THE past year or so has been a showcase of creative minds at work. So many new restaurants, cafés and specialized stores have opened in the metropolis, these passion projects of young, creative entrepreneurs. I admire these young entrepreneurs because at such an early age, they are proving that passion and determination are key to any successful business. They have leveraged the Internet and social media to grow these small businesses, expanding their market without having to physically work the streets and neighborhoods to pass out flyers touting their offerings.
It is in fact through social media that I found out about this restaurant which goes by the name “The Girl + The Bull” and the photos I saw of it in social media piqued my interest. I’ve always had a penchant for arty endeavors, for the quaint and the quirky. I love how photos can create a whole new identity for each blank space. Even before I learned how amazing the food is at The Girl + The Bull, I saw this particular image that kept popping up on the popular social-media platform Instagram.
The photo showed a white wall with picture cards of animals that were suspended on the wall using a rope and paper clips. The image on Instagram was captioned thusly: “Yep, we found you.” Out of curiosity, I asked what it was and why finding it was so special.
Finding the restaurant which had no prominent signage added to its mystery. As you enter, the world changes. There is an air of freshness, creating an almost-but-not-quite mood for fine dining. It isn’t the stiff sort of fine-dining establishment; rather, it exudes a classy vibe that is nonetheless low-key, with just the perfect hint of casualness to quickly make one feel comfortable and at home. It is certainly not intimidating in any way.
I liked it that there was a visual feast everywhere I laid my eyes on. It was art coming out of each vignette, and the ambiance spoke highly of Thea de Rivera, also known as “The Girl”, one of the owners who so graciously entertained our questions. I was so envious of her green hair as this has been on my bucket list.
I love how her personality was all over the place. The details of the space, though simple, were very warm, lively, hip and appealing to the senses. Each dining table was tucked in a wall or corner and had its own character, thus creating vignettes that not only are “Instagrammable” but also create a perfect backdrop for the food. The space complements the food that is thoughtfully plated and served, making presentation an art form in itself. I love how the space is suffused with such character on account of those photos that hang on clothes lines, the personalization made possible by the chalk board, and the statement pieces that are familiar to a home.
The food is the brainchild of Gab Bustos, also known as “The Bull,” a fine arts student who found passion in recreating food. His food creations are also highly Instagrammable. No wonder he and Thea make a good team.
Each plate that comes out of the kitchen is vibrant with color and texture, the plate not only a vessel of scrumptious food but also a canvas for culinary art. I was in art/food heaven.
In my line of work, it is the output that you produce that shows how passionate you are about what you do. If you love what you do, you automatically will excel in it. That much is evident in The Girl + The Bull—both the place and the food.