ANCESTRAL SOPHISTICATION | CIRCA 1900 RESTAURANT REVIEW [PHOTOS]

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- ★★★★★

I’ve always known that the alta of the Queen City can always be seen in restaurant like Canvas in Ayala, Sky Lounge by Blue Elephant or Café Georg which is also a part-time tambayan of the #KatKat’s. But on March 14, 2014: the bar for sophisticated restaurants for these kinds of people has been stepped one notch.

Circa 1900 is a new spot in town to look up to. The restaurant is located at Sanjercasvil Road, Gorordo Avenue, Lahug, Cebu City, to be specific, it is the small passageway between Metrobank and Sinangag Station near J.Y. Square. It is a colonial or ancestral house owned by the Castillo family that was bought and restored to become one of the most or (I should say) probably the most elegant restaurant in Cebu, not even the illusion of height and affirmation of being a socialite in Sky lounge  Blue Elephant could top this spot.

The Chef of Canvas Restaurant in Ayala spearheaded the restoration of the colonial house and created a brilliant Modern Filipino Cuisine hot boite that offers piano room indulgence and high class service.

 

SERVICE

Speaking of service, the waiters and waitresses will give you a five star service in their warm presence from welcoming you on the spot, upon taking you to your table, when you order food and when it arrives and most especially when you go home. A waitress even gave us a tour around the house just to show us the function rooms downstairs and their cute little vegetable garden on the backyard which is one of the sources of their ingredients. Isn’t it just sophisticated?

The place is just warm and expensive; you’ll feel like one of the rich people inside having their dinner or whatnots. (Hashtag KatKat)

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FOOD

They have variety of meaty and veggie offers that ranges from P200.00 to P400.00 but mostly just within the range of P200.00-P300.00 and to be honest, it’s just worth it! (MENU BELOW)

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Try their Pork Belly with Apple Fennel Compote that’s really delicious and sumptuous, because it’s a bit salty but with a hint of sweetness coming from the apple ingredient.

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Also, try their Chicken Bringhe that’s made up of chicken, some spices, sauces and the bombshell which is the puto… yes; it was puto that was the superstar of it all. It has different taste but sums up as a complimentary dish.

Unfortunately, we haven’t tried their famous iba shake because it was not available at that time. Bummer.

For dessert, try their Pumpkin Pie which was unfortunately just a slice but was delicious nonetheless.

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OVERALL

The very elegant dinner experience we had is enough for me to be happy. With their great service, food and ambiance; other restaurants should make this one as an inspiration slash competition to give a full customer satisfaction.

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SCHEDULE

Open everyday from 11AM to 12MN

HAPPY HOUR: 3PM-6PM

CONTACT

FACEBOOK

Contact Number: (032) 239 6265 or 0923 279 5616

RATINGS – 5/5 STARS

 

MORE PHOTOS!

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MENU

 

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Veranda

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Veranda

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Restaurant Facade

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Complementary Dish (very, very delicious!)

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THE OVERLOOKING INDULGENCE | MOUNTAIN VIEW NATURE’S PARK EXPERIENCE [PHOTOS]

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To be direct, Mountain View Nature’s Park in Sitio Garahe, Busay, Cebu City is one of the most famous places you could hear from talks in town because of the overlooking indulgence of the entire Cebu city, and I’ve been here for plenty of times but never experienced the way I did on the Holy Week passed.

 

HOW TO GET THERE?
Same as my blog for Lantaw Native Restaurant, which is just around the corner of the entrance there in Mountain View, if you don’t have a car, you can go there by taxi which you can rent from J.Y. Square, P250.00, or by Habal-Habal (motorcycle) which costs P50.00 per person, or if you have your own car; that’s probably the best.

 

STAY THERE

Because of a family affair, I got there again. To make the story short; my mother and brother rented a stay for one night just for P1,200.00 non-air conditioned room.

