A few weeks ago, a couple of friends and I visited Pipino Vegetarian Food by Pino at Malingap street. While we’re concerned with eating healthfully in moderation, we’re nowhere near a vegetarian state of mind. So when we decided to try Pipino, it was met with excitement and apprehension.
The place is located on top of its less restrictive sister restaurant, Pino. When we arrived at the place, we were still faced with the choice to go veggie or not. We chose the former — and soon regretted it.
After much hemming and hawing over the menu, which in fact presented some interesting new vegetarian and vegan fare, we chose a few dishes that were within our scope of familiarity.
When trying new products for the first time, choose the one that is the most familiar to you in terms of substance, content, usage, or benefits. This can minimize the risk of failure and wastage.
We had the Taro Chips, Brown Rice Rolls, Lemongrass Tofu Skewers, Vegan Lasagna, and Garden Burger (not pictured).
The taro chips were alright, very crunchy, but decidedly lacking in flavor. The lemongrass tofu skewers were — how do I put this — interesting, in the sense that it’s a deep-fried tofu croquette skewered on a lemongrass blade. If you like the taste of lemongrass, then you’ll enjoy it.
I particularly liked the cheeseless vegan lasagna, because it was close to the flavor balance of sweet, tangy, salty, and creamy that I was looking for. I would certainly return for this dish.
As for the brown rice roll, it tasted spoiled. There was no other way to describe it. We asked the waitstaff what the chef had put in it, and he said that the rice was steeped in a local brand of white vinegar. We would have given the dish a chance if it weren’t acrid enough to sting the palate, which is characteristic of spoiled rice. So we had to send the the roll back. Regrets.
The garden burger was huge — its size was bigger than half of my face — and I’m sure it would have satisfied a devoted vegetarian. But that was the problem: we weren’t vegetarians, nor did we eat vegetables that often. So the sandwich left a void that only an all-beef patty could fill.
One of my friends, the one who suggested that we try the restaurant, was apologetic over the experience. She offered to make up for it by going elsewhere to eat.
Friend: Let’s just make up for this afterwards. What do you want for dessert?
Me: Pork belly.
After we settled the bill, I took a blueberry and a chocolate-banana muffin to go. The blueberry muffin was a little dry and not as sweet as I had hoped, but the chocolate-banana muffin was deliciously rich and moist. Will I return? Yes for the lasagna, and maybe to get a little more acquainted with the rest of the menu.
Now I’m not saying it was a bad experience overall, but it could have been better. The place was also just not for carnivores like us, so there’s really no one to blame here. It was just a matter of incompatibility in tastes.
I also feel terrible whenever a spending experience doesn’t work out, both for the consumer and the establishment. For me it should be a win-win transaction as often as possible.
After this, we drove to Katipunan for dessert, which I will continue in the next post.
Pipino Vegetarian Food by Pino
Address: 39 Malingap St. Teacher Village East, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Telephone no.: +632-441-1773
Store hours: Open Daily 11am to 9pm