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Sweet Incantations Confectionery

2 Jan
Happy Happy at Sweet Incantations Confectionery

Happy Happy at Sweet Incantations Confectionery

Happy New Year everyone! Let’s ring in the New Year with a new and very indulgent post, shall we?

So my friends and I have this annual Christmas celebration together: where we eat, catch up and have our studio pictures taken (which we forgot to do in 2014! oooppsss). Since the metro was still experiencing rain showers following Typhoon Seniang, we opted to meet and have a quiet dinner at Ayala Center Cebu. We picked something familiar this time – Bigby’s – which I think I don’t have to elaborate much on since they are an institution in Cagayan de Oro City and here in Cebu. But we wanted to try out something new for dessert – it was either Butterbean or Sweet Incantations Confectionery.

If that's not mouthwatering I don't know what is

If that’s not mouthwatering I don’t know what is

Due to the limited parking space and the bright lights at Butterbean, my friend’s boyfriend thought maybe Sweet Incantations Confectionery was a better idea. Just a literal stone’s throw away, we ended up at one of the coziest cafes in Cebu (and a way better parking space too!).

From the outside, Sweet Incantations Confectionery looks pretty impressive already for its minimal decor. The wall was filled with photographs of travels around the world, perhaps of the owner. It had enough space for big groups and intimate spaces for couples as well. But the highlight of the place was its display case – not your ordinary display case at that! IT WAS A REAL SHOWCASE OF ALL THE MOUTHWATERING CUPCAKES MANKIND COULD EVER IMAGINE (ok now I am exaggerating but that was what I felt that moment). Needless to say, at that moment I fell in love. I wanted everything in it, but that wouldn’t be good for my diet (ha! as if I was on diet!).

Awesome Display!

Awesome Display!

They had cool sounding names for their cupcakes: Monkey Business, Red Vixen, Espressamel, and their holiday cupcakes Gingernog, Northpole and Pasko among others. Anyone could tell that they take this business pretty serious. It’s not fun making up names for cupcakes. Some would easily go by whatever they put on it. But Sweet Incantations – they have so much to give when it comes to cupcake-making. My friends and I gushed our oohs and aahs too loudly I think it annoyed the woman behind the counter.

Menu

Menu

Compared to other places, theirs was a little bit pricey, but not too much because cupcakes are now around PhP 55-65 I guess. Each of their cupcakes are at PhP 70. If you buy a box of six, that would only cost you PhP 400. Not bad at all especially when you get to taste their cupcakes! We ordered the box of 6 which was great for sharing with the group. Their cupcakes are HEAVENLY with emphasis on the capital letters. I’ve never had a cupcake with such thick frosting, with a texture that’s as thick as Marshie’s marshmallow. Hey, I am not a baker or some pastry person so I can’t really point out what kind of frosting that was, mmkay? So, yeah they definitely have the finest and most indulgent cupcakes I have ever had 🙂

IMG_0605[1]The cake itself is both dense and moist at the same time. I never liked too dense or too fluffy cupcakes. It was done just right and it went so well with the frosting – a real great marriage between cupcake and frosting. My favorites were the Espressamel, Butterscotch & Bubblegum and Little Black Dress – yeah I am a sucker for Chocolate & Mint. Apparently, these two were their bestsellers along with Sweet Saigon which had hints of Lemongrass and PB & J.

Sweet Incantations also serves Cookies at PhP 50 each and Gelato which is at PhP 85 for single scoop and PhP 130 for double scoop. We had double scoops of each flavor – Chocoholics Anonymous, My Name is Earl (my favorite since I love Earl Grey Tea), Monkey Berry and Espressamel. We had two tea pots as well and they serve Dilmah tea, if you might ask.

Their Gelato

Their Gelato

I absolutely have no protestations when the cupcakes were laid out on our table. They were served in little chopping boards. It dawned on me that every detail of this was well planned out down to the toilets. Teas were served on pristine white teapots that came with matching cups and even their service water was served in coordinated glasses and a resealable glass bottle almost similar to that of Shangrila’s. I’d have to say kudos to the owner who’s thought so much about what goes well with what without sacrificing flavor – which in fact is the greatest highlight of the place.

The little details that matter a lot - presentation!

The little details that matter a lot – presentation!

