Paradigm Shift

11 months ago


SUSI will make you think twice about vegan cuisine—and eat it happily too.


Words by Angeli De Rivera

Photographed by Reau Gutierrez


When you’ve spent your whole life consuming animal-sourced foods, turning into a vegan can be intimidating. But there’s also another side to the truth: vegan cuisine is good—wonderful, in fact. Keep in mind that going vegan doesn’t mean it’s all about leaves, nuts, and fruits. On the contrary, it’s a whole different spectrum of tastes and textures a foodie or anyone should experience. One more fact? There is a place where you can actually enjoy great vegan food in Metro Manila. Located in Burgos Circle, SUSI maybe the key to your conversion to veganism; if not, your latest spot for really incredible no-meat meals.

SUSI is owned by Bianca Mabanta, chief advocate of veganism and head promoter of sustainable living. We learned that she also has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that leaves a person gluten intolerant. Gluten, of course, is found in almost all things we normally consume— bread our, barley, rye, beer, and wheat pasta. Matched with her conviction to not eat or use any animal-sourced product, Bianca is set on a mission to teach diners about sustainability through her green gastronomic venture.

As a visual artist, she also took charge
of the design of the gorgeous interiors— sleek, with rustic touches of wood and metal make this earthy abode very welcoming. The place also carries several vegan pantry must-haves from gluten-free baked goodies to everyday ingredients for people with food allergies and restrictions. Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet Bianca during our visit, but thank goodness for Chef Kyra De Vera who gave us an insight on SUSI’s raved about vegan meals.

It only took a few items in the menu to make us believers of veganism. First was the small plate called Into the Wilde, aptly named as a tribute to vegan actress Olivia Wilde. Unassuming at first glance but as soon as you bite into the wild mushroom quiche topped with roasted leeks, you’ll be amazed by the depth of flavors that are familiar yet surprisingly new with each forkful. I’ll Pesto Your Fez was another dish welcomed by the group. If you like pesto-based dishes then you’d better try this one: al dente corn pasta made with a semolina base is coated with basil pesto and cooked with cherry tomatoes and olives. The secret is in the cashew cheese which adds a distinctly creamy yet nutty nuance in every penne. The
turning point was The Gaudi, a salute
 to the famous Catalan artist who was
also a vegetarian. Alternate layers of zucchini pesto, cashew cheese, and fresh marinara sauce make up this 8-level raw lasagna marvel. Nutritional yeast is also added as a seasoning to the dish causing a malty playful fizzy taste in the mouth—a surreal yet welcoming sensation, just like when you see the works of its namesake.
It was the dessert, Eat Your Feelings, that sealed the deal for us. It might as well
 be named as the healthiest and most scrumptious chocolate cake ever. Sorghum our is used for the cake, cacao from Davao and coconut cream for the thick chocolate frosting and coconut sugar as sweetener. It’s deep, dark, and enticing—certainly a chocolate cake in a league of its own. The bonus treat was the Red Emma, a luscious smoothie made up of strawberries, beets, and oranges. SUSI is set to launch new dishes soon so expect more delicious things to come.

Going vegan doesn’t necessarily mean you need to undergo a life-changing experience nor does it require you to have a food restriction. All it takes is an open mind, a fork, and an appetite to enjoy what is good food. SUSI certainly is the key to these healthier pickings.

Into the Wilde

Into the Wilde

The Gaudi

The Gaudi

Eat Your Feelings

Eat Your Feelings

Red Emma

Red Emma


Bellagio II, Forbes Town Center

Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City

(02) 833-7874

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