The P1,200.00 Cottages

The P1,200.00 Cottages

I have a short knowledge that there was lodging in Mountain View! So bummer of me.

So the clan went there for a hike and ended up gasping for breath because no one expected how difficult it is to reach on top since it was most of their first times.

Back to the room: it was big, enough for my clan of ten (imagine that) but sush, they didn’t know we were that plenty. Though some of my family members brought with them tents and just stayed outside. The room is (as they say) good for four people. The bed is humungous and very good to sleep into.

You can order food in their canteen and have them delivered in your room if you like.

 

TIP: If you’re planning to go there, have your rooms booked ahead of time, especially on weekends and holidays like the Holy Week. And I, most especially, like for you to book on the air-conditioned room, good for P1,500.00 on the overlooking deck part because you can see the city lights from the windows of your room, and there’s no need for you to climb up just to see it.

 

WHAT TO DO?

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You can also enjoy their amenities. They have an Adventure Obstacle that is variety for P150.00. Their trail entails a lot of challenges; from walking on an unstable hanging bridge (but safe) to zip line-ing your way to excitement. This is available 9:00AM to 7:00PM daily.

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You could also experience their very cold swimming pool that’s good for P100.00 on adults and P75.00 for youngsters. It’s very good for kids because the highest is just 4 feet, so no fret.

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You can do camping, as I’ve said a while ago. There are certain places you can do it, but mostly, people build their tents when the dusk hits the horizon.

I’ve seen people grill outside of their rooms too.

You can soul search, or try marathon from the top down to the entrance of the vicinity. (Just kidding, you’ll end up getting killed)

And when nightfall comes, the city lights below will enchant you. It’s very amusing and enthralling yet at the same time very serene. Looking away from the busy city makes you go past through everything you’ve been through and ponder about your life. It’s very nice, I tell you. I’ve been there many times, yet the city lights never fails to amaze me.

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It’s best to see it in their viewing deck which you could also have a booze with your friends. Thank GOD there’s no entrance pay.

 

TOO EXPENSIVE?

Here’s the catch, is all the amenities too expensive or too much? Well for me, there are a lot of transactions to be done in the spot, and the prices are quite revamped from the normal prices in the city, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt that it’s really quite difficult to transport goods from down below up there on the mountain, that serves justice.

Also the crew’s salary hehe.

 

CONTACT

Telephone – (032) 231 5444

Facebook

 

PHOTOS

Another evening shot

Another evening shot

Cebu in the morning.

Cebu in the morning.

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THIS EUROPEAN SITUATION | HUNA-HUNA CLIFF RESORT [PHOTOS]

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-          ★★★★

The dreading city life requires you to escape from it in order to maintain balance in your life. Ahh, the relaxation you acquire gives you pleasure. Whenever you look online for a place to stay or to escape; there’s always something that holds you back. But this time; try to pursue it, and you’ll be pleased.

And one resort that’ll give you that exact relaxation away from the city is in Huna-Huna Cliff Resort. It is located at Buyo, boundary Carmen/Catmon, Cebu.

Huna-Huna is a Visayan word for thinking, pondering or contemplating. True to its name; Huna-Huna Cliff Resort offers you a peace and serenity for a calm experience.

With its European Villa inspired theme; you could never go wrong to its relaxing feel facing the vast Camotes Sea. This European situation requires your full attention to its nonchalant ambiance convalescing from your city life.

The white walls and marble tiles of the villa are idyllic, hinting Santorinni, Greece.

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The overhead pass is nostalgia of somewhere in France; and the Family house for number of guests makes me remember of an Italian Villa.

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The beaut of the place gives time for yourself to escape and contemplate your life while sitting on the bench looking afar on the effervescent Camotes Sea.

Guest House in Huna Huna

Guest House in Huna Huna

 

GOING THERE

Going to the resort is easy.

All you need to do is to ride a bus bound north at North Bus Terminal, near SM City Cebu. There you will find huge busses; and all you need to find is Ceres Liner. It’s fast, hourly and safe (sometimes, depends on the driver).

