With the rapid changes and innovations today, it’s no surprise to see creative and out-of-the-box food concepts sprout like mushrooms everywhere. In every city, there is something new to rave about. What’s even more impressive is that how food enthusiasts transition a simple food into something grandiose, even in the shabby nooks or corners unimaginable. In the heart of Mandaluyong city lies a restaurant which is now known for converting our favorite comfort good into a gourmet dish — Goto to be exact.
It was a perfect timing when I visited my friend Kit in her home in Mandaluyong, because Goto Believe was near her place. When I heard that the creative minds behind Kanto Freestyle Breakfast are the same geniuses that run this place (or maybe conceptualized the idea) I am certain that this restaurant is equally no mediocre. I leveled up my expectations and set the meter high.
The key to winning the hearts of the masses is to serve great food in a place that doesn’t intimidate. No need to conform to a dress code or suit up nicely. There’s this unexplained thrill to discover excellent tastes in humble locations because comparatively, the story becomes more interesting. It’s like unwrapping nice presents in not-so-fancy parcels. In Goto Believe, a house garage was cleverly transformed into a diner.
It’s not air-conditioned yet but it’s well-ventilated. Wooden tables and stools typify an eatery set-up, but the other details resemble that of a restaurant. The reservation bars are witty and funny: you can choose among Single, Taken, or Hungry.
The mural at the center represents the main stars of the show: the ingredients and toppings that add flavor to your Goto.
The restaurant makes the atmosphere even livelier with the upbeat, hip music. Although the waiting time is a bit painstaking, the servers are commendably courteous, warm, and attentive to your needs.
It’s obvious that Goto is the house specialty. The variations will make you ponder on the perfect mix- match of ingredients from the base, toppings, and sides.
For the wet Goto, you can select from Plain, Goto Heaven, and Goto Infierno.The Plain is the original, Goto Heaven is Goto with internal organs such as beef tripe and chicken intestine, while the Goto Infierno is the spicy version of Goto Heaven.
We didn’t try the dry goto but I heard it tasted similar to Hainanese rice. It has the same seasonings of the wet Goto, only with no broth added. It could be a perfect pair to the fried or grilled add-ons.
Amazingly, there are many egg options: sunny side-up, scrambled egg, 6-minute egg, hard-boiled egg, poached egg, organic salted egg, and century egg. All eggs are priced at Php 18, except for organic salted egg and century egg which cost Php 30 each.
You can have your toppings grilled or fried. Drool over chicken intestine, (isaw) pork intestine (bituka ng baboy), chicken heart (puso ng manok), pork ears (tenga), chicken gizzard (balun-balunan), cream dory, Bagnet, Chicharong Bulaklak, pork belly, (liempo) chicken ass (pwet ng manok), chicken feet (adidas), chicken blood (betamax), dilis, and Tempura. Toppings range from Php 15 to Php 85. Of course, the grilled remains unbeatable because the taste is different from charred food, but you may also opt to try the fried ones as alternatives.
From fried lumpia, tokwa’t baboy, wanton wrap, crispy wanton wraps, okoy, salted egg chicken skin, and okoy, I’m pretty sure there is a specific combo that works best for you.
Clueless on what to order but want to have the best of everything? You can try their OMG (Oh My Goto), the big-ass serving of wet or dry goto with most of the toppings mentioned above. For the price of Php 319, it can be shared by three to four people.
Our selections were a bit safe and conservative since I am not really a fan of internal organs. Kit and I both picked the Plain, (Php 35) with threesome chicken intestines (Php 38). We initially ordered the six-minute egg but it was not available so I picked the hard boiled while she picked the poached egg. (both Php 18 each)
The Plain was nothing short impressive, it was infused with all the flavors I wanted for a hearty bowl of rice porridge. If you are unsure of what to select but don’t want to risk, then I suggest you go for the plain. You can experiment with different combinations later on. My safe option did not disappoint. It was well-balanced with rich notes of ginger and garlic. The texture of the rice was not overly sticky nor too brothy, but just right to fit in the layers of flavors from the toppings of your choice.
The fried chicken intestine was a bit chewy for me. I ate it separately and did not mix it in my Goto because again, I was afraid to experiment. But there are no rules here so feel free to dig in and indulge in whatever your palate pleases you.
Affordable prices, nice presentation, great taste and good service: what more can you ask for? Goto Believe made me impressed for breaking the barriers of traditional food setting, and inspiring us that even the simple things can evolve into something beautiful as long as you have the passion for it.
640 San Rafael Street, Plainview, Mandaluyong City
Phone: +63 9355222103
Open 24 hours
Facebook: Goto Believe