35 Scout Castor Street corner Scout Reyes Street, Quezon City
Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Monday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) Dine-in is back—which is good news if you've been feeling cooped-up at home. Given these times, most restaurants now have outdoor-dining options, which is ideal if you're in need of a good meal and some fresh air. If you happen to be in Quezon City, we've got just the place: Check out Cafe Guilt, a chill neighborhood café that exudes a totally laid-back, beachy vibe!
Cafe Guilt delivers on a relaxing ambience, whether you opt to dine indoors or al-fresco. Outside, you're surrounded by greenery and fresh air with rustic woven chairs and tables, some of which have parasols attached.
You get a similar feel indoors, as there are plenty of glass windows to let in natural light, as well as shades of brown and white all around that are especially easy on the eyes.
Cafe Guilt opened their doors in the midst of the nationwide lockdown and pandemic in July 2020. "It was a risky move," shares Chi, Cafe Guilt's chef and co-owner (who prefers to be known only by her first name), in an exchange with SPOT.ph. "We were mostly on the search for a café that could satisfy our cravings [for] both healthy and [comforting] food."
"Our food philosophy is to be able to serve everyone, satisfy their cravings while sticking to a particular diet, without sacrificing taste—[and] using the freshest and highest quality organic ingredients as much as possible," says the chef and co-owner. The name came about as they saw the need for balance in people's daily diets. "Some days we all wanna eat healthy, do a detox, [or] try being a pescatarian; on other days we just wanna binge eat and [we] crave super guilt-full grub," she explains. They also took inspiration from their international travels in coming up with the menu. "As we were all stuck in the city during the lockdown, we were all craving a sort of escape, whether through our palates or otherwise."
Whether you eat to live or live to eat, there's a whole slew of flavor-packed eats to be had at Cafe Guilt. On the lighter end of the spectrum is the Salmon with Truffle Mushroom Adlai Risotto (P675), which ingeniously pairs a tender piece of pan-seared salmon with an adlai risotto spiked with the earthy aroma of truffles.
Meanwhile, the Avo Toast (P350) is a treat not just for the eyes, but for the tastebuds as well, as it delivers plenty of (good-for-you!) richness from mashed avocados, organic eggs, and organic butter, plus a hint of what seems to be cumin for a slight curry-like edge. An ingenious seasonal special is the Macopa Salad (P195), which presents the said fruit—sourced right from the tree in their yard—in a savory light by pairing it with a tangy, peppery dressing.
For those days that it's carbs that tickle your fancy (no shame!), try the Smoky Salmon Peacezza (P450)—their take on pizza, with a lox-bagel esque combo of smoked salmon, feta, and capers. Alternatively, there's the classic-but-well made Pasta Vongole (P355) with olive oil, garlic, and white wine on al-dente noodles.
Feeling meaty? Carnivores will want to try the Grassfed Ribeye Steak Rice (P698), a dish that highlights grass-fed beef and comes with rice that well captures its meaty juices. For an even bigger dose of flavor, try the Javanese Beef Ribs (P458), which has tender meat that's cooked twice and given a slight kick of heat from harang spice.
Cafe Guilt also gives plenty of attention to their drinks selection. If you're looking for a vibrant pick-me-up, try the Mamatcha Smoothie (P250), which has a smooth blend of with bananas, matcha, oat "mylk", and coconut water.
They've also got coffee drinks made with beans from Bukidnon, Sagada and Batangas (you also have the option to go for beans from Australia). In particular, their Vietnamese Coffee (P198) is worth a try, as their version surprisingly isn't as sweet as others—but if you're up for a one-of-a-kind sip, try the earthy-tasting Beetroot Latte (P175). These drinks are best paired with the creamy-as-can-be Guilt Cheesecake (P250/slice).
And if you're looking to get happy, they've also got libations to get your spirits up. that include the Turon Cocktail (P495) with sweet bourbon and a burnt-sugar garnish, and the almost-too-pretty-to-drink Blue Pea Sour (P395) that's got a fresh, botanical profile.
A great atmosphere paired with truly memorable eats and sips is always a winning combination, and Cafe Guilt pretty much nails it. "We would like people to come back for the taste, cozy, homey and safe ambience," says Chi. "[Just like] that feeling of eating over at a friend’s comfy home."
Photos by Kit Singson
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