My family and I are frequenters of the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell, Makati, not because of any vain reason, but because it is the nearest mall to our place. It takes us less than 10 minutes to get there on a Sunday and probably 20 minutes on an ordinary traffic day. When the bridge from our street which connects Mandaluyong directly to Rockwell (yes, directly from the street where we live!) is completed, then it would probably take us just about 5 minutes to get there. Neat, huh?

We go to church there every Sunday, straight to the supermarket for our weekly supplies. Naturally, we try different restaurants whenever we could.

One restaurant that we really like(d) is C2 Classic Cuisine. I like its quaintness and the homey feeling that comes with it. I like the design and the utensils used, even the condiments holder. I like the fact that the kitchen is just separated by a glass whereby customers can see what the chefs are doing. For me, that promotes transparency. So whenever there is nowhere else to eat, we go for C2.

My co-lawyers and I usually choose this whenever we have lunch-outs (this is after we got tired of Via Mare in Landmark). One of the main reasons why we go there is the price. For some, it may be a bit pricey, but if you learn to order just the right dish for you, then the price will be alright. This I have learned after several times of eating there. We have especially liked Crispy Kare-kare, Dory Escabeche, Ginataang Puso ng Saging (which is extra spicy! yum!), Sisig Express and their oh-so-yummy Bibingka Souffle. During peak hours, you have to wait to be seated because the customers pile in like crazy, even on weekdays.

The creamy and yummy Bibingka Souffle. Ask the Waiter to serve "for later". Watch out though, because the inside is sometimes scorching hot. May burn your tongues!

So last December 26, 2009, after arriving from Pampanga (and opening Ira’s gifts), we went straight to Rockwell to meet BIL Patrick and some. Hubby and I decided to eat at C2 since for us, we have time tested it.

I was surprised to see that they had a new menu. The fonts were embossed (does that matter?) and some dishes have been scrapped away and there were new items too. But what struck me the most is the change in price. I instantly told hubby about it and our eyebrows raised involuntarily. We went ahead with the ordering, and after some discussions, we chose Ensaladang Mangga, Crispy Ribs Sinigang, Pork and Chicken Barbeque and Sisig Express. I wanted some veggie dish but reluctantly stopped with the ordering.

Crispy Ribs Sinigang. The soup is served separately. But not much different with the ordinary sinigang. I prefer the Crispy Kare-Kare.

When asked for the drinks, hubby suggested Calamansi juice coz I prefer this often and because my colds just started during that time. However, I saw that they have Moringa Tea. Being a breastfeeding mom, I knew that this had malunggay as its main ingredient. I was interested and I asked about how it tastes — the waiter offered to give me a free taste. After checking with the kitchen, he said they do not have moringa anymore. ^Sigh. Too bad for Ira.

So I was back to the calamansi again. The waiter asked if I want it hot or cold. I looked at the price and was surprised to see that hot calamansi was only Php45.00! Hubby asked how much the cold one is, and the waiter replied, “pareho lang po ng hot” .

All of us, except for one, ordered the said juice.

When our food arrived, we munched away. I liked the juice, and compared it to other restaurant’s. I found it okay and noticed that the food serving have been considerably reduced. Anyhoo, we tried to enjoy whatever food we had.

When hubby asked for the bill, he instantly gave me a nudge to show me how much the bill was. For three dishes and one appetizer, we had more than Php2000 for the bill! Goodness gracious! We did not even order anything beyond Php500, I whispered.  I then thoroughly inspected the bill. I saw that for the juice alone, the charge was almost Php600! I checked and saw that they charged Php135 for each friggin’ calamansi juice.

Of course I called the attention of the person who handed the bill to us. I told her that we were told that the juice was just 45 pesos. And that I will not pay for 135pesos for one calamansi juice. She said its for 135 because it falls under “fresh fruit juice”. Oh yeah? I asked. Why didn’t the waiter tell me then? Had we been told that the calamansi juice  was 135, we would not have ordered it. We would have ordered fruits which are more costly for that matter.

The lawyer in me insisted that I will not pay 135 for each juice. I will only pay 45 and that’s it. No further statements. The lady then called the manager (who was young to be one). He talked to me and I said my piece. My last statement was “I will not pay 135 for each juice, wherever this matter may bring us. Period” So the discreetly arrogant Manager went away. The revised bill was returned to us, showing that we ordered Hot Calamansi instead and we were charged Php45 for each juice. I think about 1/4 of our bill was slashed.

I was kinda bothered if I acted just right or if I went beyond the borders. But I knew that I was just acting within my rights’ limits as a mom, as a person and as a lawyer. I just asserted what was rightful. Maybe the waiter who took our orders was admonished, but I know that a calamansi juice, however pricey it may be in the market, will not cost Php135. The cold and hot one do not have much difference other than the temperature, so why will the price be so considerably different from one another? In some restaurants, the price of a cold calamansi ranges from Php60-80. It is usually the cheapest fruit juice.

Maybe C2 needs to rethink this area of their business. When I even told the Manager about the changes in the Menu, he snootily told me that the price of their supplies went up. Well Mr. Manager, you could have said it nicely since you caused us inconvenience and stress with that juice thingy! I did not even get an apology from you! Hmp! And the next time we get confused with where to eat, your restaurant is scrapped from my list. I have had enough of you and your discreet arrogance.

(Note: I even googled if calamansi was indeed a fruit. Turned out yes. Hehehe. ;))