August 3, 2012

Food Tasting # 12: Patio de Tata Roque Part 2

After our food tasting with Center Table Catering, we went back to Marikina for Patio de Tata Roque’s grand food tasting. Since Patio de Tata was one of our shortlisted caterers, I asked Mox to come along to help me decided whether or not we would book them on the spot.

This was our second time to attend their grand food tasting, and just like before, Patio de Tata showcased some of their sample setups. My mom fell in love with a Japanese-themed setup, with bamboo sticks (I think) and Japanese lanterns as the centerpiece. However, she thought the upgrade fee was too expensive. Most of the setups have upgraded centerpieces, ranging from P200 to P300. One tall centerpiece even costs as much as P1,000, although I think it’s because they used orchids for the flowers, which can be very expensive. Their standard centerpiece was just the usual flowers on a steel candelabrum so you would really have to upgrade if you want to have a thematic styling for your venue.

Japanese theme
The standard centerpiece
They also had more sample setups for the couple's table and even had a setup for the Presidential's table. I particularly liked the purple couch for the couple, which my AE said is already included to the Diamond pacckage, Meanwhile, the Presidential's table looked very elegant because they use a transparent table and had glass (or was it plastic) lamps as centerpieces. They even used ghost chairs! It's as if everything was made of glass. Uber cool! :)

Couple's table
Presidential's table

I was a bit confused when I received their packages during their grand food tasting. You see, when I first inquired, the package they was called the Gold package, which costs P620 per head. The package they gave me last Sunday was called the Diamond package, which costs P550 per head for 150 guests. This was actually their old rate, so I was not really sure which was the real wedding package. My AE explained to me that while the Gold package was really their regular rate, they give out the Diamond package for couples who would book them during the grand food tastings. I’m not really sure if that’s the common practice among caterers, but I'm not complaining because I would be getting the cheaper rate, right? Haha!

During the first food tasting, I ate so much food that I couldn't distinguish one entree from another. For this food tasting, I only got a few dishes to taste, but I still couldn't remember all the entrees that I ate. There were just too many dishes to taste! I think for every course, there are four viands to choose from so it was very difficult to remember all of their names.

The general consensus of my fellow food critics (my parents and younger brother) was negative though. My brother didn't like the crab and corn soup that they served because there were too many crab bits and not enough corn in the soup. He did like the buko lychee dessert though, but he finds it slightly sour. My father, however, thought all the desserts were bland. He didn't like the leche flan because the top wasn't smooth like the usual leche flan and it tasted a bit bitter. As for my mother, she complained that the beef dishes were tough and hard to chew. She even addressed her complaint directly to Tina, the owner! Nakakahiya tuloy.

VERDICT: Honestly, I was also disappointed during that day because I didn't find their food as delicious as I'd expected them to be. I thought their food was delicious during our first food tasting, but this time I wasn't satisfied. In fact, I thought that Ma Del's food tasted better. However, because of their affordable rates and freebies, Mox and I agreed to book them that day. We were just about to sign the contract, but something happened that made us change our mind.

The freebies offered during food tasting were quite tempting: open bar for two hours, photobooth, appetizer bar, projector and 10 lanterns. All the while, we thought we would get ALL these freebies if we would book them that day, which was one of the factors that led to our decision to book them. But just as I was filling up to booking sheet, my AE asked what freebies would we choose from the list. WHAAAT?!? I thought we were getting all? The AE didn't explained to us that we would have to choose one freebie from the list; she just allowed us to make the assumption that we would get all freebies. Nakakaloka diba? When I confronted her about this, she began to look flustered so she had to call Tina for assistance. After a few negotiations, Tina allowed us to choose two freebies from the list. That was okay with us because we only wanted two freebies anyway: the open bar and the appetizer bar. So everything was all set, right?

Wrong. As I was writing our wedding date on the booking sheet, Tina suddenly stopped me and said that all packages and price locks are applicable until June 2013 only. Again, WHAAAT?!? I was really shocked when she said that. You see, when I inquired about their rates, I asked the AE who replied to my email if they are already accepting bookings for 2014, and she said YES. She even said that we would be able to lock their prices if we would book this year. So all this time, I thought I would be able to book them as early as now. Well, apparently I cannot do so.

Of course, Tina assured us that even though they would have a price increase this year, it would only be minimal. Plus, they will offer better freebies next year if we would book them. However, I suddenly lost interest in them because of what had happened. Ang gulo nilang kausap eh. If we are already having a hard time communicating with one another during the negotiation period, then what more if we would get them as our caterer? I don't want to risk having unwanted stress during our wedding day, even if it means saving thousands of pesos. And because of all those miscommunication issues, Patio de Tata is officially off our list.

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