Monday, February 28, 2011

Neo Neo in Cebu. So much to eat, so little time.

I just spent exactly 12 hours in Cebu for work -- but you don't go to Cebu without OD'ing on great food so thankfully, there was just enough time to sneak in some serious eating and food buying.
First stop was a meal at Neo Neo, which is a grill joint exactly across the Carmelite Monastery. Neo Neo has both air conditioned and al fresco dining areas but since it was remarkably cool, we opted to eat outdoors.
It was hard to choose from the wide array of fresh seafood -- bulgan, kitang, lapu lapu, tuna, imbao, pusit, scallops, tahong plus plates of sparkling green lato and guso -- well, we would have them all!
Mixed clams for tinola, baked scallops, sinugbang pusit, kinilaw na tuna, two kinds of seaweed salad --- lechon kawali and inihaw na liempo for the carnivores and, oh what the heck -- one order of the barbecued hunk of beef that was slowly turning on a spit right by the sidewalk.
Maybe it would taste even better with all the dust and diesel fumes from the passing cars.
It was a buffet of goodness! The imbao tinola was soured with batuan, the kinilaw was fresh and spicy with sliced sili, Two plates of baked scallops were gone in an instant. The lechon kawali was crisp and the inihaw liempo thinly sliced and very tasty. And the barbecued beef very tender. No diesel taste at all.
The waiters stood around probably making bets that 5 people would leave way too much food uneaten but they were sorely disappointed. We did justice to everything and only the pancit canton survived to be wrapped up and eaten later.
After Neo Neo, it was off to Tabuan for the requisite panic buying of tuyo, danggit, pusit, Carcar chicharon and dried green mangoes, all sealed in plastic bags, boxed up and ready for the flight home.
Work, a good meal and shopping. All in 12 hours.
The joys of multi-tasking in Cebu.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ninyo Fusion Cuisine ... Fine Dining on Big Plates

That sounds like an oxymoron. We have become used to "fine" or "gourmet" dining to also mean high prices and small servings. Nin-yo Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge (quite a mouthful in itself) along Esteban Abada in the Katipunan area smashes those preconceived notions to smithereens.
Ninyo serves good food in huge plates, large servings that could easily feed two.
While prices are not low - the quality and quantity make you feel that you had a good meal with money well spent.
I particularly enjoy their raspberry vinaigrette salad which is more than enough for two.
Entrees worth ordering include the hanging steak, the duck leg confit, the braised lamb shank (a BIG shank) and a deconstructed stewed pork knuckle that has been molded into a rice ring -- think pata tim donburi.
Somehow, the seafood offerings aren't as interesting as the meats but after your meal, make sure you have room for dessert. Ninyo's mango pavlova is worth a visit unto itself.
Set in a rambling two story house, Ninyo's charming and homey ambience adds to a relaxed and comfortable dining experience. The second floor has room for about 12 diners (although I had a private party there once and 15 of us squeezed in) and makes a great venue for small, intimate gatherings.
Or, you can choose to dine al fresco, there are cozy tables set up just outside with fairy lights for a romantic atmosphere.