When telling the co-operator of the bus (kondoktor) where you’re heading; you can directly say in Huna-Huna, because most of them already know where it is. If not, then tell him at Buy, boundary Carmen/Catmon. The cost will only be P55.00 per person; so it’s not that really expensive.

From the city, you’ll be travelling 1 hour and a half if there’s no traffic. The resort can be found on the right side of the path; and there’s a marquee on the side of the road, if you have a car of your own or the co-operator forgets about you and where you’re heading.

 

TIP: Whenever you reach Carmen, Cebu; call the co-operator’s attention and make him remember where you’re heading. Or better yet, open Google Maps if you’re on 3G, but I doubt it will operate well on the countryside.

 

THE PLACE

Booking ahead is always the best thing to do whenever you want to go to a certain place so that you’ll have a guaranteed stay. And when calling the resort (numbers at the end of the post), they will ask you to pay full at their Banilad, Cebu office.

For me, trying to book a room for the next day was lucky because I was only giving a promise to them that my partner and I will not cancel our reservation. But that was really our plan, so cancellation would be inevitable (hehe), but really, try to book really ahead of time.

The air conditioned rooms are available for P2000.00, good for 2 pax with breakfast, and the check in time is 1:00PM, check out on the next day, same time. (Room rates below)

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They also have a 2 storey guest house, good for family or group of people.

The resort also offer some relaxing spa treatment for the price range of P900.00-P1,500.00.

 

THE ROOM

We stayed in Room 11 of the resort, and that is on the bottom-most part on the cliff near the beach where you could take a dip.

The room is just fabulous. Its clean and our stay there was marvellous. If relax is what you’re looking for, then this is perfect for you.

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The room is small BUT very, very relaxing. You’ll have your own veranda with table and seats; and for us at Room 11, the sea is just beneath us. It really looks luxurious even thinking about it right now makes me want to go back there.

Staying in their room makes me want to stay there forever.

I love their lights which have the control switch on how bright you want it to be; the very functional hot and cold water which for other resorts are not present; and the bed is soft, so as the pillows and the comforter.

The bed is facing the glass door with the sea as our breath taking view. The window on our left side is a perfect instrument for the sunrise to take a peek before we realize it.

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Sometimes you’ll forget to close the glass door and hear the rushing sound of waters outside while you are lying like a king or queen in your very comfortable bed.

And our veranda is perfect for dinnertime, with the warm, romantic lights plus the stars above us.

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It was just pure lux. C’est la vie.

 

TIP: And you should try to ask if Room 11 is available. *wink

 

THE FOOD

The food is variety there, and mostly it offers Filipino style of cooking. But their breakfast is mixed from Filipino to American to whatever it is in their menu that you’d like to have.

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You’ll only have to order ahead of time because they still have to prepare your food from scratch, so it takes a bit of time to finish and serve it to you.

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The price ranges from P130.00 – P250.00 depending on what MEAL you order. There are also offers that reach P300.00-P500.00; these are specialties.

 

THE BEACH

The beach is just part of the resort with no shoreline that is a little bit rocky on most parts. I did not get the chance to swim because I really did not want to. I just wanted to relax in our room, and in our sophisticated veranda.

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THE USHER-DOG

When we checked in, we were greeted by a huge black dog (I have no idea what breed it was) which I was much afraid of at first due to its size; when we walked down to our room; he was ahead of us following the attendant, and whenever we stopped, the dog looks at us trying to signal something; then we realized he wants to take us to our room. The dog named ‘she-she’ (I think) was really, really sweet. She had our hearts just for a short stay there because of her kindness to visitors.

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HUNA-HUNA CLIFF RESORT

I’m still pondering how relaxed my partner and I were on that resort, and wishing we could just lie there forever… with money magically appear on our table. HAHA

But then, Huna-Huna Cliff Resort is a resort away from hassle.

