Where to Eat in Quezon City: Gourmet Bar by Novotel

Gourmet Bar is the in-house café and lounge of Novotel Manila Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City, and is also the name of the signature bar in all Novotel properties around the world. Situated at the lobby level of the 4-star hotel, Gourmet Bar offers all-day a la carte Western and reinvented Filipino cuisine along with a selection of cocktails, beers, liquors, wines, and coffee. Operating from 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight, the restaurant is a perfect venue for business meetings, after-work drinks, or casual rendezvous—and is open for checked-in guests and walk-ins alike.

The modern space is designed with touches of Filipino elements—a roomy setting that simulates an indoor tropical oasis. Adorned with earthy green tones, wooden basket-like dividers, and heavy, round leather chairs, Gourmet Bar provides a relaxing ambience conducive to languid afternoons or inspired brainstorming sessions.

My brother and I were able to try some of Gourmet Bar’s offerings during our stay at Novotel Manila, and I found that most of the dishes were delectable and reasonably priced. The Chef Tasting Platter (PhP600) is a trio of sliders: the savory Beef Caldereta, the healthy Seafood Slider, and the refreshing Tomato & Mozzarella. The caldereta’s meat was surprisingly tender and melt-in-the-mouth—somehow, it reminded me of eating siopao. My favorite, however, was the Italian-inspired slider with fresh buffalo mozzarella and a dollop of pesto sauce on top.

The Pizza Lungga Bresaola con Rucola e Grana (PhP280) is a real steal: a flatbread brick-oven pizza loaded with air-dried beef, rocket leaves, mozzarella, and parmesan flakes. It was a simple dish that highlighted each ingredient. The veggies were harvested from Novotel’s own organic farm.

If you like pasta, order the Black Linguini with Talangka Paste (PhP380), made with homemade squid-ink pasta tossed with crispy cubes of Maya-Maya, then topped with local farmed rocket leaves and talangka paste (crab fat). This is a real seafood feast on a plate.

For something healthier, the Novotel Buckwheat Pasta (PhP380) is a good choice. Thick strips of homemade buckwheat pasta mingle with asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, and a bunch of other organic vegetables. Buckwheat is known to promote weight loss and is gluten-free, so for health-conscious folks and those with special dietary restrictions, this is a must-order.

The servers at Gourmet Bar are pretty proud of their signature drink, the Unleaded Cucumber (PhP180), and I must say that it was indeed delicious and refreshing! Composed of lime, cucumber, mint leaves, soda, and homemade sour, the drink mimics a cocktail but is actually non-alcoholic.

If it’s alcoholic you seek, ask the bartender for a Watermelon Mojito (PhP220). Novotel’s version is one of the best—make that the best—I’ve tried. Sliced refreshing watermelon, lime juice, white rum, lemon and mint leaves make up this well-balanced cocktail: potent, acidic, and sweet.

Finish up your meal with either the Tiramisu (PhP270) or the Chestnut Panna Cotta (PhP260). The former is made of tiramisu foam topped with mixed berries, while the latter is chestnut-flavored panna cotta with caramel sauce. Both are good for sharing. Pair these sweets with a freshly-prepared cup of macchiato or a frappuccino.

If it’s a flexible, energetic, and interactive space Gourmet Bar is aiming to be, I think it has managed to hit bull’s eye. I love the fact that people can drink, read, discuss, get some alone time, or enjoy a trendy meal with family in one place, and I especially appreciate how the servers and the bartender, Curt, engages the customer—explaining what’s on the menu and recommending dishes and drinks based on our preferences, just like in a fine dining restaurant. Overall, Gourmet Bar is one spot in Cubao I could see myself spending hours in—either working on a new blog post while munching on a pizza, or downing mojitos with friends.

Gourmet Bar by Novotel
Gen. Aguinaldo Avenue, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
Budget: around PhP400/head

Have you dined at Gourmet Bar? Where is your usual hangout spot in Cubao?

My meal was sponsored by Novotel Manila. All opinions, however, are my own.

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