There is a little piece of heaven and it can be found in Mactan. Santiago Restaurant has just opened giving Cebuanos yet another entry to our very discriminating taste. And yours truly was invited to an exclusive menu tasting last July 2, 2011.
Located in Days Hotel in Mactan, Cebu, Santiago Restaurant is the first and only food and beverage that is dedicated to South American cuisine in the country. Just a few paces away from the Mactan International Airport, you can encourage everyone who is leaving or arriving to drop by for an amazing meal or two.
The restaurant is the brainchild of the President of the Days Brand in the Philippines, Mr. James Concepcion who is also a young and vibrant chef. His successs in food business started with his Ziggurat Food Temple in Makati where he is able to popularize the only authentic Indian, Mediterranean, African and Middle Eastern cuisine selections. These restos only gets to prove his proclivity for the unusual and uncommon.
Be ready to see the world through your gastronomics as Santiago Restaurant takes you on a South American adventure to the best of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Venezuela, BOlivia and Guyana. What was noteworthy is the fact that these countries also use the same ingredients as we do such as fresh seafoods, pork, potatoes, corn, okra, rice and tropical fruits.
The huge menu that you can browse through once seated boasts of 62 appetizers, 62 rice varieties and 40 entree items.
Rice, just like the Asian countries, Latin states consider it a staple too and to be able to much through their Arroz con Carne was quite interesting as it tastes similar to Chao Fan. It is in itself a viand tasting dish.
Ceviche gained a lot of praise that night as it takes raw meat to the next level. The sweet sauce made the tuna taste
so great that I could never compare it to our kinilaw.
Love barbeques then definitely you'll fall for the Anticucho de Cordero every single stick. It was my first time to taste a lamb and as much as it was mild compare to the other dishes, it wins your heart by being itself. It rests between the taste of a chicken and a pork, only healthier.
Vatapa is a dish that merges the best of shrimps and fish in a sauce that amalgamates the flavors of your tomato, peanut and ginger. Bite after bite, it leaves this after taste that you don't want to drink down just yet.
The Boronia on the other hand was a dish that will surely explode your taste buds and I mean that in a literal way since its spiciness and meaty goodness is sure to leave you energized for the rest of the meal. It is the mishmash of eggplant, paprika and some other things in between that is best left for your tongue.
But what brought me to the edge of my seat were the desserts whose local counterparts were my all-time favorite. Coco flan of the Latinos is their version of our Leche flan only with coconut milk which added an interesting pinch than our local delicacy.
Their Tres Leches is the daughter if our local desserts, Pastel and Ensaymada, were to get married. Their sweets could really take you away in a single spoon.
The restaurant was beautifully designed which harmonizes the ambience, interiors, the look of the staff and the music that plays along. Perfect for casual barkada blowouts, business meetings, intimate moments, or family celebrations.
During the launching, there were games after the dinner such as the beer drinking contest and the Pinoy Henyo Latin American version to which I participated with FoodieCraft and won a wine from Chile, Premio.
We even got to meet the Chef Romeo Olanda himself.
Mr. Mario Benitez of Days Hotel came to give us the background of the establishment and the stories behind their dishes.
It formally opens this coming August.
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