I logged on knowing that I hadn’t written anything on the blog for a considerable amount of time. I didn’t really realise that the last blog entry I’d written was the day before Easter. My how time flies, even when one isn’t having fun. I’ve been battling a throat infection and a bad bout of flu for the past few weeks.
A few days ago I was in Notting Hill, mostly to find a Filipino restaurant that I’d been looking forward to trying. I think I’m not alone in saying that if it was a Filipino restaurant, run by Filipinos, Filipinos would flock to it because Filipinos would, if they could. I had eaten in another Filipino restaurant in London, in Charlotte Street, called Josephine’s. The decor was a little dated but I didn’t mind it because the service, and of course the food, was wonderful. Despite the fact that there were other customers, I felt well-looked after, not ignored.
That wasn’t the case in this other restaurant. I know I definitely looked Filipino and made the point of mentioning that I was Filipino and read about the restaurant which was why I wanted to try it but I got an indifferent response. Colder than lukewarm. Most Filipinos would ask where you lived, how long you lived there and what you did for work. This wouldn’t really be intrusive, it’s just the way Filipinos connect. There are about 300,000 Filipinos spread all over the UK, a mere drop in the ocean compared the general population. My experience, so far, has always been Filipinos wanting to connect with each other. But funnily enough, the warm and effusive welcome for a fellow Filipino that I was hoping for was not what I got. There was no effort to connect, there was no effort to engage.
The food was okay but the ordering wasn’t explained (the menus were on clipboards on the wall and you took one to the table then ordered at a make-shift looking counter), I had to ask. The options weren’t explained but after I asked if I could have water instead, I was told they could serve me water. I just felt like they weren’t interested in the business that I brought in. And I was massively, massively disappointed.
There was another person in the restaurant, a person who, from the conversation I could overhear was a friend. The person at the counter talked to this friend more than he talked to me. I think most restaurants, in this day and age, would fight tooth and nail for punters. I didn’t feel important to this establishment. I felt like I was an interruption to their conversation. I felt completely unwelcome.
Even now when I think about it, I feel like crying. The entire experience was that awful. I know I only paid £10 in total for my food. But I would’ve rather not gone now. I hope they treat other paying customers differently. More importantly, if they’re going use a Filipino word for their restaurant name, I pray that they treat fellow Filipinos better because the Pinoys that come to them want to come in and feel like they’re in a Filipino oasis in the hustle and bustle of London.
Service is as service done, but this was badly done. Very badly done. I’m certainly not going back to this Filipino restaurant.