One of my dad’s long-time friends had invited us to the opening of Namaskar Vegetarian Café in Caloocan City last September 8, 2014, Monday. Luckily, I was on vacation leave that day so I was able to join them for dinner. Food being served at this new establishment is sentient (sattvik) vegetarian that’s good for the body and mind promoting higher consciousness. For that, Namaskar Vegetarian Café has our undivided attention—and there are more reasons why you should be excited, too.
Review of Namaskar Vegetarian Café (Caloocan City)
Namaskar Vegetarian Café owners Butch Lazaro (Amitavha), Jesus Gayatao (Jayadeva), Iris Amit-Gayatao and Ricardo Bacani Jr. (Ranjan) firmly believe that the right time has come when vegetarians no longer need to be relegated to the side dishes. More and more health-conscious folks are in the search of a hang-out place where they can gather up and engage in nightlife activities minus the drinking, smoking and other social vices. At this café, there’s a total counter-culture which is different from traditional, old-fashioned, static night bar and restaurant.
Namaskar Vegetarian Café features live bands playing different themes and genres of music (i.e. sentimental, blues, new age, tribal fusion, jazz, etc.) using modern style of instruments to set an upbeat and vibrant mood. The quaint and charming ambiance will delight everyone as pure positive vibration enhances relaxed, peace and serene state of mind.
The interior design of the dining area is decorated simply with artsy paintings hanged on the wall and elegant lights draping from the ceiling for almost every table. All eyes turn to the band in front or at the kitchen counter where orders come out.
It’s worthy to mention that Namaskar Vegetarian Café transforms into a yoga classroom during the day. All dining chairs and tables are moved out and are replaced with yoga mats. At max, the venue can accommodate 16 learners in one session.
We experienced fast and efficient service on the first day, and hopefully that can remain consistent when more customers visit the restaurant in the months to come. The staffs here are trained to showcase a positive vibration to guests, so you can rest assure that they will do their best to serve you in the friendliest and most graceful way they know how.
Aside from food, Namaskar Vegetarian Café also conducts yoga sessions. Their style is “fusion yoga,” which is a combination of yoga postures/poses from different yoga disciplines/styles though mainly influenced by tantra system of yoga (the oldest and the main origin of all branches/school/discipline of yoga system).
A day at this café starts not with meals but with three hourly yoga sessions: 6AM-7AM, 7AM-8AM, and 8AM-9AM. This is because they believe that exercises (and not only healthy food) should be integrated into our lives’ daily routine to achieve a higher state and sense of existence and attain the optimum level of physico-psycho and psycho-spiritual development. I was like “wow” upon hearing it. It’s the first time we’ve encountered a café offering both food and yoga together.
It’s time to talk food. Since it was their soft opening, they presented a “soft opening menu” to us, and we ordered almost everything written on it. Everything at Namaskar Vegetarian Café is made to order and delivered directly to your table.
First on the lineup were the Shanghai Rolls (PhP 50), which were tender and full of flavor. I bet that even non-vegetarians will want to bite into these freshly fried rolls with shell breaking off in crispy, golden-brown shards to a hot center of the veggie meat filling. So, order it with confidence!
The Seaweeds Fritter (PhP 50) consisted of seaweed blocks which were light, crispy and melt-in-the-mouth good. It’s deep-fried seaweed having a uniquely dry and flaky texture, much like those seasoned seaweed Japanese snacks.
The Spinach Salad (PhP 69) was basic and refreshing. It was just made with a handful of baby spinach leaves and some olives. Taste was original and excellent even without the soy sauce with honey dressing. I prefer adding pine nuts, corn kernels and walnut halves.
Next, the pastas. We tried the three available pastas by Namaskar, and I’m sad to report that 3/3 didn’t pass my taste test. The Pasta Arrabiata (PhP 90) lacked in spice and taste when I was expecting that the Arrabiata sauce in the pasta should be wickedly spicy and cooked with savory garlic, tomatoes and red hot chili peppers.
Similarly, their Ziti (PhP 120) was bland and forgettable. Was this because I’m not a fan of pasta with white sauce? Quite possibly. My mom liked this pasta dish most among all food on our table.
I’m not going to lie. The Celestial Spaghetti (PhP 90) wasn’t too salty or sweet, and that’s okay but the sauce also lacked in the flavor department and seasoning level. I would want it to be bolder and brighter with some added sweetness in the form of carrots. Advancing my hope further, my ideal vegetarian spaghetti consists of a bevy of vegetables including broccoli and mushrooms simmered in tomato sauce until gently cooked and then napped over al dente spaghetti.
Moving on, we also sampled their Honeygoose Sandwich (PhP 40) and Banana Blossom Burger (PhP 69). I didn’t get to try the Honeygoose Sandwich, so you may base judgment on the picture below. On the other hand, the Banana Blossom Burger (puso ng saging patty) is a no-meat burger that you will praise for keeps. Whatever the reason, this needs to be on your table.
Oregano Juice (PhP 65) looked also interesting on the menu so we ordered a glass of it. It was made with highly aromatic extract of oregano, and bits of oregano leaves can be seen on top. The drink was mixed with honey and it was really good.
Price for Value: ★★★★★
While the food should most definitely be the reason to keep patrons returning, I think what we liked the most about Namaskar Vegetarian Café is that it’s the antithesis of every other restaurant we typically find ourselves in. It’s not the coolest thing you’ll come across, and there are no culinary trends on display. Nonetheless, it’s great to have a relaxing meal that’s guaranteed to be healthy. For food that are cooked and prepared with mantra and love, prices are reasonable and are very friendly on the wallet.
Watch out for more updates on their menu very soon! 🙂
Owners inspired to serve humanity by spreading awareness on health and wellness
If you’re wondering about the rates of yoga sessions, take a quick look here:
- Free – first session (trial)
- PhP 250 – walk in
- PhP 2500 – 10 sessions for two months
- PhP 3000 – Unlimited sessions for one month
- PhP 4000 – Unlimited sessions for two months
- PhP 5000 – Unlimited sessions for three months
How to go to Namaskar Vegetarian Café
1. If you’re coming from EDSA South-bound (Cubao), take a bus ride going to Monumento/MCU, alight at SSS Caloocan (a kilometer away from Balintawak bridge), take the footbridge across the other side and from the left you will see and find Namaskar Vegetarian Café just beside Chinabank.
2. If you’re coming from LRT 1 South-bound (Baclaran) alight at Monumento terminal and take a jeep ride going to MCU ikot SSS. Get off before the jeep make a u-turn to SSS. Walk a little bit around 100 meters and to the right you’ll find NAMASKAR Vegetarian café just beside Chinabank. Direction same as if you’re coming from Samson road or McArthur highway.