All in all, it was a happy night – good friends, great dessert. Sweet Incantations was what my friends and I would call a happy place and we don’t honor that name to just any restaurant or cafe. Only the deserving ones. I guess someone’s going to be a regular customer then, huh?

You can visit Sweet Incantations at the Ground Floor of the Avagar Bldg., Escario, Cebu City, somewhere between Kuya J and Simply J’s. Like their Facebook Page: Sweet Incantations Confectionery or Follow them on Instagram: sweetincph.

Enjoy!!

Fudge Restaurant – A Special Feature

4 Jan
Fudge Restaurant

Taken almost a year back with friends whom I have known since Kindergarten

It was a great way to start the new year with a new post, right? And it’s also a good thing that I got my writing mojo back (for the time being). So, while I’m not busy and still in the mood to write, let’s try one more, shall we?

Fudge Restaurant

Their menu – You need to check their new prices since this one’s an old one

My usual ratings would not be enough to show you how much I love this restaurant that I’m about to feature. That is why I decided to write this blog post as a special feature. For me, it’s a must-try and I was just so excited when they opened up a new branch at the expansion wing of the Ayala Center Cebu. Fudge Restaurant is one of the places that remains underrated and often off people’s radar.

Fudge Restaurant

Love them fries! only at PhP 50

One of the reasons why I love the place is because it’s quite close to home. Their main branch is located at A.S. Fortuna, just a matter of 15-30 minutes from my house. You can’t miss it at all, but in case you need landmarks, it’s beside BPI – Banilad and across the Wilkins Warehouse. It’s been an institution for desserts in Cebu, in my opinion. The place has been around for quite some and you can say that a lot of people come back for more and more each time. The ambiance is great for small or big groups who would like to hang out and chat over cakes and pastries or even a full meal. I like the idea that they have two kitchens where they prepare your food and desserts. The way they present the food is soooooooo inviting you’d salivate just by looking at the display. This place seems to be packed all the time!

Fudge Restaurant

Counter and the yummy display!

Another reason why I love Fudge is the food – both desserts and savory dishes that they have. Their menu is very diverse and I should say whoever created it was a food genius (in my opinion that is). Their pastas and sandwiches are to die for and don’t even get me started with their main dishes. Our usual favorite is the thick slab of Grilled Pork Steak. The portions are enormous too! If you’re on a tight budget, you can get a pasta dish and share. The regular pasta dish is somewhere between Php 180-250. Not bad for that much serving. If you’re still on a really tight budget, you can order some fries at PhP 50!! The pork steak is good to share as well it’s I think around PhP 290 these days. Can’t blame them for the price increase though, everything seems to be increasing these days – including my weight! 🙂 Kidding, I think the price increase is very reasonable considering the ingredients that they use and the portions that they serve.

Fudge Restaurant

from their seasonal dessert buffet

Last and best reason of all is the desserts! Most of the people who visit Fudge are there for the desserts I think. With a slice of Cheesecake Delight only at PhP 125, who can resist, right? But the star of their dessert menu is their Lava Cake that’s oozing with rich chocolate goo in the middle when you try to cut into it (check out the picture!). That is why a lot of people would agree that it is best Lava Cake in Cebu!! It’s very much affordable as well. You’d have to wait though for around 15 minutes for your lava cake – yup! it’s baked fresh 😀 They only make them when they’re ordered. How cool is that? My other favorites are their wide array of Sansrival, the Tre Colore, their Signature Chocolate Cake, Choco Butterscotch (in the picture) and the Mango Surprise is great for those who don’t like much of the sweet stuff. In my opinion, Fudge gives you the best desserts and food that’ very much worth your money. Everyday, there’s something new to taste at Fudge – a burst of flavor and sweetness in your mouth.

Fudge Restaurant

Our favorites 🙂

Fudge Restaurant

Best Lava Cake in Cebu

I could sit there and spend my whole afternoon either chatting with friends or just being pensive and I know I share the same sentiments with so many people here in Cebu. A lot of them were glad too when a new branch opened its doors in at the Ayala Center Cebu. That saves people coming from the City a whole trip to Banilad/AS Fortuna and from the clogging of cars on the way there.

Fudge Restaurant IS A MUST-TRY when you come visit Cebu. It’s a whole lot of experience so go and visit them NOW!!!

Fudge Restaurant

Fancy some choco butterscotch?

