Sunday, November 25, 2012

XO46 Bistro Filipino

It's not just a restaurant, it's a delightful serving of the dying Filipino dining experience.
I wasn't able to take a lot of photos. It means that I enjoyed myself immensely. Ok, it's actually not 100% Filipino... it's the Ilustrado dining experience (if you don't know what that means, go find your first History teacher and ask for a refund).

What I loved about the place...

1. Ambiance

This blog (  captured it best. Native craftsmanship on display. I only got this centerpiece.

2. Bugtungan

"Bugtong" means "riddle." In the olden days, bugtungan is a colorful thread in any social (happy or sad) event fabric. Just like balagtasan (ok, Google that, I don't have time to explain). In XO, they served appetizers (puto!) with bugtong. It's a scary reminder of your Filipino classes... scary because most of us have already forgotten the answers to the simplest bugtong.

3. Waiters speak traditional Tagalog!

The waiters and waitresses are in Filipiniana garb. They don't call the guests "ma'am/sir" --- theirs is "senyorita/senyorito." Z and I imagined freaking them out by making this request: "magaling, handa na ang hapunan, tawagin mo na ang senyorito mo at kakain na tayo!"

When we asked for the waiter's help in taking group photos, he said this before the click: "isa, dalawa, tatlo, ngiti po!"

4. Food

I'm a big fan of Filipino food. I don't want to dabble on other cuisines until I'm able to cook papaitan, kare-kare, lomi and all possible variations of pansit. 

XO carries a creative menu of Filipino delicacies. Enough said, just try them please. I specifically fell in love with the brownie-ganache-champorado fusion. Remember tsokolate eh and tsokolate ah of Dona Victorina (Noli Me Tangere)? They playfully call this bite-size delights "Champorado Eh." Cashew nuts and cacao powder on top made me feel something I haven't overwhelmingly felt in years: I'm proud to be Filipino!

5. Baybayin on demand

Baybayin, before gay speak started using it as a derogatory term for bisexuals (don't judge me, I just got that from the gay community), is a pre-historic writing system. In XO, you can request for words, phrases, etc. to be written in "baybayin." On the night we went to XO, we were with a guest from the US and our managers had his name "written" in baybayin. If I were dating, I would be thrilled to have the exclusive dating  (or marriage) proposal presented to me in baybayin. Teehee...Too late for that now.

Price notes? I didn't pay. But according to the managers who did, for the ambiance, experience and location, it's fairly reasonable. I don't know if this is updated - menu is here.

Price notes for me? Even if this were expensive, I'd save up for it... Because...

Fact. Any intimate encounter with the Filipino culture, sad to say, is becoming more and more expensive because it's close to extinction. I sincerely wish that restaurants like XO Bistro will still be around when our little girl is old enough to ask questions and remember details. I doubt that she'll be able to answer the riddles though. Schools don't pay too much attention to bugtungan these days. :(

Last stop... our special guest conquered Balut... coolest (Filipino Bullying Mafia) victim. We miss him!

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