A year after that, I returned with Paul and my former boss D for a work-related trip. My boss introduced me to their Kamote bread and cheese spread which was so good that I even bought a loaf home for my family to enjoy. Every year, Cafe by the Ruins has always been part of our travel itinerary.
It's then pretty much a given that I've included Cafe by the Ruins again when we returned to Baguio this time with The Food Club. Aside from Paul and I, our friend Grace was also raving about the restaurant. This definitely made the rest excited and tremendously increased everyone's expectations about the restaurant. I was pretty confident that they'd like it as much as we all enjoyed our other food stops such as Hill Station and O' Mai Khan. After all, there must be a reason why we always make it a point to return to Cafe by the Ruins every single year.
Just like with all other restaurant, I made reservations for dinner and initially set this at 8PM. However, the server who answered my call requested if we can go earlier to get the long table. We rounded up the group and off we went to Cafe by the Ruins at 630PM foregoing our plans to rest for a while. We got there an hour before our reservation time as requested by the server. Lo and behold, no table was ready for us. To make things worst, he just told us that from the time that we put down the phone to the moment we walked into the restaurant which was approximately 10 minutes, another big group got there before we did and he decided to give them the table. We were dumbfounded. So why make a reservation in the first place?
I wanted to take the group to another restaurant but they were all so patient and nice to wait for the staff to find seats for us. We later ended up sitting on 3 different tables! What a mess!
To make things worst, I specifically requested to be seated at a non-smoking area as we have kids with us that evening. Since the server just had to squeeze us all in any available area possible, our first two tables were actually part of the smoking area. I reminded the waiter about our request and without thinking, he went straight to the customer to ask them to stop smoking at the same time pointing to me. No wonder they were giving me nasty looks all evening.
After getting our orders, luckily one long table cleared up and were were able to transfer right away. Just when we thought things would get better from that point on...it sadly didn't.
To make up for the reservation boo-boo, they gave us baskets of complimentary Kamote Bread and Cheese Spread. First thing I noticed was the burnt top layer which didn't exist during my past visits. Obviously, the breads served to us were not of top quality.
I've been trying to have as much salads as I could in this trip and since it was our last night, I ordered the La Top Organic Farm Salad (Php. 140) which is a huge platter filled with La Top cherry tomatoes, french beans, carrots, romaine lettuce, arugula and....a tiny wiggly WORM! It's a good thing that I thought of turning my leaves upside down and there I saw something that looked like a little black bean but when I poked it with my fork, it uncurled and turned into a worm. Disgusting! I immediately called the attention of our server and he quickly took my plate and utensils away. I was so disgusted, disappointed and for this rare occasion, I actually lost my appetite.
Still Paul prodded me to order something as I might end up starving at the middle of the night. I then settled for the Deborah's Dish (Php. 220) which was a very bland pasta dish cooked in a creamy mushroom sauce. Very mediocre and I think our house help could even do a better job than this.
Years ago, Paul and I had breakfast at Cafe by the Ruins and we remember enjoying our meal too. Thus, Paul specifically requested to see the breakfast menu as he would like to choose from there. Good thing, they serve their breakfast meals all day long. He then went for the Filipino Lon-si-log (Php. 245) which, according to the menu, consists of longganisang hubad, sinangag (garlic rice) and egg. He was expecting the usual longganisa (pork sausage) but was also very disappointed as what he got were tiny pork cubes that failed in taste and tenderness. He just finished his meal but had nothing but rants about it. The same goes for our friend P who was equally surprised with the outcome of his Lon-si-log.
Our dinner quickly ended and we immediately settled the bill to just leave and to proceed to buy pizza for our late night snack. It was an awful experience and I don't think any of us would return to Cafe by the Ruins after this. It's sad that a place that used to bring many wonderful memories failed us that evening. I guess it's time for Cafe by the Ruins to re-evaluate their food sanitation, quality and service before die a nasty death in the near future.
Adios Cafe by the Ruins!
Cafe by the Ruins is located at Chuntug Street, Baguio City.