 

CONTACT

Cellphone: 09173179741/09322242375

FACEBOOK

WEBSITE

 

ROOM RATES

*According to hunahuna.com as of 4/8/2014

Air Conditioned Rooms

Php 2,000

Inclusive Breakfast for 2 (two) persons

Prices are regardless of single or double occupancy

Extra Bed without breakfast Php 500

 

Fan Rooms

Php 1,000 to Php 1,500

Exclusive of breakfast

Prices are regardless of single or double occupancy

Extra Bed without breakfast Php 500

 

*Day use (maximum of 3 hours)

Air Conditioned Rooms

Php 800 (Php 100 each extra hour)

 

Fan Rooms

Php 500 (Php 100 each extra hour)

 

Entrance fee is Php 75 with free use of our cottages. Huna Huna Cliff Resort reserves the right to refuse or discontinue at any time any accommodation to any persons it deems unacceptable under its standard.

 

RATING

Rooms – 5

Food – 3

Service – 3

Facilities – 3

Ambiance – 5

OVERALL – 3.8/5

 

MORE PHOTOS

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our veranda in the evening

our veranda in the evening

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Our veranda in the morning

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Our room in the evening

Our room in the evening

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Sunrise

Sunrise

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ESPANOL AND LECHE FLAN, ANYONE? | IPAR’S RESTAURANT REVIEW [PHOTOS]

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-    ★★★★

How authentic is authentic?

One evening, when my partner and I went to a restaurant that serves “authentic” Spanish cuisine (mixed with Filipino), I was undeniably disappointed. First and foremost, two of the specific cuisines they offer are supposed to be amped up with flavors because Spanish people once hailed towards far Asia to search for spices specifically here in the Philippines, and this should be elementary, but it results to a bland taste, which for me is unrighteous. And second, the price does not compensate the offers.

And then we have Ipar’s: Authentic Spanish Cuisine restaurant at Ramos St., Cebu City, (along the Velez University road) which is also offers “authentic” Spanish cuisine. I have a Hispanic bloodline, so I shall judge… (hehe)

Ipar’s has long been famous for obvious articles boastfully posted on their walls with the owner/chef’s in it. Ipar’s has been praised due to the dishes that is closely or a true replica of a certain dish from Spain, since the chef himself has studied thoroughly on why do Spanish cuisine ticks to millions of people around the globe.

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I applaud the place.

It’s a real Hispanic interior; impressive, from its huge Spanish-restaurant rodeo cloth hanging above the high ceiling to their cooking pans that hung on the walls which gives the exact feel of a Spanish kitchen.

They have an array of canvass posted together with the pans and some Hispanic photographs and artifacts that makes you feel you’re in the right place.

I love how Ipar’s makes you feel like you’re not in the Philippines but in Spain. It’s a true plus point.

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Now to their Food. They have a Spanish menu, which will be awkward if it’s not, that are separated according to their kind, whether it’s Carnes (Pork, Beef, Lambs), Ensaladas (Salads), Aves (Fowl/Chicken) or Pescado Y Mariscos (Fish and Shellfish) … (wow, so proud of me mentioning these Spanish words).

Try their Pechuga en Salsa (Chicken breast in cream sauce topped with sliced mushroom)… should I explain further? Anyway, it’s very tasteful. I love the overpowering saltiness that gives it a wow factor. This will cost you P180.00

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Also their Chuletas de Cerdo al Ajillo which are porkchops sautéed in garlic sauce that costs P200.00. This is very delicious. The garlic sauce is a perfect component in this dish that gives enough flavor for you to savor.

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For some, salads are eaten before the main course, but I really don’t. It could be I eat it after or during. I love for you to try their Ensalada Mixta Completa (Mixed green salad) that has this vinegar-ish flavor that culminates the salad experience. I’ve never tasted like that anywhere (if you do, let me know). This salad cost P120.00

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They have this superstar offer that is ranted all over Foursquare; it costs P70.00 and it’s their Leche Flan. Some say it’s the BEST leche flan in town, and we certainly agree with all of them. It’s very flavorful, and you can’t stop taking a scoop of it until you get none.

