Weaving through the flavors of Abaca’s dishes

WHILE I was on an overnight stop in Cebu, I stayed at the Movenpick Hotel in Mactan. 

Then I was invited to visit the neighboring restaurant of Abaca. Abaca, a California-Mediterranean inspired restaurant, is one of Cebu’s popular dining spaces and consistently included on several best restaurant lists.

Abaca restaurant consistently lands a spot on the best restaurant lists

It landed on the top spot of Philippine Tatler’s list for 2016. With the company of Meg Hernandez, Movepick’s MarCom Manager, we made our way to the exclusive restaurant. The dining space is ensconced on the lower part of the sloping terrain of an expansive, gated property offering a view of the private beach and a huge pool, an amenity of the resort.

Meg, my dinner date.

Apparently, Abaca is much more than a restaurant. It is also an exclusive boutique resort with nine suites only, two of which are large villas. We were met by the chef himself, Australian Patrick McCarthy, who offered us a brief tour of the very impressive resort before guiding us to our reserved table at the restaurant. The menu is well curated. It lists a number of dishes that offers seafoods, meats, vegetables and poultry among its courses.

All meals start with a repertoire of bread baked by Abaca's sister company & dips to match.

We started with Salt N' Pepper Calamari (chili salt, lemon and traditional aioli dip for P475) with the squid was perfectly cooked to its tenderness.

The original wood fired flatbread pizza is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes (price ranging from P465–P565). We requested for a half a serving of Margherita (organic tomato, torn basil, mozzarella and parmesan) and half serving of Four Cheese (but the menu stated five: tallegio, asiago, gorgonzola, mozzarella and parmesan).

The wood fired flat bread pizzas are bestsellers.

The flatbread is prepared thin and comes out of the oven really crispy. We opted to skip the salad (we were told the Caesar’s Salad was divine) and had our entrees served.

The crust so thin & crispy, & the topping thicker than the crust.

For me, the Lobster Linguini (with broccoli, asparagus and citrus butter) won over the Truffle Linguini. The dish was rich in taste, the flavors of the vegetables and lobster were distinct which was playing well with the rich white sauce.

The Lobster Liguini is fabulous. What else can I say?

The pasta, which was made in the house with Semolina flour, was al dente. Perfection! Meg had the Crispy Skinned Salmon Fillet (served on a bed of mashed potato and topped with asparagus mash, watercress and citrus), which I had a bite of and said I will have it on my next visit.

Crispy Skinned Salmon Fillet. 

We ended the meal with the chef’s Dessert Tasting Platter (two scoops of homemade ice cream, chilled cheesecake, slices of chocolate brownies and chocolate dish). The ice cream was light in consistency and tickled with sweetness and cheesecakes medley of flavors sang a sweet tune on my palate.

The chef’s Dessert Tasting Platter

I was teased with this amazing meal, and yes, I will say I will come back for more. I can’t wait to take Chef Patrick’s offer to dine in with seven other restaurants of this chain when I revisit Cebu.

Executive Chef Patrick McCarthy shares how he prepared our dishes to Meg Hernandez

Thank you Chiche Alejandre and Chef Patrick McCarthy for hosting a superb dinner.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 05, 2016.