Some days ago, days ago, I posed this question to friends: “Would you go back to eat in a restaurant that serves really good food at reasonable prices and in a convenient location even after you’ve learned that it is owned by a notorious. very-much-in-the-news husband of someone who has abused her position and the trust of a country?

We had heard of a new restaurant that had opened on Perea Street in Legaspi Village, Makati, and wanted to give it a try. Even despite knowing in what building the restaurant was located in, it did not occur to me that the restaurant was linked to the owner of the building. Hmmm…

Generally, the food was very good. And the prices were not too bad. I “googled” the restaurant and could not find a satisfactory review of the place, but I did come across a forum where someone, who goes by the moniker “Dakilang Cook”, posted the menu and claimed that the servings were good enough for two people of average appetite. I thought my appetite was pretty average enough but my eating capacity not as large, yet I found the servings to be right for just one person. However, the Caramelized Onion Tarts we started with were baked perfectly and the Pan Roasted Chicken Au Jus was insanely delicious! The chicken was scrumptiously juicy and tender and tasty! The Shrimp Vodka Linguine with a creamy Fresh Tomato Sauce was superb (I could have polished off one whole order!). We also tried the Summer Vegetables and Casareccia Pasta … (from the word casereccio which means “homemade”, it is slightly tubular S-shaped pasta cut about an inch long, sort-of like a longish macaroni) … but there was no casarecce pasta available and we had to opt for linguine pasta instead. It would have been a deliciously light, refreshing dish, except that the cook was a little heavy-handed on the olive oil. Then there was the US Choice Bistro Steak, with a siding of Creamy Mashed Potatoes. Bistro Steak is also known as Hanger Steak, very tender cut of meat taken from the cow’s diaphragm and which I’m always on the look-out for because it’s hard to go wrong cooking with this flavorful cut. It is usually  pan-roasted and traditionally served with a warm shallot sauce. My problem with the dish was the supposedly “creamy” mashed potatoes. They were overworked and turned out unfluffy to the point of an unappetizingly starchy and gummy texture.

I asked the waitress who their Chef was and she merely pointed at the crew behind the counter. So I inquired as to who the owner of restaurant was. She paused and  glanced, slightly nervously, towards one corner of the restaurant. I followed her eyes and saw the person — a man very much in the local news whose wife had held the highest position in the country and may shortly be arrested for a multitude of crimes and offenses she has “allegedly” participated in. She replied “Umm, Attorney Arroyo.” I was still stupid from the good food and pressed on, asking “Which Attorney Arroyo?” And it was then my brain kicked in and I dropped the conversation.

A lively debate about politics and the ethics of eating then ensued. Would you patronize a restaurant that served shark’s fin or turn a blind eye to the killing of bears, rhinos and tigers for their body parts? One friend said eating here again is the equivalent of endorsing the clubbing of seals. My other friend pouted. “But it’s conveniently near my flat! And the food’s good!” I’m not sure about the clubbing of seals analogy but I did contemplate throwing up the delicious shrimp vodka linguine on the floor or maybe throwing the naranja cheesecake at him. I also asked myself if I should just keep on eating and simply not come back again? Is a post on the restaurant automatically an endorsement of the man and a judgement on one’s personal ethics? Or are they be treated as two different things? I leave that up to you, dear eater.

Let me just end with a quote from Albert Einstein: “An empty stomach is not a good political advisor.