I cannot imagine myself ever becoming a vegetarian. I love meat. Just the sight of a thick, succulent slab of beef roasting on the grill makes me salivate like a rabid dog. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean vegetarian dishes have no place in our table. In fact, they are very welcome, especially when they’re as delicious and flavourful as the ones we had at Bliss Cafe located in Hotel Elizabeth, Baguio City.
Bliss Cafe, the brainchild of Jim Ward and his wife Chef Shanti, has finally found its third and, hopefully, permanent home in Hotel Elizabeth.
In a corner of the hotel’s main lobby stands a door that opens to a small restaurant. Design pieces from various countries and cultures are perfectly placed into a controlled chaos, giving an atmosphere of being laid-back, peaceful, and eccentrically artistic. Jim informed us that the design of the restaurant changes every six weeks to provide different designers and artists a venue to feature their works. That’s pretty cool in our book. 🙂
I have always thought vegetarian dishes are bland, boring, and lacking all the nutrients one needs to survive. But, that one dinner we had at Bliss Cafe convinced me that becoming a pure vegetarian is not an idea too ambitious to reach, though that’s an idea I‘m not planning to push on just yet.
The first dish we had for dinner was a bowl of Haiku (Php 75.00) or Bliss Cafe’s vegetarian version of the Pinoy favorite chicharon. They are made from special wheat flour and not one bit made with animal meat. Every piece is crispy to the bite, flavorful, and the only thing missing in this picture is a tall glass of red wine.
Next is Bali Salad with Bliss Ranch (Php 200.00 for full serving or Php 100.00 as side dish). It’s a bowl of spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, apples, and raisins that comes with the sapid Bliss Ranch dressing. This salad is a good start for a meal because it is very light, yet its rich flavor does the very job in waking up your taste buds to prepare for the rest of the fare you’re about to partake.
I’ve tasted the vegetarian barbecue from Bodhi’s Vegetarian Restaurant, but I liked Bliss Cafe’s Satori (Php 75.00 per stick) better because their barbecue sticks are tastier, and the gluten they used was more dense, so it’s the one that resembles animal meat the closest.
Ahimsa (Php 75.00) is their version of my favorite dynamite sticks. It’s made with a mix of celery, turnip, ground gluten, ground black pepper, and minced carrots in lumpia wrappers, which are deep fried and served with a sweet dip sauce. They’re very tasty so I didn’t even mind that they’re not as spicy as I hoped.
I don’t know any Pinoy who doesn’t like sisig. It is definitely on the top list of our favorite “pulutan.” But who would have guessed that Bliss Cafe will come up with a guilt-free version of our beloved sisig? This No Oink Sisig (Php 180.00 per plate) can definitely fool even the most discerning palates of the Kapampangan. This sisig dish is well seasoned, full of flavor, and quite addicting. I’m sure it didn’t last 5 minutes the moment it landed our table.
Bliss Cafe is known as the only restaurant in Baguio City that offers authentic Indian food. They have formulated 4 set meals reflecting India’s diverse cuisine, dubbed as the Seasons of India. The one we had was their set meal that represents summers in India – the Paneer Set (Php 275 per set, which comes with Indian Lassi or Chai). The set is composed of Indian cottage cheese, bangla rice, and chutney. It is best served with Papadoms (Php 20.00 per piece or Php 50.00 for 3 pieces), which are similar to tortilla chips, and eaten by Indians in a daily basis. I’m not a big fan of curry because I find it too powerful and smelly, but this Indian cottage cheese dish with curry is not overwhelming at all.
No Quack Duck (Php 180.00, add 25 for Blissmix Rice) is prepared adobo or curry style. Since we had curry from the previous dish, we wanted this one to be cooked adobo style. This dish’s simplicity gave me an understanding of how I can make vegetarian food fit my taste – always emphasize on flavor. Veggie meat is technically bland and flavorless, but with the proper flavoring and cooking technique, it could be as good as any dish that uses real meat.
Energetic Embutido (Php 180.00, add 25 for Blissmix Rice) is Bliss Cafe’s circular blend of succulent secrets. We have no idea what it’s made of. They never told us. But, nevertheless, we enjoyed it a lot. And I liked how it was presented – cut in quarters with vegetables placed in the spaces. I may perhaps do that the next time we have embutido at home.
Bliss Cafe’s menu also features dishes that reflect cuisines from Seoul, Mexico, Osaka, and Zurich. I’m a big of Korean dishes, so imagine my delight when we were served a dish they call Seoul (Php 290 per set, with a glass of wine), which is a plate of veggie kalpi, Blissmix rice, and Kimchi. It’s already a complete meal, so it’s a good choice for people who are in for a quick snack.
The last we had from the cafe’s savory fare is their healthy version of fries called Mantra (Php 75.00 for 6 pieces). There are frites made from a mix of potatoes, cheese, and chives. It’s really good that it’s even better than the boring fries.
Now onto my favorite part of dinner – desserts! Bliss Balls (Php 15 each or Php 75 per set of 6) remind me of my favorite coconut macaroons. These are made from dessicated coconuts and coconut milk. They are served cold, so they melt in the mouth once you take a bite. They’re neither too sweet, nor bland. I liked it so much that I wouldn’t mind finishing six pieces in one sitting.
Our last dessert was their Infamous Bliss Crepe (Php 135 full serving or Php 75 for mini). If this dessert was sold in Manila, it would surely cost much more. But, thanks to the abundance of strawberries in Baguio, this dessert turns out to be very affordable and very delectable, too. It’s a combination of vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberry slices, crepe, and topped with my favorite chocnut.
What a wonderful and unforgettable dinner we had at Bliss Cafe. Thanks to our felllow foodie Jean of Trip or Treats for inviting us to Bliss Cafe. 🙂 And we thank Jim and Chef Shanti for showing us that being a pure vegetarian is no longer something we can only dream of. It’s possible, especially when it can be as adventurous and fun as the food we found in Bliss Cafe.
Bliss Cafe Baguio
Lobby, Hotel Elizabeth Gibraltar Rd., Baguio City
Monday- 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Tuesday – Sunday- 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Telephone: 074 619-0367
Mobile: +63917 528-1166 or +63917 846-4729
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