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The food in Ipar’s are good and how it stays true to the tagline “Authentic Spanish Cuisine”. My only concern is that because of its too much flavor, you may end up not finishing your food because it can always be too much for the taste, resulting to a feel of disgust it your gut. (BIDLI in Bisaya). Although the price range of the offers is from the lowest, P180.00 which are mostly salads, P200.00-P500.00 which are mostly the main dish, which is quite steep for budget diners out there.

But I’m happy because the other week it was closed due to a reserved party, so you plan ahead and call them before you go there.

Overall, it was a nice dining experience. Check out Ipar’s and tell me what you think.

SCHEDULE

Dinner – 6:00-10:00PM

CONTACT (for reservation)

Facebook

032 255-4727 or 032 410-7727

Ipars.com.ph

RATINGS

Place – 4

Service – 3

Pechuga en Salsa – 3

Chuletas de Cerdo al Ajillo – 4

Ensalada Mixta en Completa – 4

Leche Flan – 5

OVERALL – 4

 

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SKY DINING | SKY LOUNGE BY BLUE ELEPHANT RESTAURANT REVIEW [PHOTOS]

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-          ★★★ ½

Ever wonder where those open air, top of the building, socialite restaurants we see in the movies? Well, there’s one in the Queen City called Sky Lounge by Blue Elephant.

Located at the 19th floor of Apple One building, Cebu Business Park just across the Ayala Center Cebu mall.

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Ayala Center Cebu bird’s eye view at Apple One.

Sky Lounge is a high class dining experience literally and metaphorically. Metaphorically, the experience makes you feel like one of the Alta Sociedad having an elegant dinner together with the people you like, or a business dinner; and Literally because it’s on top of a classy building… really, really high, made me drowsy, capturing the city view due to the fact that I have Acrophobia.

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The Panoramic City View at Apple One

Talking about the view; it’s best to capture the moment in a night sky where you can see the city lights all around the 180 degrees view on their Al Fresco (open air seating), and inside their glass windowed V.I.P. rooms.

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The Al Fresco or the outside seating at Sky Lounge

Prior in going to Sky Lounge, you have to make reservations ahead of time due to the fact that in its very exclusive and few table seating space, also famous dining spot; plenty of people visit to have that top of the city dining experience. Also, there’s a P300.00, consumable on both food and drink, table fee.

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The V.I.P. room at Sky Lounge

The food is in Thai cuisine, perfect for those who want extreme flavorful foods, like me. Try their best-seller Seafood Curry in Coconut Shell that costs P280.00 that culminates seafood experience. I loved every bit of it, even though I was worried that it comes with shrimps which could kill me (haha), thank God, it didn’t include shrimps with it.

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Seafood Curry in Coconut Shell

Also, try their huge Barbecue Ribs which is also in P280.00 that tastes good to the bones. And try their Bangkok Express which costs P180.00, similar to Philippines’ Monggo or Monggos but rich in flavor and my favorite of all. All the foods are well cooked and are good for 2-3 people already, which compensate the price range of P180.00 – P380.00.

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Bangkok Express

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Barbecue Ribs

Although the place seems to be a perfect place to dine; we had a couple of troubles faced throughout our dining course. First was the dinner reservation that wasn’t in the list. I did a reservation four days before the date and unfortunately we weren’t in it. We had to wait for a couple of minutes for them to get a seat for us (luckily). Then when we seated there but we had to call the attention of the waiters to give us the menu who seems to be profoundly deaf at that time, making them hard to call; and isn’t that protocol? Then the waiting time for our order to arrive reached for about 40 minutes, and that’s really, really long.

I remembered our time at Bucket Shrimps which the waiting time was really that long but the food wasn’t fantastic and unfortunately had a low score for me, and I’m not planning to go back there any time soon to have another review.

