Goto Be­lieve

How a hum­ble Pi­noy con­gee can be­come mag­i­cal.

Let’s Eat - - NEWS - WORDS BY SPANKY HIZON EN­RIQUEZ PHO­TOS BY GABBY CANTERO

“In­sta­grammable”. I’m be­gin­ning to hate that term. I hate how lazy P.R. peo­ple throw it around with wild aban­don, us­ing it as an easy, unimag­i­na­tive, and de­riv­a­tive way of de­scrib­ing a restau­rant dish --- one that may dis­ap­point be­cause the ac­tual prod­uct doesn’t look re­motely like the mouth­wa­ter­ing food porn on IG, or worse --- seem like a waste of money be­cause the item looks very good, but doesn’t come close to tast­ing good.

Okay, I ad­mit, I can be very harsh some­times, es­pe­cially when it comes to meet­ing ex­pec­ta­tions in the food in­dus­try. I’m very opin­ion­ated, but I do lis­ten to con­trary views… if they come from peo­ple I re­spect. One such per­son is Ian Caran­dang, CFO (Chief Fla­vor Of­fi­cer) of Se­bas­tian’s Ice Cream. He opined that per­haps I shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath­wa­ter, be­cause thanks to “In­sta­grammable” food, he’s dis­cov­ered some of the best tast­ing food in a very com­pet­i­tive and clut­tered Metro Manila restau­rant mar­ket. And I had to agree, be­cause I re­al­ized that I dis­cov­ered “Goto Be­lieve” be­cause of the yes… very pho­to­genic shots of the restau­rant’s sig­na­ture “OMG” (Oh My Goto!) dish that Ian him­self posted on Face­book.

OMG sounds sim­ple enough: it starts with a giant bowl (think of Rai Rai Ken’s largest ra­men serv­ing, but even big­ger) of ex­tremely tasty beef tripe/beef

in­tes­tine/beef fat con­gee (ac­tu­ally good enough on its own with a squeeze of cala­mansi). But then, din­ers are given an op­tion of “top­pings” to choose from, no min­i­mum nor max­i­mum, to el­e­vate their goto ex­pe­ri­ence. There are at least 25 of them, start­ing with eight kinds of eggs: scram­bled to sunny side to cen­tury to a six-minute soft-boiled egg that’s es­sen­tially the “Aji Ta­m­ago” found in legit Ja­panese restau­rants. And then, there’s the plethora of pro­teins: grilled for that smoky fla­vor, or deep fried for that addictive crispi­ness. It’s your choice. There’s isaw ng manok, bituka ng baboy, tenga, atay, bag­net, cala­mari, and more, much more. But every­one’s fa­vorite is the chicharon bu­lak­lak, and in­evitably, thanks to the ir­re­sistible pitch on the menu, most peo­ple point to the “Kim Kar­dashian” (dahil laos na si J-Lo chicken ass). Quote unquote.

There are no rules. Want to or­der a bowl of goto along with ten skew­ers of chicharon bu­lak­lak? Sure. Have them served on the side or dunked into the bowl? Your call. How about goto with four, six, or eight dif­fer­ent types of eggs? Why not? Or just go all out and or­der a bowl with all 25 top­pings? How would you like that, ma’am/sir, with Goto Heaven (their sig­na­ture “wet” goto) or Goto Dry (rice cooked in goto broth, Hainanese style, then fried as sinan­gag)? The pos­si­bil­i­ties are ex­po­nen­tial.

Don’t for­get dessert. Goto Be­lieve has a killer cheese­cake that’s truly one of a kind. It’s a Cham­po­rado Cheese­cake made from pre­mium tablea, topped with, in this restau­rant with no rules, Can­died Dilis!!!

The ma­gi­cians who make this hap­pen are a pair of cousins, Vin­cent Juanta and San­dra San­ti­ago. Vince is not an in­dus­try new­bie; he’s the founder of Kanto Freestyle, a Filipino Break­fast chain that now has seven branches. San­dra, the artis­tic vi­sion­ary, is the part­ner with the imag­i­na­tion to turn the or­di­nary into ex­tra­or­di­nary. But ev­ery magic trick has a third part: “The Pres­tige”. And in Goto Be­lieve, the man re­spon­si­ble for that is Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Obet Navarro, with over 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence. He’s been a Chef De Par­tie in the Man­darin Ori­en­tal and the Makati Shangri-La. He’s also the for­mer Sous Chef of Aubergine in the BGC. So what’s a five-star in­dus­try stal­wart do­ing in a hum­ble goto eatery? The an­swer’s sim­ple.

He’s mak­ing magic. Be­lieve it.

Goto Be­lieve is Open daily from 5:00pm to 10:00am. 630 San Rafael St., Barangay Plain­view, Man­daluy­ong City. 09177015506

02 1 Goto Heaven with 10 Top­pings 2 Siz­zling Goto Sisig 3 Ja­panese Tofu with Grilled Pig’s Face 4 In­te­ri­ors 5 Lecheng Av­o­cado Shake 6 Cham­po­rado Cheese­cake with Can­died Dilis

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