Serendipity turned disappointment, indeed. That pretty much summed up my encounter with Baryo Pilipinas.
On our way to see Queen Maxima roll by in her carriage during Prinsjesdag, on an unmissable corner off Muzenplein we came face to face with something that stopped me in my tracks – another Filipino restaurant! Unheard of in this country, that would have made two in just one city. Not long after the royal festivities, we returned and sat down for lunch. I soon found out that the other restaurant, Manong Alex, had unfortunately closed shop and this place ended up buying most of their equipment. Hmmm, somewhat a sad turn of events, though that did explain the similarly-uncanny-looking jeepney bar in the corner.
After all was said and done, the Binagoongan, though it could have withstood a bit more shrimp paste, turned out well, and ditto with the chicken adobo. Sadly, however, the overall experience was disappointingly wanting. We were there, apparently, during Bring-Your-Kids-To-Work day as the place, apart from being miserably empty of paying customers, was doubling as an impromptu children’s playground. Not only did it make the place unnecessarily loud, it was also distracting, and made me feel like I was trespassing into someone’s halfway house. If those runaway kids’ parents are the new owners, let me just say that they need to educate themselves in how a proper restaurant should be run. If they don’t quickly learn what it takes, much like their predecessor it’s just a question of time when they’ll be permanently closing their doors. Given the history of Filipino restaurants in this country, my guess is sooner rather than later.