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Hungry Hippie Bistro uncovered. 20 years in the making!

If you happen to be in San Gwann, we suggest you visit Hungry Hippie Bistro, and we will tell you why.


Hungry Hippie Bistro is, initially, not very visible. The black facade gets lost in a hotchpotch of shop and building fronts in this area. What is particular about it is that you will often see a couple of people enjoying a drink on what looks like an outside bar. So much so that the first time we thought the place had no interior area and was just for take-away.


Hungry Hippie Bistro shopfront

We were wrong. Hungry Hippie Bistro has a nice interior space, with a lovely and fully stocked bar right at the entrance. Not sure about the mural and street graffiti designs, but that is just me. A green and white neon sign immediately promises great food and good times. It is surely not wrong about the food based on what we tried.


Hungry Hippie Bistro internal sign

So how did Hungry Hippie start? We spoke to Chef Patron and founder Ryan Sell who told us how the concept behind Hungry Hippie Bistro came in the light of the Vegan and Vegetarian food trend that is getting bigger and bigger on our shores. ‘That’s one of the reasons why we have named it Hippie.’


Ryan himself was introduced to cooking alongside his dad at his restaurant at a very young age. After a year abroad working at Hilton Heathrow Hotel, he spent another year at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in London under the Chef Patron Jason Atherton.


Cocktail specials at Hungry Hippie Bistro

Back in Malta in 2009, Ryan started experiences at 5-star hotels such as Hilton, Westin Dragonara & Excelsior up until 2015. After that, Ryan worked at various local restaurants and bistros, including Crust as a Head Chef. After 20 years of experience, a new adventure in his own business with Hungry Hippie Bistro is on.


Hungry Hippie Bistro bar with glasses

Hungry Hippie Bistro offers a varied menu. The pasta section caught our eye with various options such as Spicy Pesto Pasta alla Vodka or the Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta With Sausage Crumbles. In addition, there are options for vegans and vegetarians and brunch, starters, deli, salads, and burgers options.


‘We started to focus on a bit high-end Breakfast Menu, followed by a lovely Brunch and a large variety of food. Our focus is more on fresh ingredients that we use with all the products’, Ryan told us. When you also consider there are mains (of course), platters, and a kids’ corner in addition to the above, you realize there must be something for everyone there.


Hungry Hippie Bistro waffle with chicken plus fried eggs

We focused on the brunch section and started with the Waffle and Chicken with chives cream, harissa mayo, and Maple Syrup. In our case, we decided on an extra fried egg that came on the side. We would have preferred it to be on top, but then again, it would have covered the aesthetics of what was a scrumptiously crunchy chicken. Very crunchy. I liked it.


The portion was just enough to satisfy one’s need for a good brunch. Perhaps we could have done with a slightly bigger waffle, but that’s just us being greedy and possibly wanting a larger portion of goodness. Having tasted these, I need to find a date to go and try the full English breakfast! We accompanied this with a blueberry lemonade cocktail which looked nice, and very minty, but a bit short on the alcohol for our taste.


Hungry Hippie Bistro golden crusted chicken plus waffle

The second dish was the ‘HH’ Pasta bowl, consisting of Maccheroni Al Torchio with sundried tomatoes, gbejna, garlic, white wine, oil, basil, and pine nuts. The pasta was perfectly al dente and very cheesy. The thing that struck us was its delicious simplicity. It was a pasta dish that felt like a Friday evening home-prepared meal when you decide to go a bit extra on the cheese side because you want to reward yourself.


Hungry Hippie Bistro macceroni al torchio

Delicious and with a homemade feel. It is something the people at Hungry Hippie look for in their food. ‘The menu results from what I learned throughout the 20 years of catering I did working inside the kitchen. I wanted to create a new vision in San Gwann that hits more the local people since our trend is the go places such as St Julian’s, where you can find all types of cuisines.’


Charlene having brunch at Hungry Hippie Bistro

Indeed after the pandemic put the breaks on the catering business, we are again seeing the emergence of many new interesting places. The local food scene is starting to flourish again. ‘Nowadays, many restaurants are opening, and that’s a really good thing. It’s healthy to have new places around. It can be a good thing so that other establishments tend to re-invest.’


The recent issue with higher prices is cause for concern, though. “Food products are more expensive, and that’s a big challenge with customers to trust you. So we are gaining trust since we are new in the market and that’s why we emphasize more on fresh ingredients and good quality. They will cost us slightly higher, but good quality is always important for us.


Hungry Hippie Bistro napkin and cutlery

With good food and a dedicated team, the future of Hungry Hippie Bistro looks bright, though. ‘If things get better and by building a fantastic team like we already are, we could either try to open another Hungry Hippie or another different version of Hungry Hippie. We will take it slowly and see how things move on.’


Hungry Hippie Bistro is located in Triq in-Naxxar, San Gwann. It is open from Monday to Sunday (Mon -Fri 8.30-22.00, Sat & Sun 9.00-22.00)

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