"Imagine an old colonial house made of solid wood and stone, cathedral ceiling and adorned with exquisite carvings by skilled Filipino artisans. This old mansion located in the quaint neighborhood of Little Baguio in San Juan has been carefully renovated and restored to become the beautiful setting for a unique restaurant called Bulan. It offers the finest European cuisine, the first of its kind in the Philippines and more likely the first in Southeast Asia. " *
Happy Valentines Day! I must admit that I'm not as harassed by V-day than before. I remember planning for a surprise Tagaytay picnic for lunch during office hours. Of course, you need to have everything in place: the red roses, the valentines gift, chocolates, love cards, and I have to buy a picnic basket (the ones you see in the movies). As they say -- what counts is the effort. These days, I realized that Valentines is a marketing hype and an excuse to increase prices on this love day. For me, every moment that you are together should be a Valentines day and the 14th of February simply becomes an occasion for us to try out those expensive new restaurants.
On V-day, we decided to try out Bulan (meaning Moon in Indonesia). This European Cuisine cum Antique and Arts Place in Little Baguio, San Juan just recently opened last Feb. 5 and will have its grand opening on March 15. "The restaurant features exotic Asian decor and furnishing. Hardwood flooring along with stone walls and magnificent chandeliers from India supply the warm setting that showcases the finest, most exquisite Asian art and furniture."* The restaurant is owned by Marlene Aquilar (sister of the Freddie Aguilar and multi-awarded art book publisher). The Master Chef, Antonio P. Aguilar, is a "Filipino who lived and worked as a master chef in Europe for over 15 years. He holds European culinary awards and has taught European cuisine in Sweden. "*
I must admit that we were intimidated by the beauty of the place and its nice ambiance amidst the antiques. The restaurant setting is in a 3 storey mansion in San Juan that used to be a showroom for Jo-Liza's Arts and Antiques. The food was ridiculously expensive and my wife was not happy about the food. Imagine P1,000 for a main course and everything else was around P500/ soup/ salad or pasta and the food was not even close to Antonio's in Tagaytay. Although, they admitted that this is the first time that they served a huge group and they are still fine tuning their kitchen operation.
It also has a snobbish oldies crowd ambiance -- or you could say old rich. Marlene Aguilar was there entertaining her guests and did not even bother to welcome other patrons. You would feel that if you complain about the food and how expensive it is, they would tell you that you're a sour grape and you're not rich enough to be their target market. Their P1,000+ seabass tasted like grilled hard tanguingue, and it was replaced by cod that was also mushy raw -- (I'm glad that they did not let us pay for it). The service people were very nice (thank you!). Sometimes, you might see Freddie Aguilar dining with his friends, as we did last night.
Overall, this was a good place to impress your special someone. I wouldn't go back in Bulan not unless OAP readers would rave about their food.
Checkout this BULANtines Day experience...