Cafe Apolonio sa Bahay na Bato | Dine and Turn Back Time

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Last December, my travel blogger friends and I spent a weekend in Bustos, a second-class municipality in the province of Bulacan. On our way back to Manila, we decided to check out Cafe Apolonio sa Bahay na Bato for lunch. Karl of Turista Trails said it was one the most famous ancestral houses in Bustos, which has been converted into a restaurant. Bahay na Bato sounded good plus I love everything about history, so I said we should definitely check it out.
You'll find wooden signages everywhere in Cafe Apolonio.
When I entered their front door, I felt like I stepped into a completely different world. I found myself in an old colonial house with antique furnitures and photographs, old china and silverware, intricately carved concrete columns of the house, windows with old capiz and stained glass, and the stone Arco - the main structural attraction of Cafe Apolonio. Clearly, the restaurant boasts a nostalgic, rustic-style, and antique memorabilia that reflects the roots of the family. It is rumored that Jose Rizal stopped over in this house en route to San Rafael and Malolos.
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According to the cafe's Facebook account, Cafe Apolonio is named in honor of the late Apolonio Perez, grandfather of the fourth generation of the Perez Clan. It was conceptualized with the idea of opening a Kapihan sa Bahay na Bato with an ancestral ambiance and serving its guests with old Filipino and Spanish cuisine. 
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I was quite excited to see the menu when we settled into our table inside the Arco. However, I was quite shocked when I saw it. I was expecting to see traditional Filipino and Spanish Cuisine but instead I found Pasta, Burgers, Potato Fries, Waffle, Hungarian Sausage, among others. I was quite confused because the restaurant’s theme is old Spanish-Filipino but the food it serves is very international. 
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So, our group decided to try two dishes - Sinigang na Baboy and Bicol Express. We were served a big bowl of Singing na Baboy. This dish was okay. It has watery soup, which was a disappointment for me. I guess I was so used to the thick soup I always had at home. Bicol Express, on the other hand, was really good.  It was a little spicy (I would say a little because I have high tolerance to spicy food) and a little sweet. It has creamy consistency with many bits of pork, green beans and red chili. You will definitely eat a lot of rice with the Bicol Express. It was super delicious!
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What can I say? 
With just two dishes to try that weekend, I think it’s too early for me to say if Cafe Apolonio’s dishes are a must-try. While we were touring Bustos, however, I realised why they probably serve international cuisine. I think it was because they want to offer their local customers the comfort of Filipino-Spanish dishes while at the same time, the opportunity to diversify and try something new. Since there aren’t many restaurants to choose from in the small municipality of Bustos, Cafe Apolonio provides many options to its customer while they incorporate their own unique identity in to their cuisine. This concept is basically being customer-centric. I will definitely go back to the restaurant and sample the other Filipino-Spanish fare. 

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Useful Info
Cafe Apolonio sa Bahay na Bato
Address: #194 Bonga Menor, Bustos, Bulacan, Philippines
Contact Number: (044) 816-7530
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CafeApolonioRestaurant/
Hours of Operation: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Have you tried the dishes at Cafe Apolonio in Bustos? Do you have any restaurant suggestion? Let's chat down below!
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