Published on November 06, 2014
Aldous of Aldous Ate the World invited me once again to a food-tasting event that he organized. Our destination: Jeepney Bistro near Katipunan Avenue. Living in Manila for all my life, I already knew that travelling to Quezon City can be a pain in the you-know-where. Good thing though that it was a Sunday so most of the roads were not that busy. That and the fact that Waze App saved our day once again! After more than an hour of driving, my heart jumped out of relief when I finally spotted Jeepney Bistro.
Jeepney Bistro in Katipunan is already their second branch and has been operational for only a few months. Can you guess where their pioneer branch is? I bet you wouldn’t guess it! Well, the owners put up their first branch in… drum roll, please… Arizona! Oh, yeah! Arizona, USA! With the Filipino cuisine slowly penetrating the international market and the taste buds of many people worldwide, it’s nice that the owners took this bold step to introduce Filipino cuisine to the world.
Nestled along the busy Katipunan Avenue, Jeepney Bistro caters to different kinds of crowds. On weekdays, most of their guests are students from the neighboring schools and universities. This is probably why their setup is somehow similar to a typical cafeteria. The owners make sure to serve food at reasonable prices. I checked out their menu, and they have meals which start at only PHP65! ‘Yung baon mo, pwede pang ipang-date! Char! :p
I was lucky enough to be able to dig in to some of their specialties. What sets Jeepney Bistro apart from the other Filipino restaurants is the fact that they give away a part of their family culture by sharing some of their family recipes to the hungry public.
I got to try their Lumpia de Leyte. The salty filling is paired very well with a dip in the vinegar. Judging by the fact that only a small bite of this savory dish can take you a long way, you can probably just get a cup of rice with a piece of lumpia, and you’re good to go!
Ginataang Native na Manok is not something that I usually see in Filipino restaurants. More often that not, we can only see this in fiestas and the baptism of your neighbor’s baby. But as Jeepney Bistro promises to leave a mark in everybody’s palates, this daring move will probably pay off. Native chicken is tougher than the usual chicken that our moms use for fried chicken or chicken adobo. But surprisingly, Jeepney Bistro’s version is not that tough. The aroma and flavors of the coconut milk definitely put this dish a notch higher.
And then there’s the Kinilaw. My taste buds and my tummy took quite a long time to get acquainted with kinilaw. Thinking that eating anything raw is fatal, I stayed inside my cave of fears which stopped me from trying out kinilaw. But after my first try years ago, I became unstoppable! I would order kinilaw each time I see one in the menu. Jeepney Bistro does their kinilaw very well. I was so surprised that it tastes really fresh, and that there was no fishy smell and aftertaste.
Since the lot area of Jeepney Bistro is quite big, the owners decided to open their doors too for those hungry souls who are not in the mood for some local dishes. Jeepney Bistro has their own Mexican area where they serve the usual Mexican favorites like nachos, burritos, quesadillas, tacos and fajitas.
The burrito and the tostada are equally good. But if I were to choose among all the Mexican treats that I tried at Jeepney Bistro, the ceviche is probably the runaway winner. Ceviche is somehow similar to our local kinilaw. The strong flavors of the onions and other spices woke up all my taste buds at my first bite. I initially tried the fish followed by the shrimp ceviche. I was initially thinking that it would just taste almost the same, but I was wrong. The fish ceviche is more pungent, while the shrimp ceviche is rather refreshing. (Tip: Not good for a first date, though. That is if you’re hoping for your first kiss, too! :p)
The studying habits of the students have changed. I don’t think studying inside the library is still the “in” thing today. Business meeting places have evolved, too. From the usual boring conference rooms, yuppies now go outside to hit two birds with one stone – business and pleasure. That’s probably why the owners of Jeepney Bistro decided to put up a quaint coffee shop in one of the corners of the restaurant. Before, diners need to transfer to a nearby Starbucks branch after a meal. But that’s not the case when you are in Jeepney Bistro!
And I don’t think those famous coffee and tea bars serve their teas as regal as this one!
More than the good food and inviting ambiance, what’s more commendable with Jeepney Bistro is the love of the owners for the Filipino culture. Their passion in serving delicious but affordable Filipino dishes is evident that they have not lost the Pinoy touch. The Mexican corner and the coffee and tea bar also prove that Filipinos are very welcoming of other cultures and influences as well. It’s comforting to know that there is a place like Jeepney Bistro which speaks very well of what Filipino culture is all about. =)
42A Esteban Abada St.
Loyola Heights, Quezon City