Food within the walls

Dai and I, in a fit of nostalgia upon reading the word “Churros” thanks to our in-house review memories, went inside Cioccolata on the ground floor of The Bayleaf Manila in Intramuros.

SONY DSCI like the ambiance of the place. We were welcomed with the smell of coffee and pastry and though I’m not a big coffee drinker, I like its odor nonetheless. Also, it’s not as crowded as your typical Starbucks or CBTL on a midday.

SONY DSCWe settled for their selection of pastries. The drinks, we’d have to try some other time. I don’t think it’s appropriate to drink coffee in the middle of the day because the sun is up and we’re not sleepy. We had original churros with hot spanish chocolate and it was delicious. According to Dai, the dip was real chocolate and not the processed kind you buy at supermarkets. The cinnamon pretzel was also noms because I like anything with cinnamon though the consistency gets bad after a couple of minutes. The brazo de mercedes cupcake is too sweet for my taste.

SONY DSCDinner was at Barbara’s. I was able to snag vouchers for their buffet with cultural show and though we only reserved on the same day (contrary to calling at least 2 days prior according to the details tab), we were accommodated by the staff.

SONY DSCThe first floor of the building housed venues for wedding receptions and during our visit, there were two parties simultaneously happening.

SONY DSCThe buffet, on one hand is held on the second floor. We arrived thirty minutes early hoping to get good seats for the cultural show. Unfortunately, the place was already packed. People were getting impatient and the hostess did a bad job controlling the crowd. She was unable to answer questions on the cause of the wait, had a hard time locating the reservations and etc.

SONY DSCAlmost half an hour after 7 pm, the doors were opened to the dining area. Dai and I were seated on the left most area, far from the buffet spread with the view of the stage obscured by columns. We wanted to be transferred to a better seat but thought against it because we empathized with the servers and we didn’t want to cause unnecessary distractions. Besides, our booth had something others didn’t have, a sense of privacy.

SONY DSCI like the interior of Barbara’s, predominantly wood. Also, the lighting was not too bright and not too dim. The air conditioning was a bit wanting though. Maybe it’s because of the high density of people. The tables were too close each other it’s inevitable to bump into chairs when walking to and from the buffet spread.

11111The soup was creamy and flavorful only to find out that it’s actually vegetable soup. I guess vegetables are bearable when they’re pureed.

SONY DSCThe offering at Barbara’s is not as extensive as other buffets but majority of the dishes were delicious. It’s quality over quantity. That night, there was one viand each for fish, pork and beef. The fish was a bit mushy (ekkkk), the pork decent, and the beef superb. Halfway through the queue, I was a bit disappointed when a waiter said the penne pasta was already unavailable so we had to settle for pancit.  There was also russian salad but I’m still partial towards greens. What they lacked for viands, Barbara’s redeemed with their desserts. There were Filipino favorites like maja, brazo cake, gelatin and my most favorite, coffee jelly.

SONY DSCAfter the dinner, the cultural presentation started. Try enjoying the show from our distance and I’ll salute you. Of course we were encouraged to come closer but being the lazy asses that we were, no thanks. The show lasted for almost an hour. I especially appreciate one male dancer who kept on shouting and laughing during one dance. His enthusiasm is commendable.

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SONY DSCWe left before the show ended to avoid the crowd. We used the opportunity to roam around the area and appreciate Barbara’s design. The place was elegant and picture perfect though it’s not my kind of home because it looked high maintenance and dust-friendly.

123Overall, it was a pleasant and satisfying dinner.

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