NOTE: this is my personal feature – not paid nor sponsored by the management or anyone whatsoever ❤ Btw, thanks to Megee Dolore for some of the pictures 🙂

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

2 Jan
Hikay Lutong Pinoy

First post of the year! – Hikay Lutong Pinoy

It’s the new year and I was hoping I’d do a lot of posting as a new year’s resolution. Since last year wasn’t a really decent year for my posts, I would like to make up for the lack of food reviews 🙂 Now, here’s the buena mano for the year 2014!!!

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

With the Family for Post-Christmas Dinner

My uncle and a nephew came to visit after Christmas so my cousins decided that it was time for a big gathering. Since they were getting tired of Lantaw and we had a very very kulit kid in tow, they decided to have dinner somewhere with literally four corners. Filipino food was the safest and easiest way to the tummies of our dear parents so we went ahead and checked out Hikay Lutong Pinoy at the Calyx Centre in IT Park.

It’s quite easy to spot, just across McDonald’s Drive-Thru at The Walk and beside Serenitea. The place is quite small compared to the likes of Chikaan, Lantaw in Cordova and Golden Cowrie.

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

Their Lighting Fixture – amazing!

They only have a few seats, but the lighting fixtures were awesome. There’s really nothing fancy inside the restaurant, perhaps they want to make it a zen-ish twist to the usual Filipino Restaurant ambiance. I think the place was already great in general except for the centerpieces – a regular looking vase with a fortune plant on it. Not something you would expect from a chic-looking resto though. 🙂

Now let’s get to the food. I admit – I love the food there! I know Filipino food is very basic for us and it’s really hard to tell if the food is any good because your mom or someone you know might cook a better version of it. But for me, Hikay’s Bicol Express was more than outstanding! It wasn’t too spicy but the flavors were just bursting in my mouth – the taste of “uyap” or small shrimps and coconut milk, plus the pieces of meat were quite big. My second favorite was the Ampalaya salad. YES, that’s right – Ampalaya. It was made of fresh ampalaya with dilis and tomatoes. You could not taste the bitterness of the Ampalaya at all. It was honestly a great way of serving Ampalaya to those who do not like its bitter taste. They also serve an array of Filipino food staples. We had Tinolang Manok Bisaya, Sisig, Crispy Pata, Ngohiong, Kinilaw na isda, and Baked Scallops. The scallops were unlike I have ever tasted as well – they were just baked right so the Scallops didn’t taste like they were dehydrated (if you look at the pictures you’d see how fat the scallops still are).

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

Baked Scallops – YUM!

Overall, our dining experience was pleasant, but my family they’re quite strict with customer service. The service at Hikay did not pass their standards. I will explain myself on the ratings below. I think McDonald’s had better food service haha. Or my family’s just so used to service at Lantaw or Golden Cowrie where they proactively wait on you for everything you need. And now for the verdict!

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

Our Food Spread

Ratings:

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

My Fave Bicol Express and Kinilaw na isda on the left

Food: 8/10 – The food is already delicious for a Filipino restaurant, but there is room for improvement. For me, the other dishes were alright and the others were quite outstanding. I could really say this is a good score for a Filipino restaurant for me because we’re so used to the food that it gets hard to judge it. Again, the must-try dishes for me are Bicol Express, Baked Scallops and the Ampalaya Salad. They need to improve though on their portions. I was quite disappointed with how small the beef steak serving was.

Value for Money: 7/10 – The price isn’t really any different from other Filipino restaurants around. It would really depend on how much you’re willing to spend on the food that you’d like to try. Let’s say the Large Crispy Pata is at PhP 365, which is more or else the same price with the same sized Crispy Pata at Chikaan. I would like to think that it’s worth splurging on food at a Filipino Restaurant if you’re with a big group or with family.

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

Beef Steak on the left and the Ampalaya Salad on the right

Service: 5/10 – If there’s one thing that should be outstanding from a Filipino Restaurant that is the service. Sadly, for Hikay they really need a lot of improvement with their staff. Good thing we ordered and made a reservation the day before because the food could take a while to serve even on a slow day. The odd thing is the waitresses panicked when a lot of customers started coming in and you, as a customer, can feel that. It goes down from there. Unlike other restos, they don’t proactively offer you a refill of your rice or your iced tea. It’s quite a hassle having to call them over to your table for a refill. Worst part was when we asked for our take home leftovers tenenentenen!!! They did not put it all in the bag. It’s not a big deal really – but it’s a like a proof of their state of mind – present but absent. minded.

