Saturday, November 12, 2022

Comforting Classics Reinvented with a Cool Modern Twist at Xi by Cafe Guilt

Discovering a new culinary find offering creative and refreshingly inspired spins on traditional and comforting staples is one secret you'd like to keep for yourself. But since it's the season of giving, here's a quick rundown on Quezon City's newest secret hidden gastronomic gem...

Progressive, innovative and unapologetically modern with an emphasis on fresh, bold and real flavors, Quezon City is now home for hearty and sumptuous cuisine with hints of playful inventiveness expressed in a lavish menu at Xi by Cafe Guilt. And no, you don't have to go far down south the usual dining hotspots to find the same level of masterfully executed dishes. You'll find it right here in Quezon City. Xi by Cafe Guilt brings its extensive repertoire of familiar and comforting classics reinvented with a contemporary twist for a unique dining experience in a quiet Scout area neighborhood away from the usual commercial and business districts. And about time too... 

The elegant glass-lined facade and spacious interiors at Xi by Cafe Guilt isn't a common sight in the casual and laid-back Quezon City neighborhood. But that's just the first layer in an elaborate weave threading your experience at Xi by Cafe Guilt. The pleasantly unexpected becomes a recurring theme in this hidden gem of a find in Quezon City from its contemporary design down to its impressive menu.

Once seated, rediscover familiar flavors at Xi by Cafe Guilt and take in the vibe. Warm your palate with the soothing yet rich notes of the traditional French Onion Soup (P 300) with its light yet savory beef stock infused with the mild sweet hints of caramelized onions served with a delicately crisp baguette. Chef Chi and Marion Santos helm the kitchen at Xi by Cafe Guilt, and they're all set to impress your palate.

Other soup courses at Xi by Cafe Guilt include the Lobster Bisque (P 570) and Crema de Champinones (P 370) or Mushroom Soup with truffle oil and milk foam.

Next, indulge in the fresh and clean flavors of garden-fresh and crisp vegetables with a duo of satisfying salad courses elegantly plated to first feed the eyes before the palate...

...starting with the Tomato and Beet Salad with Burrata (P 998). Thinly sliced tomatoes and beets forms the base of the salad delivering contrasting tartness and sweetness with the fresh arugula adding crisp textures finished by the nutty hints of pesto and smoothened by the silky smooth richness of burrata. Each distinct note comes together complementing the other in a perfectly balanced blend. Fresh tomatoes, beets, pesto and cheese, that's the perfect start at Xi by Cafe Guilt

A familiar salad gets the modern Xi by Cafe Guilt treatment with Xi's Deconstructed Black Garlic Caesar Salad (P 910) with Romaine and Lollo Rosso topped with maple-glazed bacon bits and sous-vide poached egg crowned by a delicate Parmesan foam. The ornate presentation of the dishes served so far at Xi by Cafe Guilt becomes a visual feast...

...followed by bold notes to complete the sensory experience. The rich medley of flavors combine for bold and unrestrained notes teasing and pleasing the palate with each bite. The distinct sharp notes of the bacon and dressing are perfectly tempered by the sous-vide poached egg for lavish layers of savory richness with the deep lingering hints of black garlic adding depth. 

First impressions always count and the soup and salad courses are already an indication of what else you can expect at Xi by Cafe Guilt.

In between bites, why not indulge in Xi by Cafe Guilt's specialty flatbread style pizza like the inventive Tako Pizza with grilled pulpo, nori, bonito flakes, spring onions and Mozzarella drizzled with teriyaki sauce made even richer with generous dabs of Japanese mayo? The east meets west take on pizza brings unique flavors from the smoky sweetness of the grilled octopus and briny notes of bonito flakes to the sharp yet sweet hints of the teriyaki sauce and the Mozzarella conspiring with the Japanese mayo for a creamy finish. The playful infusion of Japanese flavors certainly makes this pizza a lot more interesting with its blend of savory flavors and it works. It definitely isn't your usual pizza, then again, it's the unexpected that sets your dining experience at Xi by Cafe Guilt apart from the usual. 

Did you say cheese? Xi by Cafe Guilt served their take on the four cheese classic with the Pizza Sorpresa generously topped with Feta, Cream Cheese, Cheddar and Mozzarella on a crisp and rustic crust. The sharpness of the Cheddar and Feta are smoothened by the rich layers of Mozzarella and Cream Cheese for that comforting cheesy blend we all love in pizza.

And there's more. Xi by Cafe Guilt excels at teasing the palate with a wide array of tasty starters...

Enjoy the fresh catch of the day at Xi by Cafe Guilt with a half-dozen burst of succulent briny sweetness with the Oyster Rockefeller (P 850) featuring oven-baked Aklan Oysters topped with Mozzarella and cream cheese. 

The freshness and quality of the ingredients become evident from the first bite with the plump oysters draped in Mozzarella and cream cheese delivering bold and real flavors, you'll want another. The lightly charred crust of the Mozzarella and cream cheese blend adds both flavors and texture before the succulent oysters leave a lingering briny sweetness on the palate.   

Other tempting starters at Xi by Cafe Guilt include the Xi's Trilogy of Ceviche (P 990) with fresh red snapper, tuna and salmon prepared three ways, Poached Pears with Foie Gras (P 1,058), Xi's Firecracker Chicken (P 550) and Charcuterie (P 1,490) with assorted cold cuts and cheeses.

Any comfort food craving involves pasta, and Xi by Cafe Guilt adds its own playful twist to the traditional noodle dish with a variety of flavor combinations. At Xi by Cafe Guilt, that includes both the traditional and the unexpected... the Aglio Olio e Foie Gras Pasta with Duck Fat and Duck Liver seasoned with roasted peppercorns. The classic aglio olio with olive oil and pepper is elevated with the addition of foie gras and duck fat for that unctuous and indulgent buttery mouthfeel. The foie gras with its deep, earthy and nutty notes is tempered by the roasted peppercorns for an elegantly balanced finish.

