Balaw Balaw Restaurant Review

It was going to be another adventure. My friend and I were going to soak ourselves in art in, where else but the Art Capital of the Philippines, Rizal.

It turned out to be such a short commute. We boarded a taxi van at SM Mega Mall and about an hour later, we were already standing in front of the famous Balaw Balaw Restaurant.

I first learned about this restaurant from the GMA morning TV show: Unang Hirit. What makes this restaurant stand out are the exotic dishes that they have on their menu such as beetles, crickets, eels, and frogs.

It was quite a disappointment when I told the waiter that I wanted the balot with veggies, and he said that it's not available. Then when I asked him what he can recommend from their menu of exotic dishes, he said that he doesn't know and that he'd have to ask someone else. I really wasn't expecting this. I know that asking the waiter for recommendations is not a common practice outside Metro Manila, but this place is frequented to by tourists; shouldn't the waiters be better trained for such behaviors?

I also found their prices really steep for a restaurant outside of Metro Manila. I felt that the serving size was a bit unfair for the money that they ask for it. It seems that the restaurant is taking advantage of all the frenzy they have produced from getting featured a lot of times on TV. I did notice that there were groups of people going there to sample or dare themselves to eat exotic food (which was what we were doing). At the last minute, though, I decided not to go with trying the exotic food because I felt like it was a rip off, big time.

The even funnier thing was that they did not have potable water. So what they do is they put bottled water in your table much like they do with wines in upscale restaurants. We didn't drink the water because that was another rip off and we still got billed for it (though they fixed it in the end). Imagine paying 18 pesos for a bottle of SM Bonus water!

I was also very turned off by the attitude of their waiters. When I go to a restaurant, I always take time in exploring the menu. To me, part of the art of dining in a restaurant is selecting your food. The waiter who took my order did not even try to hide his impatience with me when I was browsing through the menu!

It was still an afternoon to remember, though. In the upper floors of the edifice is actually an art gallery. The art gallery contained paintings and sculptures made by artists in Rizal. The two uppermost floors though were not well kept. I don't know if it was part of the ambiance because the uppermost floor looked like it was a workshop. I don't even know if we were supposed to be there (hahahaha).

I always think that the three things one should always avoid are: greed, apathy, and ignorance.

This restaurant will go down the drain if it does not correct its seeming indifference to customer service. Will I recommend this restaurant to other people? If you know the difference between realism and existentialism, then you might appreciate it. But if you were to go here simply to dine, then get ready to be disappointed.

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