To culminate it all up, the place is great, food is great but the service did not compensate for all the good things I experience there, and it’s not just me who’s complaining; I’ve read lots and lots of it on some websites, and I was this close to losing it. And they have to REALLY fix it, because unlike Bucket Shrimps; I’m planning on going back there for another review maybe sometime in the future.

My Tip? Don’t go there really  hungry.

Check out Sky Lounge by Blue Elephant.

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Sky Lounge by Blue Elephant at Apple One

CONTACT

Tel. No. – 262-9088 or 511-7600

Facebook – Sky Lounge by Blue Elephant

RATINGS

Place – 4

Seafood Curry in Coconut Shell – 4

Barbecue Ribs – 4

Bangkok Express – 5

Service – 1

Value for money – 3

OVERALL – 3.5

CEBU JEEPNEY ROUTES | HELPFUL ROUTING SYSTEM

Ever wonder how you could navigate your way through the entire cebu? Here’s a very helpful website to know the routes of such jeepneys you ride on.

Just click on this link to go to the website which can help you map out the routes of jeepneys in Cebu.

62B Route

62B Route

 

SINGAPURA IN CEBU | ONE CLAYPOT HOUSE | RESTAURANT REVIEW [PHOTOS]

-          ★★★½

I’ve taken you to Paris, Greece and America, now I’m taking you to Singapura.

Although Singapore is a British colony; their culture and style doesn’t complement with the Britons due to the mixed race community they have there now. But Oriental people, specifically Chinese are the ones dominating.

And there’s no other place to experience the dishes you will eat in Singapore but in this cute little spot called One Claypot House.

CLAYPOT

One Claypot House is NOW located at C. Rosal St., Cebu City, across The Living Christian Church. Although the place is situated quite far from the pedestrian’s eyes; but finding this spot is worth it!

One Claypot House Panorama

One Claypot House Panorama

The restaurant is very small, good for 20-22 people, not including their outdoor seating; the interior is decorated with, just like Singapore, mixed culture hangings: with posh British boutique style chandeliers, to Oriental miniature boat-like hanging designs, to 50s American painting and so much more.

FOOD

As it is a Singapore inspired restaurant; their offers are mostly Southeast Asian Cuisine which you will love with an affordable price range of P120.00 – P250.00 (one dish has P350.00).

Try their bestseller Lah-Lah-Lah Claypot which is a rice topping style that has pork, sausage, eggs and of course rice in it. The serving is in three, small, medium and large. Their ‘small’ is just enough for one person.

Lah-Lah-Lah Claypot in One Claypot House

Lah-Lah-Lah Claypot in One Claypot House

Also try their Milky Fried Fish Soup which is a healthy and a bit spicy yet cream soup offer. I’m in love with this, although I was not careful enough to chew the chili and burned my taste buds (lol).

Milky Fried FIsh Soup in One Claypot House

Milky Friend FIsh Soup in One Claypot House

If you’re a fan Bagoong/Hipon(bisaya)/Shrimp Paste; then you’ll fall in love with Binagoongang Pork.

Binagoongang Pork in One Claypot House

Binagoongang Pork in One Claypot House

And when you’re done with your dinner; then the perfect drink to compliment is the Milky Bandung. Although it’s an acquired taste, but you’ll later realize that its bland taste will neutralize the sweet/salty/creamy experience in your food.

Milky Bandung in One Claypot House

Milky Bandung in One Claypot House

There are still a lot to choose from in their menu and I’m pretty sure it’s pleasurable for your taste buds. My partner and I sure enjoyed their offers.

Go and try One Claypot House and experience dining in Singapura.

SCHEDULE:

Monday-Saturday: 10:00AM-10:00PM

Closed on Sundays

CONTACT:

Reservations: 0908 279 1498

Facebook

RATINGS:

Location – 3

Ambiance – 3

Food – 4

Service – 4

OVERALL – 3.5