Artsy Cafe in Maginhawa: Ish Eats Like a Millennial

The name of the place itself screams millennial to me for some reason. Soon enough, I was proven right. Owner Felix De Silva proudly explained that the restaurant can operate on the YAN SMART RESTAURANT APP. Basically, after downloading the app, diners can enter the restaurant, scan a code through their smart phone and view the menu.

The customer can then order directly from his/her own device. The order ticket immediately gets sent to the kitchen. The food and drinks should arrive shortly after. I call this the how-to-eat-out-if-you’re-an-introvert-app.

Felix De Silva explains the YAN SMART RESTAURANT APP

This kind of innovation will surely be a hit with millennials who have their noses stuck in their smart phones through 90% of each meal anyway. However, for seniors and some of us slightly “older” folk, it might take a while to get used to. To give you a better idea, it’s a slightly more complicated version of the Genki Sushi system. This is harder because you use your own device and not a tablet provided for your table.

Regardless of how the ordering system might be a pro or a con (depending on the age of the customer in my opinion…hehe), the food is what we are here for.

I started my meal by ordering a refreshing drink. I popped in for lunch and the Philippine summer has turned the city into hell.

Artsy Cafe
Mint Calamansi Slush (Php70.00

The Mint Calamansi Slush was the perfect choice. It had just the right amount of tartness from the calamansi. The minty cool ice slush was a definite respite from the day’s heat.

Now, it’s time for the food. Artsy Cafe’s name does not really tell you what kind of food to expect here. I found out that they serve a selection of Filipino classic dishes with a smattering of international favorites. I say “Filipino classic” because I didn’t see a lot of fusion and over-tweaking in the dishes. Despite the millennial vibe of the place, I’m glad the recipes remained honest, straightforward and old school.

Our meal started with a KANI SALAD. Although this is a Japanese dish, it has recently ingrained itself into Filipino food culture and should eventually be as much of a staple as the pancit (china) or any of our adopted Spanish dishes.

This particular KANI SALAD was unique because the shredded kani sticks were deep-fried. That added an extra layer of texture to an otherwise familiar salad. They also used sesame dressing instead of just the usual Kewpie Mayo. This dish is a winner and we started the meal strong.

Kani Salad (Php195.00)

We then dove straight into the main courses. Alongside several cups of rice, we were served with some LENGUA, KARE-KARE and HERB SPICE BONELESS BANGUS BELLY.

Needless to say, it was a struggle to limit myself to only one cup of rice. The lengua was my favorite dish of the day. While some people shy away from eating tongue, I find the meat tender and flavorful. Artsy Cafe’s version is cooked with the traditional garlicky cream sauce.

Lengua (Php200.00)

I liked their Kare-Kare because they included a mix of tripe, tail and beef cubes in it. It had all the tender, gooey pieces of tripe alongside the sticky tails filled with collagen. Winning!

Kare-Kare (Php270.00)

After all that meaty goodness, the Herb Spice Bangus Belly came as a refreshing treat. It’s a large portion of milk fish steamed to perfection! The tender meat is flavored with mild spices but the wansoy (coriander) piled on top provides a sharp, fresh taste. I know that many people have issues with the liberal use of coriander but luckily, I’m not one of them. More for me!

Herb Spice Bangus Belly (Php270.00)

Just when we thought we were done, some T-BONE STEAKS arrived! Don’t expect any Mamou quality steaks here. It’s probably closer to those steaks served in sizzling plates at the mall food court. But hey, nobody said those were not good! For under Php300, (versus thousands in premium steak places), I’m not complaining.

The meat was tender enough. Although it’s a large cut, it’s fairly thin so I didn’t really get that distinct pink center that you’ll see in inch-thick steaks. Nevertheless, despite being easy to over-cook, the steaks were served at the right temperature. They were still juicy and the moisture was helped along by a generous ladle of  gravy. A side of mash would have been useful here. However, some rice went well with it just the same. The steaks were gobbled up so quickly, we didn’t even notice that three serving were served at our table!

T-Bone Steak (Php290.00)

What a way to finish our main meal! The T-bone appears to be a best-seller here. A young couple that I met at the the restaurant revealed that they always come back for it.

Notice how I said “main meal” back there? That’s me trying to introduce dessert. While most of the meal was Filipino, I wouldn’t call the dessert options traditional nor local.  Again, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. After all, who says no to a CHEESECAKE CRUMBLE and a LAYERED HEAVEN CAKE? 

Layered Heaven Cake (Php195.00)
(L) Cheesecake Crumble (Php185.00)

The Layered cake was decadent without being too cloying. I particulary liked the dark chocolate layer which balanced out the sweetness.

The cheesecake crumble is basically a crumbled up cheesecake mixed with ice cream….I know right???? So good.

That’s right, book a table now!


Artsy Cafe : 36 Maginhawa Street, UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City

Artsy Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato