Robby Goco, ‘Lambassador’ of the Philippines | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Goco’s plant-based lamb creations
Goco’s plant-based lamb creations
Goco’s plant-based lamb creations


I have always been a fan of Robby Goco’s food. My enjoyment of his creations dates back 20 years. I still vividly remember his Thanh Long-inspired rendition of crabs with garlic noodles that he executed to perfection.

I have admittedly lost touch with his cuisine, for no particular reason—until last week, when my manang Cristy and I were strolling at the Shangri-La Mall and decided to have lunch in Cyma.

We ordered Hummus and Taramosalata with freshly made pita, Roka Salata and Paidakia (char-grilled lamb ribs).

Little did I know that biting into that lamb rib would spark a longing for food that’s exceptionally done. To me, more often than not, exceptional food is simple food that’s masterfully prepared to highlight the ingredient’s natural taste and flavor.

Greek lamb shawarma rice
Greek lamb shawarma rice


Goco’s mantra is, “Why interfere with what nature has already mastered?”

Goco’s gift is in doing things just right. As an example, Cyma’s hummus is the right creaminess with just the right bite of garlic, served with pita that’s soft and hot.

The greens of the salad are at the right temperature, thus cold and crisp.

The lamb was cooked to the right doneness, charred on the outside yet red on the inside. It was seasoned with just the right amount of flaky sea salt and fresh coarsely cracked pepper, then drizzled with good quality Greek olive oil, right before it was brought to the table.

18 years old

The lamb that day, I would describe as eating from nature, as nature would have it. The lamb was not robbed of its character; instead, it was simply enhanced for the pleasure of my consumption, leaving me wanting more.

The author’s favorite Paidakia
The author’s favorite Paidakia


I revisited Cyma five days later to have more Paidakia and to have a taste of the Greek Shawarma Lamb Rice.

Once again, they did not disappoint.

So pleased by my visits, I had to call Rob to tell him how good his food is.

I was surprised to learn that Cyma is now 18 years old, and unlike other eateries that deteriorate over time, Cyma keeps getting better.

Chef Robby Goco
Chef Robby Goco


I asked what his secret was. And he said, none, other than premium ingredients. The chef shared that he was made Australia’s “Lambassador” of the Philippines, and rightfully so. Few can bring out the delectable flavors of lamb as well as Goco can.

Goco has his hands full. Apart from Cyma, which has four branches, he also runs Souv by Cyma in three locations.

Souv comes from the word souvlaki/souvla/souva, a Greek dish referring to pieces of meat on a skewer. The restaurant focuses on spit-fired meat.

At Souv, he integrated the top 12 favorite dishes of Cyma. Souv adheres to the philosophy of Greek cooking—good fat, healthy grains, lots of fiber, low sugar and carbs. Dishes at Souv are made in-house, from scratch, daily.

Their menu revolves around the three souvlaki meats from the rotisserie—chicken, pork and lamb.

For lunch, choose your roast and partake of it as a wrap, salad or bowl served with your choice of sides. You may also customize your meal as you like, regardless of your diet—vegan, paleo, gluten-free. Orders at Souv are guaranteed to be served in just five minutes!

In December, watch out for a Greek farm-to-table dining experience in Tagaytay at Elaia by Cyma. Goco shared that Elaia by Cyma is a celebration of Greek culture and gastronomy. The concept focuses on delivering the freshest ingredients sourced directly from Greek farms, where every dish is prepared with a wide range of olive oils.

Embracing his role

Goco has embraced his role as “Lambassador.” As such, expect him to showcase the finest lambs in a variety of mouthwatering ways. From slow-cooked lamb shanks to tender grilled lamb chops, each dish reflects the rich culinary heritage of Greece.

Ladera, a Greek term meaning vegetables cooked in olive oil, will figure prominently on the menu, as well. This traditional cooking technique enhances the natural flavors of vegetables.

Goco addressed the shift in dietary preferences, and responded to the growing demand for plant-based alternatives by introducing a groundbreaking plant-based lamb.

He has come a long way from the days when he was given sound advice by the late Vicvic Villavicencio. The legendary restaurateur told Goco that to succeed, you must own a cuisine. And that Goco did. For almost 20 years he’s been cooking Greek that pleases the Filipino palate.

Goco shares his lamb cooking tips:

Just grill your cut of choice and season with really good flaky sea salt, black pepper and dried oregano. Before serving, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

For large cuts such as shoulder or leg, season with salt, pepper and oregano, then roast in an inch of water, covered, for 2 ½ hours. Remove cover, add potatoes and continue roasting until brown and potatoes are cooked, about 30 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice on the potatoes.

Follow @cymarestaurants on Instagram.

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