Monday, June 9, 2014

Baguio: Oh My Gulay! One of the City's Best Vegetarian Restaurants

Oh My Gulay 

The Oh My Gulay restaurant at the Victor Oteyza Community Art Space (VOCAS) is one of Baguio City's well known secrets. This quirky little vegetarian restaurant will amaze you with its healthy food and fantastical interior design. 

One would never have imagined that a quirky vegetarian restaurant housed in a humongous cavern with ponds, wooden huts and even a frickin' boat would be located 5 story's above the busiest road in Baguio City. If this description fails to give you an idea about what the place looks like, think: tree house on top a building in downtown Baguio. A tree house with really really good food. Really really good vegetarian organic food for that matter.

Nestled in the fifth floor of the La Azotea Green Building along Session Road, Oh My Gulay can be very hard to miss. (I included a GoogleMap snap shot and more details about the exact location of Oh My Gulay at the bottom of this post.) But having to search for, and finding this elusive restaurant all the more contributes to its charm.

After climbing 5 flights of stairs, you'll notice that the concrete walls and gravelly stair case of the building will give way to an assortment of wooden planks and sculptures of all shapes and sizes. This is a good sign. It means that all the leafy goodness of OMG's food is nearing. The weirder it gets, the nearer the food is.

If I could probably describe the look of this restaurant in one word, it would be "Quirky" (which as you know has already been repeated countless of times on this post.) Evidenced by the photo below, it would seem as if some Igorot carpenter with a surplus of nails and a whole lot of wood work went mad and began nailing together things upon things until they reached a shape that could only be described as 'abstract' when asked about the inspiration behind this unique restaurant.

If by some chance I were to meet this mad Igorot architect, I would give him a pat on the back and ask if I could buy him a drink because he sure does know how to get customers interested in a dining space. But for now, enough about the place, and on to the food.

I have honestly had many apprehensions about vegetarian food. I either think it tasteless or over priced. Oh My Gulay successfully banished these previously foolish beliefs and has given me a more educated understanding about the beauty of no meat cuisine.

To my understanding, all the food in Oh My Gulay is organic AND vegetarian. I am no food buff, so I do not know what other specifications and rules there are when it comes to classifying a restaurant as such. All I know is that the food doesn't have meat, but it is damn good.

Add this to the fact that the food is reasonably priced for the quality of the dish and that each dish is as quirky as the place itself and you've got a one of a kind menu (the mad Igorot carpenter must have had a loopy Igorot cook as a wife. I wish I could pat them both on the back.).

The soft, diffused light coming through the large windows presented an opportune moment for food photography. Now I know this isn't some food blog, but with dishes this beautiful, I think we can make an exception just this once... (and if I feel like it, maybe I'll do it again, and again. Why? Because it's my blog and I'll do what I want with it. So here's a potato. A fresh and organic potato.)

This sweet little medley of red, green and blue is called 'Anak ng Putanesca' (Php 130) (lol at the name). It's basically OMG's version of Putanesca with a spicy dash of cayenne pepper. It was very flavorful and it was my favorite noodle dish. It costs around Php 130.00

These are flowers. Yes, we ate flowers that day, and after that, I wish I could eat flowers everyday. These are called "Bulaklak Tempura" (Php 70.00). They're actually kalabasa blossoms fried in tempura batter and served with tempura sauce. These are definitely a must try at the restaurant so that you can walk out of there and tell people you had flowers for lunch. 

This plate full of symmetry is simply called "Lumpia Salad" (Php 130.00). What you get here are crispy fried tofu lumpia wraps tossed with greens, honey mustard and Asian dressing. A so-so dish. I didn't like it that well because the tofu wasn't that tasty. Or is that just how it's really supposed to taste? Lol

"Onyon Rings Yon" (Php 70.00) I do not get the reference with the name. Maybe someone can explain :)) These were plain and simple but good. Some of the largest onions I've seen

Would you look at the sheer... 'quirkiness' of the place? You enter from the left side of the bridge (which fords a indoor Koi pond) and you make your way past the beached boat, all the way up into the tree house where you can lounge on rattan mats and pillows. Awesome.

This concoction here is called the "Chow-chow" (Php 135) lol I wonder what the meat version of this has in it. It's made up of deliciously textured egg noodles that have a good 'weight and feel' in your mouth as well as fresh vegetables sauteed in garlic and flavored with soy hoisin. The texture of the noodles was the highlight of this dish. Very very appetizing to just chew and let the noodles squiggle around in your mouth. Aside from this though, the taste gets a bit repetitive (I think because of the celery? I hate celery.) so this was the only dish that we weren't able to finish. 

Ah! Our favorite dish at Oh My Gulay! This is the "Oh My Gulay Rice" (Php 140) and it is one of their bestsellers. This dish contains native brown rice with ten (yes that's right, ten) vegetables in season mixed with their Mongolian sauce, topped with steamed tofu and omelet. The dish was delicious. But the sesame seeds made it shine all the more brighter in my opinion. They gave a nice crunchy texture to the otherwise soft but tasty rice and omelet. 

And finally, dessert. Kinda forgot what they called this but basically it's Crepe with Peanut butter a la mode. (Estimate @ Php 80.00). This was a nice way to end the meal since the hot innards of the crepe mixed nicely with the cold vanilla ice cream on the outside. 

If vegetarian food were always like this, I wouldn't mind turning into a leaf muncher anytime soon!

Oh My Gulay Resturant Details:

Address: 5th Floor, La Azotea Green Building, Session Road, Baguio City
Address Notes: You will see a Sport's House store at the building which you must enter. It is right next to the BDO branch along Session Road. 
Operating Hours: 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Payment Terms: Cash Only
Contact Details: (074) 446 0108



It would be safe to allocate around Php 150-250 per person to have a very satisfying meal in Oh My Gulay. Their menu is pictured below: (Click to enlarge)

Oh My Gulay Menu


*It is quite hard to get the server's attention if you are seating on the second floor. As to my knowledge, there wasn't any bell or signalling device readily available. 
**VOCAS is actually a community art space. I am told that the restaurant often hosts events in which the art scene of Baguio is very much active. Don't be surprised if they suddenly close or have a event at the venue that could alter your eating experience.