Into the Bandwagon : The IHOP Philippines Experience

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IHOP’s facade in Bonifacio Global City. It’s a few blocks away from the stores and restaurants of Serendra and Bonifacio High Street.

I am not one to jump quickly over something just because it’s new, but when you’ve got a fun group in tow who shares the same strong connection with food, waking up early to check out a new restaurant turns into an exciting journey, a mission to find something that may or may not even be worth it.  For those who are hopelessly in-love with food, this treasure is something edible. Gold is round, flat, served in a platter and dappled with syrup. Sparkling diamonds are your shiny eyes, when satisfaction from devouring a good meal has set in.

Fearful of the long lines since iHop opened its first branch in the Philippines last February 15, 2013,  me and my energetic dining buddies arrived a few minutes before 6:00 AM, it’s opening hour. It turned out we were still late iHop time, as there were  already several people  ahead of us.  We barely came close to the front door. In fact, we were the third batch in. Fortunately, we only waited for less than 20 minutes.

A waitress led us to a table at the second floor. I looked around eagerly. The ceiling was high, the interiors look cozy and in various shades of brown, like the color of wood. Everything looked and smelled new.  As we are in the posh area of Bonifacio Global City (BGC), the vibe was a far cry from the very casual IHOP I saw on Hangover 2. Well, I shouldn’t be too critical. IHOP is popular as a diner in the US, where you can  come in with disheveled hair and holes on your favorite house clothes, but over here in happy, humid Philippines, it’s marketed as a restaurant and the whiff  of pancakes is accompanied with the aura of the rich and famous clad in their casual outfits.  To be honest, I don’t really care who I mingle with as long as food is great, aptly priced and served quickly with a genuine smile.  😛

Check out the IHOP scene here from HangOver 2:

Hunger escalating, we went over the menu with critical looks. There are the usual American breakfast favorites such as pancakes, waffles, omelettes, bacon and sausages. Then there’s a portion for regular meals – burgers, chicken and steaks. (Menu here).  The selection for pancakes, waffles and omelettes is massive, it took us about 10 minutes before we finally decided what to get.

Seats at the Ground floor near the entrace
Seats at the Ground floor near the entrace

In my quest to eat more healthily, my eyes zeroed in on  Simple and Fit Whole Wheat Waffle with Blueberries Combo (served with two strips of turkey bacon). Unfortunately, wheat waffles were not available at that time.  Ugh. I settled for the next best thing – omelettes! While trying to convince myself to get one that came with chicken, the waiter  looked into my eyes and suggested, “Bacon Temptation, it’s our best seller.”.

He seriously got me salivating at the mention of bacon, no other description had to accompany that. I looked back at him and smiled with my gums fully-exposed.  He knows my needs!

As a last minute decision, the coffee addict in me was unable to resist ordering the Never Empty pot, a refillable pot of freshly brewed coffee. I find the price too hefty to pay when Mc Donald’s large brewed coffee is only at 35 Pesos and it’s powerful enough to perk me up the entire day.

The waiting time for our orders to reach our table was sufficient enough for us to chat a bit and not wonder where the heck it went. Though my memory has failed  to remember how long it took, my estimate is that our food came within 10-15 minutes.

Bacon Temptation
Bacon Temptation

Bacon Temptation omelette comes with two pieces of buttermilk pancakes. You may also substitute it for other flavors or add hash brown for additional 75 Pesos. With my enthusiasm over bacon,  I consumed the omelette first.  I groaned.  Encroached with strips of crispy bacon, diced tomatoes – which I am currently addicted to, a creamy cheese sauce, Jack and cheddar cheeses, I couldn’t help the lewd sounds. My head tilted upwards. My toes are about to curl. It’s pure pleasure to the tongue.  Its flavors – slightly salty and very creamy digs into my senses.Stimulated in a rather obscene way, that’s exactly how I felt.  Food does that to me.

The pancakes that accompanied my lovable omelettes were negligible. With minimal pressure from my hands as my fork dug into a pancake, it crumbled easily. Bits of it scattered like loose pebbles on my plate. It looked messy. I didn’t like it. The only cheerful thing about it was the butter pecan syrup which was sweet and nutty.

Top : Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes (255 Pesos)Bottom (L-R) : Double Blueberry Pancakes (275 Pesos) & Original Buttermilk Pancakes (comes with an order Bacon Temptation, 285 Pesos)
Top : Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes (255 Pesos)
Bottom (L-R) : Double Blueberry Pancakes (275 Pesos) & Original Buttermilk Pancakes (comes with an order Bacon Temptation, 285 Pesos)

My friends got the Double Blueberry Pancakes and Chocolate Chip Pancakes – which are incidentally, two of my favorite flavors. Unfortunately, neither of the two provided any reason for me to miss them.  As with the buttermilk pancakes, my issue was the same, though it was fluffy,  it crumbles so easily and all that tiny holes  as seen in the photos are unattractive.  The flavors of milk, butter and eggs were present but I failed to catch anything extraordinary.

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Quick Two-Egg Breakfast. The sausages can be substituted with 2 pcs. of bacon (295 Pesos)

Ordered by another friend, the Quick Two-Eggs with its two small sausages  didn’t capture my attention. The sausages are as big as an regular Purefoods hotdog, around 5 inches.

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Never Empty Coffee Pot (you may opt for decaf, 125 Pesos/person)

Ordering the Never Empty Coffee Pot was a great decision. The food I consumed began settling in. My stomach’s inching outwards and I was beginning to feel lethargic. The pancakes felt very heavy. I wasn’t able to finish it all off.  The coffee is strong, aromatic, just the way I like it. If only we didn’t have to go back to the office, I would have stayed a few hours more and enjoy it in a slow, blissful manner.

By the time we paid our bill, more people had streamed in.  There was lively chatting everywhere. There were even more people at the waiting area and several more outside its doors.

With the few items I tried from IHOP’s menu, it’s still premature for me to judge that it’s just a hype. The service we experienced was congenial and efficient. The food, the omelette and coffee though a bit pricey for my pockets were just right, given its location. However, I still missed a lot of items on the menu. Will I go back? Perhaps, as long as I don’t have to wait in line. My suggestion is to wait a couple of months when the craze has diffused. There are a lot of nice cafes and restaurants around.  I had just recently explored food scene  in Kapitolyo, Pasig City and the experience was amazing!

IHOP Philippines
W Global Center, 30th Street cor 9th Avenue, BGC, Taguig
Business Hours : Mon – Sun: 06:00 – 00:00
FB Page : IHOP Philippines
Twitter : @ihop_ph

How to get to IHOP BGC:
IHOP is a few blocks away from Bonifacio High Street (BHS). It’s walking distance from the Mexican Restaurant in BHS, Agave.
Commuting or taking a car to BGC? Directions here or you can just download Waze on your phone to guide you with driving directions. Some friends of mine worship it.  😛

 

 

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Jovial Wanderer

Christine Fernandez loves to eat as much as she loves hiking mountains. Read more about her adventures at www.jovialwanderer.com

One thought on “Into the Bandwagon : The IHOP Philippines Experience”

  1. IHOP was the first US diner I’ve tried when I arrived in NJ. Basta mas masasabi ko mas masarap pa rin sa Pancake House. 🙂

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