Cleanliness and Ambiance: 8/10 – I like how they fixed the place. Nothing too fancy nor too flashy. I loved their plates and the clean feel to the whole resto and I especially liked the lighting fixtures. the place was well lit and cozy. There’s a bar on the far right side and a restroom – which is much much much important in any establishment. Over-all the place was clean, but the tables are quite near from the next so there’s not much walking space if the resto is filled.

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

A bowl of Tinolang Manok Bisaya

Tip: If you’re in a hurry or you’d want to get your food fast – make a reservation and order ahead. You can search for their menu online or pay a visit before your actual dining experience. Their dancing waiters/waitresses are also on during the weekends so if you want a good show, maybe you should dine there on those days.

It’s such a great experience for me to start my first post of 2014 with a place I shared with my family. After all, I got my love for food and cooking from them. I really hope this would be a good year for all of us and a better journey towards culinary finds in Cebu and wherever my feet would take me. Happy new year!

Happy 2014 Everyone!

Happy 2014 Everyone!

Merilla’s Restaurant – Home Cooked Meals in Cebu!

18 Nov

**sorry for the late post. We almost lost the photos – had to recover them. Thanks Mhei and Archie for the photos.

Merilla’s Restaurant
G/F Avon Plaza, Osmeña Blvd.

I was ecstatic when I got my first invite for a new restaurant opening. Of course, it was such an honor to have landed on the list of food bloggers that got invites so I quickly took on the offer of one of the owners of Merilla’s Restaurant, Nkomo Yap.

I called up two of my close friends to accompany me and so we found our way to the Ground Floor of Avon Plaza (beside The Strip on Osmeña Blvd.). When we got there (Mhei, Archie and I), we put everything in motion: we picked out a place to sit and Archie went on snapping pictures. Mhei and I met Nkomo and he explained to us about the restaurant and how it came to be as well as the food they will be serving us.

Menu

Merilla is really Nko’s mom. It’s her cooking that inspired her kids (Nkomo and his siblings) to put up a business featuring their Mom’s best recipes and more. They feature Filipino and Mediterranean dishes, but most of the food on their menu were what anyone’s mom would cook at home for dinner, which I think we rarely see nowadays. My friends and I found it hard not to reminisce how simple and authentic life was back when life was slower in Cebu.

Homey Interior Design

The interior design of the place is quite modern, but with a very obvious touch of home. I have to commend the person who did the interiors because the lighting fixtures were really spot on. On the farthest part of the room is a display of artworks made by Nko’s sister. If you pay attention to the little details, you could really see how deeply home-inspired the place was. It took me some time to realize that even the plates they used were reminiscent of how the home life used to be – those glass plates that came in sets with a matching teacup and saucer (have you seen those?).

Now for the food, they served us their specialties: Lamb Steak, Pork Ribs, Rellenong Bangus, Sisig, and Cucumber Salad. We added in an order of their Chicken Sweet Chili Wings. As a bonus, Nko threw in a pitcher of their punch and mango float for dessert. The food was SINCERELY AWESOME.

food!!!

The ribs reminded me much of Hamonada, while the Lamb steak I bet was their attack on the Mediterranean theme. The Sisig was also their specialty since they are also the guys responsible for Sisig Central on Arlington Pond (near Casa Verde Ramos). I loved their punch because it’s been a really long time since I’ve had the same punch my mom would make when we had parties at home. Lastly, the Mango Float was heavenly.

let’s go to Merilla’s!

I would go to Merilla’s any day especially now that my mom’s quite lazy around the kitchen (don’t tell her :P). I love how they played with the whole theme of home-cooked meals down to the interiors and even the cutlery. Honestly, anybody would love the place, especially families. It’s a great place to bring your parents to for some family bonding (although I am not to sure if they’re open on Sundays).  I know I would.

RATING:

Lamb Steak, Pork Ribs, Rellenong Bangus – Yum!

FOOD: 9/10 – Their food is already awesome, but I know they can expand the menu. They’re pretty much young still, but they’re off on a good start. They just need to add more to appeal to more age groups and categories. MUST TRY – Pork Ribs and Mango Float. Ow, yeah the Punch too.

