Chef Robby Goco Cooks Up New Dishes For Cyma, Souv!, And Green Pastures
Chef Robby Goco is a firm believer in the idea that good food should be a right and not a privilege. And perhaps that’s the reason for the success of his three restaurants: Cyma Greek Taverna, Green Pastures, and more recently, Souv! by Cyma.
His path to becoming one of the top chef-restaurateurs in the country didn’t happen overnight. Having fired up his desire for cooking at seven years old, Chef Robby took baking lessons, and made money by selling his creations to neighbors and his mom’s colleagues. It was then that he realized that there is money in food. This sideline of his continued from grade school to college, as he diversified his dessert offerings to sell at bazaars. While he pursued culinary studies at the California Culinary Academy, it still wasn’t easy for Chef Robby to nail a job in the culinary industry.
Famous local restaurateur, Vicvic Villavicencio advised Chef Robby that if he wants to open his own restaurant, he needs to “own” a cuisine in the Philippines, to introduce Filipinos to something they haven’t experienced before. Chef Robby followed his advice, packed his bags, and went to Greece to learn everything about Greek cuisine. He connected immediately with Greece, declaring it the most Pinoy country in Europe. Like the Philippines, Greece is an archipelago with an abundance of fresh seafood. Soon after, he opened Cyma, followed by Green Pastures, and just last year, Souv!
According to Chef Robby, you always have to be different and give everything you’ve got into what you do. Instead of settling, he continues to innovate and update existing dishes. Here’s a look at what’s new on the menu at each one of Chef Robby’s restaurants:
This Greek food mainstay gets its name from a young girl Chef Robby met in Greece whose name means “to flourish.” Nine years later, it's still the Greek restaurant to beat. Aside from mouthwatering cuts of lamb, perfectly roasted chicken, pork, and fresh seafood, one of the highlights of Chef Robby’s new menu at Cyma is the Dakos, basically a Greek bruschetta consisting of vine ripened tomatoes, feta cheese, rigani or oregano, and kalamata olives spread on a big barley biscuit.
Photo credit to @bleurobster
You can also get the whole Greek experience when you order the Flaming Mango Dessert that’s literally a fired-up mango with a side of vanilla ice cream.
Photo credit to @cymarestaurants
Cyma Greek Taverna is located at Shangri La Plaza Mall Level 6 and Greenbelt 2, Makati, 2/F at Eastwood Mall, Libis, 2/F at Robinsons Place Manila,Ermita, and at the 4/F Garden Restaurants at Trinoma Mall
For Chef Robby, fresh is always much better than processed. With many restaurants using artificial ingredients and processed food, he thought of offering greener, cleaner food instead. Green Pastures was thus born, a restaurant for those looking for all-natural, healthy, non-processed food, but who don’t want to scrimp on flavor. Chef Robby makes a conscious effort to buy ingredients from local producers, farmers, and fishermen, so that everything at Green Pastures is fresh, mostly organic, local and sustainably produced. It’s here where he recreates and elevates some of our favorite Filipino dishes, adding his own style, flair, and dedication to clean and healthy organic living. His vegetarian Jackfruit Kare-Kare boasts a rich peanut gravy, eggplant, and homemade bagoong. With jackfruit replacing the traditional oxtail, you’d think you were eating the real thing, only guilt-free.
Green Pastures’ Naaks! Fried Chicken is his Pinoy version of this global favorite, with this crispy chicken served with fried sweet potatoes, saba, and homemade banana catsup.
Nak! Fried Chicken
Green Pastures is located at Shangri La Plaza Mall Level 4, East Wing and at Net Park Building 5th Avenue, BGCand at the 3/F of Eastwood Mall
This hip Greek restaurant will make you want to schedule your brunch dates here because their healthy and hearty dishes will definitely make you scream, opa! Souv! By Cyma is also a Greek restaurant that’s got one foot in tradition and one in the modern world. The name is derived from the world “souvlaki,” a Greek dish consisting of grilled meat on a skewer. The Souv! menu revolves around three souvlaki meats from the rotisserie: pork, chicken, and lamb. New souvlaki variants include Xifias, a swordfish souvlaki wrap paired with homemade French fries.
Xifias (Swordfish Souvlaki Wrap)
Another new menu item is Kakavia, a Greek-style bouillabaisse, the most ancient of all fish soups from the Mediterranean. This hot, steaming bowl of seafood goodness has freshness all over it from the clams to the shrimp.
Kakavia (The Greek Bouillabaisse)
Souv! By Cyma is located at Net Park Building, 5th Avenue BGC.
In whatever restaurant he opens, Chef Robby focuses on ingredients, and then challenges himself to uplift their flavors in ways sure to make his diners happy. By taking something familiar to the Filipino market and mixing it with some?thing very new, he comes out with a masterpiece every time. He knows that Filipinos are tough customers, so he stresses the importance of properly balancing flavors in every plate. This determination is a testament to why he is one of the most successful chefs in the local culinary scene today.
Click here to get a chance to experience and whip up authentic Mediterranean dishes in your very own home with the help of Chef Robby Goco as he showcases original recipes to cook soul-satisfying Mediterranean dishes that are similar to what he serves in Cyma Greek Taverna.
Catch Chef Robby Goco in action on At The Table, airing this Monday, April 23 at 8:30 PM on Metro Channel.