this time in cebu. actually the wedding was last saturday and we just got back to manila last night. it's been nine months since our last visit to cebu, and this time around, we made some foodie discoveries, with something to appeal to everyone, whether you prefer luxe resort fine-dining or don't mind sharing space with flies and car exhaust.
1. first is a place that has slowly been gaining a lot of press—abacá boutique resort + restaurant. well, the nine rooms that comprise the boutique-resort part is still being built, and will open in august. the restaurant, however, is open for business, and gets its share of tourists (both foreign and filipino), as well as locals, which is surprising because cebuanos keep insisting they're kuripot! and to eat at abacá, you better make sure your credit-card bills are paid up (or bring lotsa cash). we went for dinner, and upon entering the gated property and walking down the pathway surrounded by a lush garden, it felt like we were at a four seasons resort, albeit a mini one. the resto is "naturally air-conditioned" so dress for heat. dress code is casual, but we advise you to be "fashionably creative" with your shorts and tsinelas, just the same. here's what we ordered (plus the damage):
four salads—a tasting of four abaca salads (serves 2-3 persons, P905). we would have been happy with just this really. and at that price!!!
sautéed salmon/yoghurt tahini/grilled tomato/coriander pesto (P835). fish was tender, not dry, very tasty, everything light and fresh, perfect for a sultry evening
wood fired prawns/saffron potato "risotto"/grilled asparagus (P825). three huge prawns that left us satisfied, and that "risotto" was quite interesting
all washed down with a bottle of rock chardonnay from australia (P1,050). a nice, light, dry white wine, perfect for our orders
so you do the math! definitely a special-occasion destination, quite romantic, quiet and pleasant. abacá boutique resort + restaurant, punta engano rd., mactan island, lapu-lapu city, cebu, tel (32) 495-8456, abacaresort.com (visit the website for better pix!)
2. if you're on a budget and just want food that's cheap but satisfying, head to kaoná grill—the garden dining experience. this used to be located at an empty lot across ayala center cebu, but we guess ayala wanted their land back, so they moved to another location. don't know if it's better, though, since this is also "naturally air-conditioned" but instead of being next to a beach, it's next to a busy street. it's nice at night when they light up the garden and have an acoustic band play three nights a week. here's the menu to whet your appetite. and check out those prices! man, for what we spent at abacá, we could've ordered everything on the menu here!
and looky they've been featured in the asian wall street journal! and you know you can trust those guys... (click to enlarge and read) kanoá grill, A.S. fortuna corner H. cortes streets, mandaue city, cebu, tel (32) 343-9994 to 95
3. finally there's abaseria deli & café, which is a little out of the way, but worth it if you enjoy out-of-the-way places. it's located in the old residential area of cebu and it started out as a house selling stuff and just kept growing.
the deli sells local delicacies like piyaya and suman, even mangoes, as well as more exotic stuff like this spicy vinegar that you can't take back to manila because if they spot it in your luggage at the airport, you will be asked to remove it (apparently, vinegar is not allowed on planes because it is a corrosive material! duh!), and that nasty civet coffee (made from beans swallowed by civet cats, which they poop whole, then are collected, washed, and made into coffee—800 bucks for a gerber-sized jar!). the place reminds us a bit of café juanita in pasig city, albeit a smaller, less crowded version, because almost everything on display is for sale. aside from food, there are accessories, homeware, books, and local handicrafts.
abaseria deli & café, 39-B pres. roxas corner cong. noel streets, villa aurora, kasambagan, cebu city, tel (32) 234-4160