 

WOW!!! Uber Affordable!

VALUE FOR MONEY: 11/10 – Yes, that really is an 11. It’s the best place to score some really good eats for really low price. Every cent you spend on their food is worth it. Their food is very affordable and they even have Budget Meals and Combo Meals to suit your budget.

 

Combo Meals

SERVICE: 7/10 – I think it’s common for restaurants that have just started their operation to have low quality service. The time of serving was fine, but the other waiter kind of didn’t know what he was doing just yet. He took the dish that was supposed to land on someone’s table and put it on ours. And it took him some time to get over to the table and he was only serving two tables! Oh well, he needed more training.

 

CLEANLINESS – I think it would be fair to skip this one out. The place was fairly new when we went there. It smelled of paint and generally it was still spotless. So, I think it wouldn’t be fair to judge this part judge yet.

meet the bloggers: Mary Angeli Bas of Foodiecraft.com, Justinne Go of Babeforfood.blogspot.com, Mark Monta of Facecebu.net and Nkomo Yap, owner of Merilla’s Restaurant

Pearl Meatshop and Restaurant

16 Oct
Pearl Meatshop and Restaurant

What’s cooking? Samyupsal!

With Korean restaurants popping up literally everywhere, it’s hard to pick out one that will surely give you the authentic taste. That’s also not to mention the cost of how much these dishes are (more like how much we think these dishes cost). Most of the time it’s fear that usually stops us from entering any place that showed indications of being linked to Koreans. But that’s exactly what we need to lose if we want to experience the real thing.

Pearl Meatshop and Restaurant

Kimchi!

I have been to top places: Harubang and Miga in Lahug, Han Guk Kwan in Mabolo, Arira in Banilad, Da Rae Won (my first love) on the way to the Airport, and Pearl in AS Fortuna. All of them had their own way of presenting and seasoning each Korean dish. While Da Rae Won will always be my first love and Arira coming in close second, there are other joints that’s worth checking out, if price is your biggest concern.

Pearl Meatshop and Restaurant

Welcome to Pearl!

PEARL MEATSHOP AND RESTAURANT was just some place I passed by when I traversed AS Fortuna. It was nothing special I said. I even had the impression that it was some random Korean meatshop, which it is; 50% of it. Phoebe of Phoebe’s Cupcakery wrote about it one time and my friends and I were convinced to celebrate our July Birthdays there. It was surprisingly cheap for a Korean Restaurant, although the dishes that they served were quite limited. They focused more on serving choice cuts of pork and beef for Korean Barbecue.

Since my friends haven’t had their own experience in eating Korean, I had them try the Samyupsal (who wouldn’t want that?), the U-gupsal (beef cuts) and the Bulgogi. They only had a few side dishes to my dismay, but nonetheless, my friends were pleased we brought them there. The restaurant had dining areas for regular seating while a larger portion was allotted for those who would opt to sit on the floor. When you enter the place, you’d get to see why they call themselves a meatshop and the back part is the restaurant area. Having good company around, was part of a good meal, I guess.

Pearl Meatshop and Restaurant

Samyupsal!!

Rating:

FOOD: 7/10 – if you have been exposed to the really good Korean food, you’d find this place a bit out lacking in the food department. The side dishes were pretty basic with not much variety, the offerings were limited, but they have really great cuts of meat. They’re a meat shop after all. Their Doenjang jjigae was so-so and if I remember right, it was kind of bland too. The Bulgogi was another must-try and it costs just PhP 150!! Don’t be shocked when you open your rice bowl, it’s not puto; they use black rice.

Pearl Meatshop and Restaurant

and more Samyupsal!

VALUE FOR MONEY: 10/10 – what else can you ask for? Their servings are under the usual PhP 250 price most Korean restos offer their customers. Compared to them, this one’s the cheapest I have been in so far. There is one catch though. The number of dishes that you order should correspond to the number of people present. For our group of eight, we had to order eight dishes as well.

Pearl Meatshop and Restaurant

it was really a happy birthday then 🙂

SERVICE: 7/10 –  the servers were a bit unfriendly; the owner was, but the waitresses weren’t too happy to wait on their customers (just saying!). I didn’t know if they’re usually like that to locals, or just big groups. It took them some time too for a not so busy hour. At one point they were nowhere to be found because they were huddling up at the back.

