What began as a personal journey to find alternative methods to treat his bipolar condition, artist Jetro Rafael, began experimenting with food as his medications were causing him to fall into a downward spiral.
His research on food, that not only fuels the body, but feeds your mood resulted in the creation of “Van Gogh is Bipolar”.
Nestled in an enclave of like-minded offbeat establishments and shops in Quezon City, one will find this hidden gem…
After basking in its quirky and eccentric ambiance (check out the eclectic interiors in part one), I was ready and excited to finally try out its much talked about food!
As soon as we entered artist, Jetro Rafael’s Van Gogh is Bipolar, we were encouraged to wear one of the many hats or headpieces that were displayed by the chalk board bearing the house rules….
We made our own tea and transformed into a Mad Hatters Tea Party….
From another party having their happy meal alfresco, I saw this hat….
The feather in Jan’s cap….
And of course, leave it to Van Gogh is Bipolar to provide our very own Chesire cat!
Before we begin this highly anticipated meal, don’t forget….
And be warned, you know how karma works…
One of the house rules stated that there are no servers and to just ring the bell if we need anything. Drinking water, glasses, napkins and cutlery were provided anyways by the kitchen window. My auntie, Ate Liza, hurriedly set the table for everyone as our first course arrived. “Hungry” and “excited” were an understatement.
Each course is named after a famous bipolar personality….
First of all, I would like to thank fellow diner and new friend, Jan Pangilinan, for providing the names of each course and its descriptions! A+ for you! I was way too thrilled with the cuisine to remember these details….
First Course: Virgina Woolf’s Tears Soup of free-range turkey white meat with homemade banana chips, root vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
Jetro instructed us not to stir and mix the soup. Each spoonful was meant to provide a different flavor. Ate Liza readily exclaimed after a few spoonfuls as this being the best soup ever! I could not agree more….
Drink of the Night: Courtney Love’s Potion
Juice and extract of fresh fruits in season with wild honey and lemongrass stalk as a stirrer.
Lisa in the background all happy with her drink!
Second Course: Catherine Zeta-Jones’ Luxurious Mouth
Bowl of fish roe (caviar), candied pili nuts, mint leaves and wild berries on a bed of baked mozzarella.
This dining experience was made even better as Jetro explained each dish as they came out and each dish were not just made from the freshest organic ingredients, but intentionally formulated and put together for their mood enhancing qualities. We can call them “happy nutrients”. For example, nuts and bananas contain a micronutrient called tryptophan and tryptophan is one of the ingredients that makes us happy! The ingredients used in all the dishes all are happy nutrients.
And this was happiness!
Third Course: Axl Rose’s Egg Shot
Half-boiled egg yolk with a balsamic vinaigrette chaser with other “feel-good” ingredients.
Delicately cracking the egg and creating a hole for just the egg yolk (ooooh, don’t you just love Ate Liza’s accessories by the way)…..
Adding a pinch of salt and some extra spices…
I was amazed with Axl Rose’s eggs. Ok, that didn’t sound right at all. Anyways, I could not stop talking about how this dish had me pleasantly surprised!
Salad Sampler: Larry Flynt’s Cabbage Experience
Cabbage wraps with salted egg, tomato and cucumber slices, banana chips, ripe mango, fresh basil leaves and swordfish flakes in Van Gogh’s “secret” black vegetable sauce.
You put together the ingredients you want on the cabbage and roll it up reminding me of a burrito…
Main Course: Option 1 – The Chill Dish
Seared salmon with crispy skin intact, topped with salad greens, diced apples and wild berries, served with black mountain rice and Van Gogh’s secret black vegetable sauce.
So, I opted for the fish dish….
Black rice is a rare commodity and this was grown in Jetro’s farm in Quezon province.
Jan, beside me, had the meat dish….
Main Course: Option 2 – The Happy Dish Braised lamb chop with mango gastrique, topped with salad greens, banana chips, baby potatoes and fresh strawberries.
A happy Marivic all done with her happy dish… And look at that wonderful smile! It’s the food endorphins, I tell you! 😉
Dessert: Mel Gibson’s Darkest Sin
A test tube shot of Absinthe liqueur with a chaser of Belgian dark chocolate with wild honey and chopped walnuts.
Jetro bringing over the absinthe shots…. Woo-hoo!
Shot! Shot! Shot!
Chase the shot immediately with a spoonful of the dark chocolate and walnut! Yeah!!! That hits the spot! And marks the end of our 5-course meal.
Jetro and his marvelous company, personal insights and stories of his fascinating life….
We are all ears….
I am no food expert, but I know what I like and the food at Van Gogh is Bipolar became food that I LOVE!!! Not only that, I notice this happy mood spilled over the following day. Good food, happy mood. What more can you ask for?
Want to experience this dining adventure?
As of the moment, Jetro is taking a month-long hiatus to focus on his paintings and art installations, but you can catch him and his exhibition of paintings at Manila FAME which started today….
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