Mahogany Cafe is the in-house restaurant of Hacienda Darasa. We didn’t feel like going out to eat so we decided to eat all our meals here, excluding snacks we bought earlier at Waltermart.
How to get there: Take a Tanauan-Lipa bus (we got a bus at Lucena Liner, in front of Nepa Q-Mart along EDSA). Fare is Php104/each. You may get off at Waltermart Tanauan first to buy snacks and whatnot, or opt to get down directly in front of Hacienda Darasa’s entrance gate on your left.
We arrived around 2pm. While waiting for them to prepare our room (despite the fact that we had made reservations almost a month in advance), I asked if their cafe was open for late lunch. The manager (?) said yes. I told him we’d be down for lunch after 30 minutes or so.
After resting a bit, we went down to the cafe (entrance was right beside the reception desk). The receptionist and the manager (?) were sitting behind the counter talking, and didn’t pay any attention to us as we walked past. We entered the cafe…which was empty. No signs of life. No sound. All the windows were sealed, and no fans or air-conditioners running.
Thinking perhaps the staff was in the kitchen, we shrugged and walked around a bit, taking photos. Hubby sat down on the couch and played games on his phone. After a few minutes, I went back out to reception and asked if the cafe was open. Take note, despite the heat & our hunger, naka-smile pa ako ha. So the receptionist went in looking for the staff (if I didn’t ask, was no one going to notice two guests wandering around inside their cafe?). We sat down to wait while she walked in and out yelling for the chef, for someone (?), asking for a printed copy of the menu (seriously?).
During all this time, no one bothered to turn on the air-conditioning or even a fan. If the windows had been open, it would’ve been somewhat understandable, but seriously, dead air talaga. I’d never felt so unwelcome in my life. I’ve had better treatment in shacks in the province, seriously. If we weren’t so tired, we would have just gone out to eat somewhere else, even Jollibee or McDonalds.
After a few minutes, I finally got fed up and asked (nicely) if they could please turn the air-conditioning on. Then several more minutes until they could produce a sad little menu written on a piece of paper. *sigh*
The food, when it finally came, was pretty good. A bit pricey, but the liempo & chopsuey were worth it. Viands are priced around Php180 and up. The waitress who served us was nice & efficient. She asked for our dinner order in advance (same menu) and asked us how the food was. We said it was good, despite the long wait 🙂
Because of our super-late lunch (we finished around 4pm), we asked for dinner to be served at 8pm. Then we walked abit to take photos, then went back to our room and napped. When we arrived at 8pm, the cafe was deserted, with a gloomy male staff manning the counter. Sorry naman. No music, nothing. So we talked in whispers, so as not to disturb anyone. At the next table, 3 kids were ushered in by their nanny (kids of the owners, it seemed). I know kids are loud, but in the hushed quiet their voices were EXTRA loud, while their minder/s did nothing.
All the time we were eating, we could feel they were just waiting for us to leave, despite the fact that it was early. We were so uncomfortable, we ditched the idea of having coffee. We were planning to take a walk around the property, but all the lights were off. So we just went back up to our room instead
Our complimentary breakfast the next day was also served in the cafe. While we were taking an early morning walk, we passed by the cafe and one of the staff asked us what we wanted for breakfast. We both ordered longsilog, always a safe choice hehehe. FYI, he was the only staff member who greeted us with a smile and “good morning”. Everyone else just stared at us, some of them quite rudely 😐
The same staffer served us for breakfast. I gave the 3-in-1 coffee sachet to hubby since I don’t drink coffee. The longsilog was okay; the sausages were obviously homemade, so that’s a plus 🙂
Overall, our Mahogany Cafe experience pretty much soured our entire stay at Hacienda Darasa. Perhaps they prefer serving meals for big groups, I dunno. If that’s the case, or they don’t want to turn on the air-conditioning for just 2 people, they should just say that the cafe is closed, so people can eat somewhere else. Instead of being made to feel unwelcome 😐 That was the general feeling we got during our stay–that we were unwelcome nuisances intruding on their family holiday. Really, if you don’t want to attend to guests during your “vacation”, then please just don’t accept bookings during those dates.
The grounds are pretty enough, but if you’re looking for an accessible, homey bed&breakfast experience with great food & that at-home-in-the-province-with-family ambiance, I recommend Casa San Pablo instead 🙂
Would we come back? NO.
Mahogany Cafe/Hacienda Darasa
Address: 791 Pres. Laurel Highway Darasa, Tanauan City, Batangas, Philippines
Phone: (043) 778-5960
Mobile: +63 915-2755-980