TORN Spy Visits ‘Hobbit House’ in Manila
Lisa sends in this report on her evening at the Hobbit House in Manila: I first heard about the Hobbit House when TORN did an article on it last year. I knew at that point that I would be in Manila the following year, so I made a mental note to visit it while I was here. I have now been in Manila for 4 weeks and my Mum and I managed to pay the promised visit this evening.
We arrived outside the restaurant bar, and immediately were greeted by all things Tolkien. Cardboard cut outs of Andy Serkis’ Gollum and Ian McKellen’s Gandalf along with a cartoon Bilbo, stood guard over a decidedly Hobbitish round door. On the right, a large poster of the Fellowship dominated the Shire looking wall.
We opened the door and were greeted by a cheery ‘big folk’ – it was just like stepping into the Green Dragon, or the Prancing Pony. There was live music, candlelight, and a lovely atmosphere. It was quite empty, which was a shame, but it was a Monday night so we wouldn’t have expected it to be very busy! Beautiful drawings of the Fellowship throughout their journey covered the walls, with swords and daggers mounted on wood at regular intervals. From the branch covered ceiling hung lanterns which gave just enough light to see by, and on the right there was a bar behind which there were some big folk serving up over 100 brands of beer. Unfortunately neither Mum or I are beer drinkers, so we were unable to try any of them!
Our waitress (hobbit sized of course) introduced herself to us, and showed us to some seats. On the table was a candle and proper cloth serviettes, as well as all the condiments you could need and an ash tray. She also brought us over a bowl of popcorn to eat while we chose what food we wanted. We were given massive menus of which the cover of was a beautiful drawing combined with pictures of all the staff of The Hobbit House. The first half of the menu was devoted to the many types of beer and alcoholic drinks that were on offer, but not being a person who likes alcohol, I skipped over them to get to the food section. There was a wide range of choice, under headings such as:
Fish ‘from the Forbidden Pool’
Chicken ‘from Helm’s Deep’
Filipino Dishes ‘finest dishes in the side of Middle Earth’
Mexican Foods ‘fiery flavours for the big folks’
Pastas ‘most appetising sauces in Hobbiton and beyond’
Home-made pizzas ‘from old gaffer’s garden’
Sausages ‘meatiest meats in the world of men’
Salads ‘as refreshing as the leaves of Lothlorien’
Appetizers ‘freshly picked from Farmer Maggot’s fields’
Sizzling Plates ‘from the fires of Mount Doom’
Soup ‘as scrumptious as the waters of Fangorn forest’
Sandwiches ‘from the Golden Hall’
and finally Side Orders ‘the tastiest ones in all of the shire’
What was nice was the presence of a lot more Vegetarian dishes than is usual in The Philippines!
Our waitress, Manette, recommended the ‘Nachos and Dip’ as our appetiser, and then I chose the Devilled Sausages (with Mashed Potato, Mixed Vegetables, Salad and Homemade bread) while Mum had Salmon Fillet with Mashed Potato, Vegetables, Soup, Roll and Salad. The soup and roll (which was included in the price of the Salmon) came as a starter.
If the waiters were hobbit sized, the portions they gave were certainly not! My nachos and dip was large enough to be a meal on its own, and was certainly worth the 250 pesos we paid for it. It was very nice, if slightly too spicy for my liking. Mum’s Mushroom Soup was also delicious. When my meal came, they had substituted the mashed potato for spaghetti, and the homemade bread was more like a very dense sponge. However overall it was lovely, and Mum’s salmon was delicious and beautifully cooked. The service was very prompt and quick, but that may have been because we were the only ones in the restaurant bar ordering food!
Throughout the meal there was live entertainment; first a country acoustic guitarist and singer, and then a duo, also playing country music, with an electric guitar and a shaker. There was a lovely friendly atmosphere, and you really did feel like you had stepped into a little Tolkien haven.
I would definitely recommend the Hobbit House to anyone who asked, and I am already planning to go back there next time I am in Manila. The whole meal including our many drinks came to just over 1300 pesos, so it was very cheap considering you are paying a little bit just for the experience of going to such a place! There were also t-shirts on offer, and at only 450 pesos each, we both bought one.