Taking the aglio olio as the base, Xi by Cafe Guilt takes it a step further with the foie gras and duck fat for one pasta dish that doesn't hold back on flavors so rich and sinfully decadent. 

Inspired by the Japanese takoyaki, the Tako Pasta features distinct Asian flavors with soft yet firm noodles tossed with tender and succulent pulpo, vegetable yasai, bonito flakes and nori seaweed draped in a mildly sweet Asian sauce. The sauce ties all the different components together in a perfectly seamless and flavorful weave delivering bold flavors. If you're looking to change your pasta game, let Xi by Cafe Guilt indulge you with their creative pasta offerings. 

But the pasta play list at Xi by Cafe Guilt isn't done quite yet. The Cacio de Uni Pasta flavored with roasted peppercorns and sinfully draped in creamy sea urchin sauce is another winner of a pasta dish from their play book. 

The velvety smooth textures and creamy richness of the prized uni accompanies each bite releasing intense notes. Extravagant and lavish, it's the pasta dish you need to make your day so much better. It's flavors like this that makes Xi by Cafe Guilt a must-try destination in Quezon City. 

If you're craving for more traditional flavors, the Pomodoro Bolognese should do the trick. The rich tartness of the sauce has that nostalgic vibe taking you back to simpler uncomplicated times with its vibrant and sunny flavors. 

The modern and contemporary approach to flavors at Xi by Cafe Guilt are carefully balanced with their inclusion of traditional flavors in the menu, and these dishes are prepared with the same level of masterful execution with the finest and freshest ingredients. The Pomodoro Bolognese is one such dish in the menu of Xi by Cafe Guilt.

The Chicken ala Parmigiana Pasta with house made Pomodoro topped with tender baked chicken fillet is a hearty meal in itself. The delicate flavors of the richly seasoned baked chicken fillet are kicked up by the vibrant notes of the Pomodoro in another fresh play on classic and traditional flavors.  

Now for some serious eats. Xi by Cafe Guilt also offers a savory selection fresh off the grill including the mouthwatering slab of pure pork love with the Grilled Pure Berkshire Tomahawk. Prized for its rich juiciness, flavor and tenderness, the English Berkshire breed is among the world's best and you'll find it here at Xi by Cafe Guilt.

Each slice beneath the delicately charred surface reveals a juicy pink center, with the bright pinkish hue as one of the unique characteristics of Berkshire pork. Fork-tender and juicy, each bite melts in your mouth draping the palate with a subtle sweetness and savory richness. That buttery finish and mouthfeel along with its flavorful notes places the Grilled Pure Berkshire Tomahawk high on my list of personal picks at Xi by Cafe Guilt.

Perfect for sharing, but you'll want this close by your side. Each entrĂ©e from the grill comes with your choice of rice, mashed potatoes or marble potatoes served with buttered vegetables. 

When your cravings turn carnivorous, the Ribeye Steak (P 2,500) at Xi by Cafe Guilt is the perfect choice. Grilled to medium with its appetizing pink center and served with mashed potatoes, gravy and buttered vegetables, the Ribeye Steak is a well-deserved treat. 

Like butter, each bite releases a juicy and flavorful burst of beefy goodness that will have you going for another. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper and romanced by the grill for that mild smoky finish, you don't need to overcomplicate or clutter quality beef like this. 

If you're still hungry, go for the Xi's Burger with its pure Australian Wagyu beef patty topped with caramelized onions, bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato and Cheddar on a toasted brioche bun served with a side of thin and crisp potato chips. You can level it up with foie gras if you wish as an added option. It's a serious burger, with the egg adding that extra layer of richness to an already loaded and savory burger.

And Xi by Cafe Guilt gets even more creative for that much awaited sweet finale. For dessert, Xi by Cafe Guilt presented a decadent duo...

...with the Truffle Sorbet with a whimsical upside down vanilla ice cream cone scented with truffle and passion fruit puree...

...and the Turon de Banana, an inspired spin on the all-time local staple with layered filo pastry filled with banana mousse and jackfruit topped with dehydrated banana. Credit goes to the kitchen for transforming these desserts to visual eye candy.

Just like many of the dishes at Xi by Cafe Guilt, the creative intent first feeds the eyes before satisfying the palate for an immersive experience. And these desserts hits the spot for that sweet ending to a sumptuous feast. 

After your satisfying meal, stay a while for a soothing tipple as Xi by Cafe Guilt reveals yet another layer to the dining experience with equally creative beverages and handcrafted cocktails conceptualized by bar wizard Aly Lorenzo

You can always have a cup of freshly brewed coffee, but why not a sweet Biscoff Latte instead

Xi by Cafe Guilt offers an equally impressive selection of refreshing libations from Italian style sodas, iced teas, smoothies and coffee-based concoctions...

...all the way down to cocktails and you'll find one with your name on it. Just ask the bar for their recommendations.

And with the holidays fast approaching, Xi by Cafe Guilt has some seasonal cocktails inspired by local delicacies like puto bumbong...

...creatively expressed in a cocktail...

...and even bibingka to get you in the festive mood. It's this kind of creativity that makes your visit to Xi by Cafe Guilt special. The cuisine, setting and service all come together in a colorful multi-layered weave for a unique dining experience at the heart of Quezon City. Craving for comforting classics with a refreshing modern twist? That's Xi by Cafe Guilt...

Xi by Cafe Guilt is located at Scout Rallos corner Scout Torillo, Quezon City, 1103 Metro Manila. You can also call 0956 860 8159 for inquiries or visit their FB Page at for more updates.

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