented us with their specialty dishes.
Their freezer was full of various packed frozen meals. Their pastry chiller had a number of whole cakes and a few solo-sized cakes. We were lucky to get the last piece of the Impossible Chocolate Cake (solo size). We also got their Mango Pavlova. Their Mango Pavlova was also delicious. The merengue crust was lightly crunchy and nicely melted in the mouth. The golden-yellow mango slices were nicely sweet with a faint touch of tang (although, the one we had --we had to wait for a few more minutes for the fruit to thaw). And the pastry had a thin layer of vanilla cream that nicely brought the pastry together.
While waiting for our coffee to be brewed, we checked their other offerings displayed in their counter and chillers. It was a foodies' haven of new find treats. Interesting bottled/packed sweet and savory treats all prepared by the owners' kitchen. Chef Ginny gamely answered our queries about their offerings on sale. Ended up taking home some of their "best sellers": pre-packed frozen Lamb Calderetta, Pot Roast, Meat Lasagna, and Batangas Adobo. Also ended up getting their Coffee Merengue Kisses, a bottle of the Spicy Tuyo, a bottle of their Santol Bagoong , and solo sizes of their Lychee Cheesecake and Chocolate Crack Pie.
As I write this review, I have tasted some of the stuff that I took home.
The Coffee Merengue Kisses: delicate and lovely sweet mocha flavored merengue. Lightly crunchy but with a melt-in-your-mouth center. Not overwhelmingly sweet, addicting pop and pop and can't stop into your mouth. (Much better than Sugarhouse's version).
The Spicy Tuyo- I'm rating it as the best bottled spicy tuyo in town ( sorry Blue Kitchen and Connie's Kitchen your spicy tuyo are yummy but after tasting Gustare's---this is soooo much better). Their tuyo (firmly packed, plump dried fish, uniformly sized, and skinless) was not at all "malansa". Drenched in olive oil, fried garlic slices, and chili. Chef Ginny said that it was her mom's recipe and they only had one quality supplier where they got the tuyo---thus no supply ---no spicy tuyo. It was so good. I had a piece popped in the microwave (albeit the stinky tuyo scent after) til slightly crunchy, then poured a bit of vinegar on it. Highly enjoyed it with fried rice and fried egg.
The Santol Bagoong- a different but yummy take on bagoong. Another of her mom's recipe. Sautéed Miniature fermented shrimp, garlicky , with a delicious sweet-tart from the chopped santol core (the white edible skin under the tough layer). Not as salty as the regular bagoong. Excellent with grilled talong and okra!
The Batangas Adobo: yummy tender and flavorful pork parts and ribs. Swimming in a delicious reddish-orange (achuete coloring typical of batangas adobo)oil loaded with minced and pounded garlic. Nicely salty-sour.The pork fat parts---buttery and melts in the mouth. Sarap with rice!
I have yet to taste the other frozen dishes and pastries I still have stored in my freezer in the next few days. Their pastries keep for 3 days in the ref/a week in the freezer. Their frozen ulam keeps for a month in the freezer.
For you foodies who are interested to visit the place, the building is off the beaten track within BGC. It sits north of Market-Market. The best way, take University Parkway. W Tower is behind Hanjin and near Toyota Global City. They have basement parking (super kitid turns though).
Gustare is a highly recommended hole-in-the-wall place to foodies!
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