CLEANLINESS: 9/10 – personally, I had issues with it being a meatshop. Not that the place wasn’t clean because it was! But anything that dealt with raw meat in the front part of the resto told me there’s the hundreds of tapeworms in front of you. That’s my personal opinion of the place, but really the place was spic and span.

Pearl Meatshop and Restaurant

busooog!!!

Update!!! So there’s a new branch of Pearl’s at The Strip near Capitol. I think it’s across The Boulevard, noh? 

Another update: PRICELIST, I haven’t looked much through their price list but their Samgyupsal surely increased from 160 early this year to 180!! Just got ate their tonight (9-2-14) and I was surprised by the price increase. The cuts are better though and the Kimchi too! 🙂 Still, not as many side dishes “banchan”. So yeah 🙂

Sai Gon Quan at the Parkmall

6 Feb
Sai Gon Quan Parkmall

Turning Vietnamese

Now this post should have been dated back a year ago when my sister was still here. My sister and I are fond of discovering new restos around the city that normally people would not frequent. We’re fond of anything new to the palate because we’re bold like that (My sister has already eaten bugs if I might say, looking forward to my own experience). So I kept raving about this Vietnamese restaurant a lot of times before I agreed to meet her up and her friend Fritz at Parkmall.

Interiors of Sai Gon Quan

And so we found ourselves in the ornate restaurant covered in everything green and bamboo on the far end of the annex building of Parkmall (beside Cycle Logic). Having eaten there twice prior to our said visit, luckily I know which were the safer dishes to order. Of course, there was the staple Pho to order and in our case we ordered Pho Bo – rice noodles with strips of beef – which had just the right tang and sweetness to it. My sister could be bolder than me so she went in and ordered the heart of the palm salad which was to my surprise really a salad. That meant the heart of the palm was not cooked in whatever way.

We also ordered fried spring rolls which also tasted really good.

Heart Of Palm Salad

But my favorite dish that I make a point to order when I go there is hands down their Prawns in Green Rice. They’re plenty awesome and the green rice remind you of pinipig with more crunch to it. We also tried Iced Vietnamese Coffee and any of you should not miss that experience either. They MAKE coffee out of GENUINE VIETNAMESE COFFEE BEANS in front of you. They put it in a strainer on top of your coffee and pour hot water over it. The coffee goes to your glass filled with ice and then they mix in the condensed milk and VOILA!

Pho Bo

Everything in this store is authentic Vietnamese. Well, the waiters are of course Filipino, but the cooks and the business partner are all from Vietnam. Expect only AUTHENTIC Vietnamese food in this restaurant. That means the flavor is Vietnamese, which is a bit close to Filipino taste, but not quite. It’s a must-try for every adventurous foodie out there.

Iced Vietnamese Coffee Just Like They Serve Them In Vietnam

AND NOW THE VERDICT:

Fried Spring Rolls

FOOD: 10/10 – this of course is according to my own adventurous palate. I like the taste of the Pho Bo that’s sweet with a hint of lime in it. Don’t expect it to be your local pochero of beef soup because it’s NOT. It’s a whole lot different beef noodle experience topped with fresh mung bean sprouts.

VALUE FOR MONEY: 10/10 – for international cuisine, their taste is absolutely not bad at all for its price. You can get a small (which is large for Pinoy standards) bowl of Pho Bo at PhP 90 (as of middle of 2011). The other dishes are not that pricey as well. Naturally, the food at the place is really a bargain.

The Menu

SERVICE: 10/10 – I’m definitely not kidding you when I say GREAT service. The waiters and waitresses are quite accommodating and they don’t give you that sense of uneasiness when you only order a Pho Bo. I pretty much like the people there and wish that the all restaurants would be as accommodating as them.

Fried Prawns In Green Rice

CLEANLINESS/AMBIANCE: 9/10 – I’m not a guru when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine and this is the only one I have been in so far. But their resto is quite cozy and it’s tucked away in the far part of the building. It gets unruly sometimes on Sundays when they have their eat-all-you-can lunch buffet. The decorations are quite good and they do exude qualities of Asian culture.

 

This blog is dedicated to my sister, Kristine. I miss having food trips with her. See you soon!

