Wednesday, April 18, 2018

DINING: Surf Shack (San Juan, La Union): Where almost nothing is available

halfwhiteboy - surf shack, san juan, la union 01
Disappointing experience at Surf Shack.

I don't know if San Juan, La Union is just taking the laid-back vibe very, very seriously but here I am again with another disappointing restaurant. After a not-so-pleasant time at Flotsam & Jetsam's restaurant, we were met with a similar--if not worse--experience at Surf Shack.

We went out for a very late lunch only to find out that Tagpuan, a popular San Juan resto for the budget-conscious, was closed. In fact they were always closed every time we checked them out. So we ended up at another well-known establishment in the area, Surf Shack.

halfwhiteboy - surf shack, san juan, la union 02
Very chill and informal vibe here at Surf Shack.

Design and ambiance
Surf Shack looked like a makeshift restaurant, like they just thought of setting up a couple of tables in the garage of some house and sell food and drinks. No problem there really because it is what it is and it defines the resto's atmosphere.

There are a lot of cool touches like mismatched tables and chairs, a signage collection of "Welcome" in different languages, metal barrels converted to tables (and decorated with bottle caps), and a tree trunk wrapped in crochet.

halfwhiteboy - surf shack, san juan, la union 03
Barrels for tables.

halfwhiteboy - surf shack, san juan, la union 04
Yes, don't throw them away. Use them bottle caps as decor.

halfwhiteboy - surf shack, san juan, la union 05
Crochet covering a tree trunk and "Welcome" in different languages.

Food and service
Surf Shack has a very thick menu but almost everything we ordered wasn't available. Seriously. They had no rice, no bread for sandwiches, no nachos, no this and that--until we stumbled upon pizza. But even then, not every variant was available.

If Flotsam & Jetsam's service isn't the most efficient, Surf Shack will definitely challenge them for the "distinction" of being the lousiest because after about 45 minutes of waiting--ice in our sodas all melted--we were told that "nasira ang pizza at gagawa na lang ng bago" (the pizza was ruined--I don't know how--and they were going to make a new one).

Trying to maintain a cool head, I asked if it's going to take another 45 minutes. Although the waitress said no, it still took them a good 30 minutes or so--this after several follow-ups, I have to stress.

halfwhiteboy - surf shack, san juan, la union 07
Fairly okay pizza with a sorry-looking egg in the middle.

It was some Ilocos longganisa sausage pizza that we ordered. When it finally came I was disappointed with how the egg in the middle looked. I assume it should have been a freshly cracked egg laid over and that was supposed to cook as the pizza cooked. Instead, it was a sorry-looking fried egg casually placed on top.

To be fair the taste was okay, primarily because of the longganisa halves atop each slice. I guess the extremely lousy service marred my appreciation but I still couldn't fathom how this thing took more than an hour when there was nobody else around ordering food.

In hindsight
Forget Surf Shack. Unless you're just having drinks perhaps.

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