This is the reason the blog has been so quiet of late. We have been cooking up a new restaurant. :) Antonio Pigafetta was Magellan’s chronicler when they made their voyage in 1520-21. His crudely drawn map of Cebu and Mactan listed the island as Zzubu or Zubu and Mattan, and that’s where we got the name of Zubuchon. Pigafetta was also probably the first Italian (actually Venetian) to land on our shores. So in another moment of madness when we were asked if we could open another restaurant “concept” in addition to Zubuchon at a strip mall, I quickly said, sure, “I would love to open a small Italian place”…
This branch is located at the Axis Entertainment Center on Escario Street in Cebu City. At just 100 square meters, it’s a small space, but can seat up to 60 guests, including outdoor tables. The look is starkly black and white, with touches of locally sourced and manufactured farm-raised mahogany wood tables and accessories. We have areas with machuca tiles, and walls and ceilings are a matte black. It looks very different from anything we have done before, and it goes back to a favorite personal preferred pairing of black and white.
We have a retail table at the entrance, to feature bits and bobs and emphasize the trading nature of the relationship with the Europeans, and we currently have some excellent dry pasta, canned goods, oil and vinegar cruets, cast iron pans, etc. on offer.
Several months ago, we snuck off to China to purchase some of the furnishings, glassware, cutlery, etc. for this and other branches. I didn’t write about that trip, but boy, was that a TRIP!
I particularly like these cast iron pans, which we are selling at a fraction of what branded ones go for, and I suspect they will sell out quickly.
These oil and vinegar cruets were mostly for use on our own tables, but we put a few on the retail table anyway. Notice the water pitchers to the side, which look very similar to a Crate & Barrel version, but these ones cost significantly less.
The set-up is pretty simple…
…but a nice simple.
We have antipasti planks (yes, inspired by Jamie Oliver’s planks) served on molave planks that we made ourselves from a fallen tree that I bought from the neighbors at our office in Cebu.
We have a few hearty soups like a roasted tomato, squash and minestrone.
Our eager kitchen team is led by an Executive Chef Jason Feeney who has really organized the kitchen professionally. I had some input on dishes, but this is mostly his show.
And this branch boasts the snazziest kitchen we have ever assembled. Note the subway tiles, gleaming equipment, compact but complete set-up. If the restaurant fails, I will transfer the entire set-up to our house. :) And yup, I asked the question too, “what’s that? a rice cooker?” but it’s for staff meals.
We custom designed these mahogany pizza plates that I really LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and will probably make more and sell them as well.
A margherita pizza…
…a seafood pizza… and I forgot to take photos of the pasta!
And a pretty darned good tiramisu to end your meal.
Oh, I nearly forgot. For the coffee addicts, we have a small but proper coffee machine, and our newly minted baristas can get you an espresso, cappuccino, americano or whatever you please. And yes, we use Italian coffee.
Soft opening starting this Saturday, October 17, 2015. We will not officially announce the opening until later in the month. Now I can get some much needed sleep.