 

UPDATE: 2/6/2014 Sai Gon Quan has already closed and has been replaced by Asian Dragon. I reckon it’s under new management and a new chef. I haven’t visited yet and still won’t take the risk for now. But will let you know soonest! For Vietnamese goodness, you guys can check out upscale Vietnamese restaurant Phat Pho. It’s one of the chain of restaurants managed by The Abaca Group (Abaca Boutique Resort, A Cafe, Tavolata and Beqaa)

Kusina Uno – The Best Pochero in town

8 Nov

Kusina Uno - Home of the Best Pochero

F. Ramos St. has been a daily staple for me for a few years. But it wasn’t until I roamed the streets of uptown Cebu til the wee hours of dawn did I get a taste of what was behind that red neon light that said “ABUHAN”. So, I when I too got my own taste of what was behind those doors, I was in love with the bone marrow. It wasn’t the ambiance that people keep coming back for, it was the signature dish , Pochero, that people loved so much.

So, when people heard of Abuhan Uno closing down, they mourned a little. They said Abuhan Dos and Tres were there as their consolation. Well, these two have indeed consoled the palate of the Pochero-lovers when the original hideout closed up. But people like me, are still on the lookout for the real thing and yes, I spotted the right place. THIS IS THE PLACE that took me back to the good times spent at Abuhan Uno, not because of their ambiance, but because of the taste. There is no place else like the new home of the best Pochero in Cebu – KUSINA UNO.

Sipping On Hot Pochero Soup

On a cold day, nothing beats sipping hot soup, especially when it’s infused with the rich flavors of beefy goodness. And whoever could resist the rich bone marrow gaping from that hole within the bone. It’s savory cholesterol-laden food at its finest. You can even take your pick – you want it soup style or sizzling style.

Calamares

 
For our meal, we opted for the pochero soup (without the meat) and sizzling Pochero, which was highly recommended by our friend, Onin, who works there. It was a rainy day and the soup was a great counter for the cold weather. And true to his word, the sizzling Pochero was heavenly goodness and the gravy around it was so savory I wanted to eat it alone (was sharing it with five other friends). And I haven’t stopped dreaming of it since.

With their pochero meals, they also serve one of the best traditional filipino dishes in Cebu. Practically everything on the menu is a must-try!  Aside from the Pochero soup and sizzling pochero, we ordered the sizzling Gambas (yum!), calamares and crispy kangkong. We downed a whole pitcher of iced tea and went on to our next destination barely able to walk. I would have Kusina Uno every day, if I was given the chance. You should too!

Yummy Gambas!

REVIEW

Kusina Uno Must Try - Sizzling Pochero

FOOD: 10/10 – what can I say? I am a junkie for all things Filipino. and the sizzling Pochero alone was a winner. I tried one from Abuhan tres, but this was tastier for me. I love the gravy – loads of it and the parts they serve their customers are very much worth the price that you’re paying for. The sizzling Gambas was a winner as well. TIP: ask the waiters what their bestsellers are if it’s your first time 🙂

VALUE FOR MONEY: 9/10– I’d give it a 9 because let’s admit it, cow born marrow is quite expensive. It’s best to go there when you have a family dinner or you’re out with your barkada. But then again, you wouldn’t be regretting too much how much food you could consume in one sitting 🙂

Crispy Kangkong

SERVICE: I would like to leave this part for you guys to judge. I don’t want to be biased on giving a score because 1.) it was our friend who belongs to the family of one of the owners that served our food 2.) there weren’t many people around so the service of the food was quite fast. If you want the service to be fast, reserve some seats ahead of time or go at a less busy time. DID I SAY THEY WERE OPEN 24 HOURS?? THEY ARE!!

CLEANLINESS AND AMBIANCE: 8/10 and here goes one of my weaker points for a restaurant. The ambiance is not as secluded as the old Abuhan. It’s an open-air space at the second floor of GND tower (where Club Ace is) near Cityscape and Sykes in Mabolo. The last time I went there, they were using the common Comfort Room of the building. But they have kept the whole place fairly clean and sanitized.

yummy! - Kusina Uno

I am proud to say that Kusina Uno was featured on Manila Bulletin by one of the most famous Filipino chefs – Chef Gene Gonzalez. He wrote for his Column – Pleasures of the Table – featuring Cebu Finds Part 1  published on October 6, 2011