When almost all the cities in the Philippines have been modernized, Intramuros makes you feel cultured and gives you a pride of history. The cobble stones, old churches and the humungous walls make you feel like living in the Hispanic Era. But as we lack the “Maria Claras” and the Crisostomo Ibarra’s of this generation, Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant in Intramuros continues to preserve our history and relive what we only see now in books – the Kultura Filipina.
Entering Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant is like traveling back in time. The set-up is rustic, the decors are old-fashioned and the grand staircase seems to take to you a time warp of sorts. And even if they just opened in 1996, they are doing their part in preserving our history and promoting our heritage, not just for the tourists, but for the communities as well.
Their Main Dining Area can accommodate up to 120 guests daily. Should you want an intimate gathering with your family and friends, Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant should be one place in mind for they do not just have that homey feel, but also a wide array of dishes that makes you proud to be Filipino.
Ms. Lorna, Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant Manager, told us that they serve a different menu every day. They also try to be as regional as possible, serving different delicacies that the guests would definitely love.
For the appetizer, I tried the Green Mango Salad, which you can personalize according to your liking. I love mangoes, and shrimp sauce, so this dish makes me feel like having an outing with my family at the beach.
Included in the buffet are Lumpiang Sariwa, Inihaw na Chicken Wings, Pork Adobo, Laing Espesyal, Pansit Malabon, Paela, and Caldereta. Among the dishes served, I was pleased by the taste of Laing Espesyal and Paella. You see, I never really enjoyed eating laing because I was never a fan of gata (coconut milk) and for me to actually eat it without rice is an achievement for me. I especially loved how tasty it is without the “suya” factor. On the other hand, the Paella is so flavourful and the taste is close to home. I remember my aunts from Iloilo making delicious paella because seafood is a staple there. The Beef Caldereta also stood out on their menu that night. The sauce complimented its very tender meat. I think I had a plateful of these.
For dessert, they have Canonigo with Fresh Fruit, Guinataan Halo-Halo, Buko Pandan and Turonitos. Among these, the Canonigo became my instant favorite because its sweetness is just right, and was balanced by the fresh fruits and the milk. And of course, I had to taste the Guinataan Halo-Halo because bilo-bilo (glutinous rice ball) is so soft and tasty.
Overall, I enjoyed the menu with so much gusto. Then and there, I texted my boyfriend and food buddy that we should go back so he could experience my magnificent visit at Barbara’s. The buffet is served during lunch (with Strings Entertainment) at Php495 and dinner (with Cultural Show) at Php645. They are open daily and best to reserve early because they are mostly packed with tourists everyday. They also serve ala carte dishes with Asian and Filipino specialties.
During our dinner buffet, the Abesar Rondalla played us awesome music, with a mix of old and new hits. It was relaxing to just listen with their music and making conversations with friends. After the music, the Folklorico Dancers made way for the stage. They performed different Filipino Dances like Pandanggo sa Ilaw, Sayaw sa Banko, and our national dance, the Tinikling. If you want to try out dancing with them, they would also teach you and let you perform on stage. That night, even the Koreans tried to strut their Tinikling skills for everyone to see. It’s pleasing to see that even other nationalities want to indulge to our traditions.
Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant makes us go back to our Pinoy roots and if the foreigners would want to embrace our history, then the more we should be proud of it. So let us nourish our traditions – may it be about the food, the places or even the culture. To know more about Barbara’s, you may visit their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/BarbarasHeritageRestaurant
Article by Ria Hazel