Finally,we got to try out the newest and most talked about restaurant here in Dumaguete - Gabby's Bistro in the quiet residential neighborhood of Florentina Homes in Piapi.
First thing: The place definitely has that most sought after "ambiance." One doesn't eat and run there. The manicured garden and the Mexican inspired art and curio shop lend to lingering and chatting. Inside the airconditioned main restaurant, the decor just totally takes you away from Dumaguete. It is a scene straight from old movies featuring the American South: spotlighting, upholstered "booths", tangerine walls and posters framed with black and white checked background, reminiscent of Elvis Presley and Grease days. The decorative bottles perched on near ceiling ledges, murals on the glass and cement walls and poster caricatures of Oprah and other celebrities in the unisex washroom all make one think "done by an artist, done by an artist"! And no wonder. I later learned that the owner is a painter herself. Coolness.
Second thing: The chef, Gabby, is the son of the owners, Mr. and Mrs. del Prado. Gabby doesn't wear a tall, white chef's hat but a red baseball hat instead. I heard he's a Culinary Arts graduate from La Salle University, which must have been in the recent past because this young lad looks barely twenty five years old! We had beef/chicken/fish teriyaki, teppanyaki, cajun chicken, and adobo chicken. We had lots of food because there were plenty of us there, fourteen to be exact.
Incredible thing: For drinks we had iced tea, soda and mango shake. For me, I had the mango shake, too. But before I could bring the corrugated straw to my lips, the waitress accidentally dumped the entire contents of the tall glass on to my abdomen, lap, feet and floor! What an extraordinary experience! This was the first time something like that happened to me. The waitress was, of course, mortified at her faux pas so I did not add to her misery anymore. It was one of those things that you wish never happened but do. It was a rather busy night for them, a Sunday and father's day at that. The place was full packed.
When we were about to leave, a handsome young couple arrived. The wife looked very familiar. Perhaps she was a former school mate somewhere? It was so weird because when she saw me, she said her immediate thought was that I looked familiar, too. Well, not a great mystery really, Dumaguete is such a small place, everybody knows almost everybody. These new arrivals turned out to be the owners of the awesome place.
They offered to give us a tour of the place (they also have fully furnished apartelles) but it was quite late already and there were homeworks to be finished yet. So we settled for some brochures instead. I thanked them for bringing such a nice place (apartelle, bistro with ambiance, curio shop) here in Dumaguete.
Overall eval: A must visit and a must-patronize place. Not everyday perhaps because though the prices are very cheap compared to Manila or Cebu, PhP 120 to 150 per entree is a bit steep for Dumaguete's mainly student populace. But an every now and then visit is surely recommended. In the meantime, while you are sitting there, here's a sneak preview of Gabby's Bistro.