Buenisimo was a conceptual pitch to our gourmet grand-uncle Bro. Andrew Gonzalez, who was a great lover of food. At this time, my brother and I, were taken along on several gastronomic travels to France, Italy, Spain and various parts of the Mediterranean. And these, he was hoping, would open our eyes to the even bigger world of food and cooking. And it did, but we were too young and carefree to make something immediate out of it.
A few years went by, my brother and I had already created many projects of sprucing up our Cafe Ysabel to go with times and hopefully keep the termites away from our 1927 structure. Our concept was still there, we wanted to expand Cafe Ysabel and bring it closer to more people. Although we spent a few years, hoping to find a suitable spot for our new restaurant, it was only when my brother had mentioned it on SPOON that something we both agreed with, graced our way.
My brother, who is a great fan of minimalist and modern interiors, and I who loved the “oldness” of Cafe Ysabel and how it made time stop for a lot of our guests, finally came to a decision that Buenisimo, will have the “old-world” comfort and elegance of Cafe Ysabel, and yet be modern and upbeat enough for a bigger spectrum of people to enjoy. On March 9, we had our soft opening. Today, Buenisimo is slowly being finished, our fixtures, our door, our decor and phone line will hopefully be all installed and ready by our grand opening.
Buenisimo’s food is all about the nostalgic tastes, flavors and dishes my brother and I grew up with. Most of our comfort dishes were part of meals we used to eat at our famous Sunday family lunch in our ancestral home. For our menu, we had a rough time picking out a short-list of our favorites from Cafe Ysabel, which are the core flavors we have been exposed to all our lives. We also incorporated a lot of flavor & ingredient mixtures from our travels to the different parts of Asia and Europe for people who are a little more adventurous. We have also made use of our local ingredients to create delightful “filipinized” modern dishes.
Growing up in a restaurant, my brother and I would always have the knack to tinker around the kitchen and follow dad’s lead to be courageous enough to mix and match flavors and ingredients that seem ridiculous but end up delicious. My dad, who has built Cafe Ysabel, a 26-year restaurant, has always encouraged us to be creative and to give our guests the best of everything when it comes to food and hospitality.
Staying true to our restaurant’s name, our philosophy in Buenisimo is to give you the best of everything we could get — from the service staff, kitchen, wines, cookware down to the napkins and centerpieces. Hopefully by grand opening, everything will finally come together to bring the restaurant, that only existed in our dreams, into reality.
by Giannina Gonzalez