“Who can say no to freshly made French toast that’s oozing with heavenly nutella, caramelized bananas, and topped with a dollop of whipped cream?”—this, from the young chef who created what is probably one of the best French toasts in town—Gino Lahoz, the co-owner of the latest addition to Jupiter Street’s gamut of gastronomic hot spots: Gino’s Eats & Beats.

Greatest French Toast

Indeed, Gino’s Greatest French Toast (P120) is one for the books. Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of the classic recipe—but the presence of nutella and the crunchy bits of caramel goodness held the key to my enjoying, for the very first time, The French Toast experience. Being (what I’d like to call) a “French Toast Virgin,” you can just imagine how delighted I was to have finally found my place among French toast lovers. In fact, I could go on and on about it here but the one recipe I’ve singled out isn’t the only thing that’s left me itching to revisit the place again.

When Gino Lahoz and his business partner Wendell Pabalate opened Gino’s Eats & Beats early 2010, they didn’t want anything in the menu that would be unfamiliar to us average Joes and Janes. Instead, they opted to bring us the classics, the comfort food of our generation.

“We believe our customers are people who are always in the mood to eat,” says Lahoz. “There are many ways to feed the soul, and I believe that food is the best method. Our recipes are nothing new, but they’re food you won’t grow tired of cooking and eating. I go by the saying, ‘Who can say no to…?’, like your favorite French toast or longga burger—who can say no to that?”

True enough, foodies like myself find it hard to say no to Gino’s delightful line of comfort cuisine. Dishes like the classic Eggs Benedict (P120), the savoryGrilled Shrimp Scampi (P220), the fork-tender Grilled Chicken with Mushroom Sauce (P220), and the Greatest Longga Burger (P150) pulled a fast one on me—I’ve been craving for them since.

Pica-picas like the Garlic Beef Tender Tips (P220), the Chorizo and Shrimp (P320), and the Chicken Wings Platter (P350) make for the perfect pulutan to go with the wide selection of beer served next door at The Distillery.

One of the best things about Gino’s Eats & Beats—and fellow hearty drinkers will agree with me on this one—is that they have this cross-order arrangement with The Distillery at no extra cost. Just inform your waiter if you and your motley crew want to order drinks next door, and you are in for a night of hearty drinking, eating, and taking in the hottest beats in town.

Drop by the restaurant around 10 p.m. and you will find yourself experiencing the “Beats” side of Gino’s. “A DJ usually spins house and hip hop music,” says Lahoz, who occasionally spins music himself. “When our restaurant’s interiors were designed and conceptualized by Team Manila Philippines, we wanted them to incorporate what Wendell and I love in life—music and food. We don’t really see ourselves as a bar or club, but an all-around place where our customers can be treated to a gastronomical and aural experience.”

Gino’s Eats & Beats has affordable lunch specials (P100 for meat dishes and P65 for vegetable dishes) that are available on weekdays. Gino’s Eats & Beats is also open to renting out the restaurant for events.