I first discovered Aboy's in Bacolod City in the early 90s', when it was just starting out. It was interesting to try a restaurant that locals raved about but which was owned and run by a non-Negrense.
Aboy, I was told, was a Bicolano, an ex-med rep who decided to open up a beer cum grill place.
I remember how much I enjoyed the food, simple yet fresh and well seasoned.
Aboy's was a culinary hit -- a long row of parked cars and full tables attested to its early success.
On this Bacolod week-end, I made sure that dinner on our first night would be at Aboy's.
It is a landmark in Bacolod, a must stop on the culinary tour. Aboy's success has led to an expanded restaurant -- there are now multiple function rooms, a large and spacious main dining area, a kilometrically long counter of food choices, and a glassed in grilling station where your seafood or meat choices are cooked on the spot.
Aboy's grilled blue marlin is the best I have ever tried. We chose a cut near the belly, which made for a more succulent, melt-in-the-mouth treat. Lightly marinated and grilled to the right minute -- it was perfect. Not dry yet not under cooked, no fishy taste or lansa at all.
Another Aboy's favorite are the grilled scallops. I was looking for diwal but was told that it was not yet the season for them. It must also not have been scallop season as the ones we were served were not too big or plump but they were fresh and tender, redolent with garlic and lots of melted butter.
We also ordered mushrooms, wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over the open fire. It was light and simple, with just onion and tomato slices.
The ever present grilled pork belly had to be on the table. It looked and smelled appetizing but I had other attractions --the main one being a perfectly cold bottle of San Miguel Light!