Food and romance have been integral parts of society, so much so that psychologists are constantly researching the link between the two. Just watch any romantic comedy and chances are at least one scene will feature a first meeting in a pub, a break-up in a diner, a grand make-up gesture in a coffee shop, or a proposal in a restaurant. Heck, even a few films are centered around food and romance.
This is probably the driving idea behind Gayuma Ni Maria (literally, “Maria’s Love Potion”), a themed restaurant in Maginhawa Street that celebrates all things related to matters of the heart. The restaurant started its operations in the Katipunan area in 2001 as a hangout for young couples from the nearby universities, though a fire razed the structure down a few years later. It was moved to its current location in 2009 and owner Maricar Aguila has never looked back since.
As with many restaurants in Quezon City, Gayuma Ni Maria has an offbeat, homey vibe. The facade looks like a refurbished home and the interiors feel like a living room remodeled for a house party. Amorous decors like rose petals, red balloons, lacy curtains and sex toys bedeck the dining area, and saxophone-driven instrumentals play in the background.
The menu is divided into sections labeled as “Attraction ,” “Courtship,” “Between the Sheets,” and “Commitment,” which simply mean appetizers, entrée, sandwiches and main courses, respectively. Unfortunately, on this particular visit with my sister, we don’t have much choice. From February 13 to 15, the restaurant only serves a set meal good for two people, priced at PHP 1500.
For the appetizer (labeled as “Getting To Know You”), diners can choose one of three. We had Stuffed portobello cap with asparagus, tomato and zucchini salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
The other choices are Oyster and Clam Tart atop a bed of greens and drizzled with light honey citrus vinaigrette; and Avocado-Watermelon & Shrimp Salad.
As for the main course (“You’re All Mine”), I have the Pan-Seared Salmon with a creamy lemon-dill sauce on cashew-roasted asparagus rice pilaf and mixed berry chutney. I love the rice pilaf and chutney, though the salmon itself is just okay.
My sister, meanwhile, has Tenderloin Steak with blue cheese butter on a bed of roasted baby potatoes. I like this one better, mainly because I’m a fan of blue cheese and anything with it.
The other main course, by the way, is Roast leg of lamb with fresh mint sauce on a bed of couscous.
For dessert, it’s either Pavlova or Beats Sex Any Day Chocolate Cake. We choose the latter, which is the restaurant’s bestseller. The cake is delicious, although a bit too soggy and the sweetness can be overpowering after a few bites.
Gayuma Ni Maria is a nice experience, though may not be an ideal place to bring someone on a first date (especially if the lady’s of the conservative type), what with all the ambiance’s aggressive attempts at setting the mood. The food is nothing to get excited about, but if you are in the right mood and your partner is on the same page, this particular dinner can be a special moment.
Gayuma Ni Maria
23 V. Luna Extension (Maginhawa Street),
Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
63921 681 8989