Before heading back to Manila, we decided to have a quick trip down Vigan City.
Leaving Pagudpud by twelve noon, we hopped on a bus bound for Laoag City for a connecting bus that would drop us at the World Heritage City of Vigan. We estimated that we’d be there by four in the afternoon and opted to have a late lunch there. Unfortunately, the bus we rode in had more stops on the road than I could count and we arrived at Vigan an hour later than expected. With rumbling stomachs, we went directly to Grandpa’s Inn for some of Vigan’s famed bagnet (deep fried pork).
Grandpa’s Inn is an ancestral house, located near the famed Calle Crisologo. Originally the residence of the Donato Family in 1923, it was converted to an inn in 1979. Located inside is their restaurant, Kusina Felecitas, off its side is their café, Café Uno, and across the street, their grillhouse, Uno Grille.
Since it was a regular day, the grille and restaurant was closed during our visit. We were herded instead to their café which is always open.
Café Uno’s main bar has a sitting capacity of around fifteen persons; the place is quite cramped. This, however, makes the atmosphere more intimate, perfect for heart to heart talks while sipping coffee with your friends. Additional tables were located at the inner room of the café but were also closed off at the time.
We went straight down to business and ordered their bagnet and sisig meals.
Bagnet is an Ilocano pork dish specialty. Preparing one is no easy feat; the fresh meat is sun-dried for an hour before being boiled in water. It is then deep-fried until the pork’s skin pops and then refried after twenty minutes. It is complimented by an isdang bagoong (fish paste) garnished with onions and tomato dip. You can just imagine how crispy this plate is gonna be.
It has been almost half a year since I last visited Grandpa’s Inn and I was really looking forward in having their bagnet again. Unfortunately, it was not up to par with the same one I had before. The previous one was very very crispy, the meat very tender and the pork fat was literally melting in my mouth. This time around, the dish seemed to have lost its crispiness and the meat was a bit tough.
Their sisig was pretty okay, it differs from the usual ones being served in the metro by the bagnet bits mixed with the dish.
Adding the unfriendliness of one of the café’s staff (I am confining this strictly to the café waitress that served us, the rest of the inn’s and the restaurant’s staff were very very warm and friendly), it was a rather unsatisfactory first note on our first step in Vigan.
U P D A T E 2 0 1 4
I recently revisited Vigan City and decided to try Café Uno once more despite the not so nice experience with the staff from before. Well, I know the food’s good and my companion said so too, so to heck with unsmiling waiters.
The café seemed stuck in time as the rest of Vigan City, it remained as I remembered it to be.
We were five in the group and we passed on ordering their set meals, we went instead for their bigger servings. We ordered a plate of Felicitas Fried Rice (Php115.00), warek warek (Php205.00), bagnet (Php215.00) and poqui poqui (Php115.00). Everything is rated to be good for at least three persons.
Serving time was average and service seemed much better than my last visit.
I can say nothing bad about the dishes we ordered.
The poqui poqui was one of the best I’ve tried in Vigan, the bagnet, which was served with KBL (kamatis, bagoong and lasona), was crunchy and well done. The warek warek (grilled pork, liver and intestine mixed with mayo) is very flavorful, and the rice, overflowing—one serving was actually good enough for all five of us.
Overall, it was a well-rounded dinner that everybody in the group appreciated. Our bill was pegged at Php650.00. Divided into the five of us, it amounts to only Php130.00 per person. Totally, not bad. Plus, I like the fact that the staff was much friendlier this time, which was my main beef with Café Uno before.
Café Uno at Grandpa's Inn
Address: #1 Bonifacio St. Corner Quirino Blvd.,
Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Telephone: (077) 674-0729 | (0917) 799-0121
Open Hours: 9:00am to 11:00pm
GPS Coordinates Map: 17°34'21.9"N 120°23'24.6"E