Imagine a table for 20-22, set on an outdoor deck under some decades old molave, kapok and other trees, with a gentle breeze, the stars above and the twinkling lights of the city below… I’ve been toying with this vision ever since we had a lechon eyeball in Cebu 2.5 years ago. But I hesitated when I realized we would only use it once or twice a month at most. But then when we decided to open two restaurants, which are really just a notch above fast food, I thought it might also be the right time to introduce this one-of-a-kind dining experience, less than 100 meters from the lechon roasting pits, which would ensure eating lechons in their FINEST and FRESHEST state. We finished the deck enough to use it for the first time last night, and fittingly, it was for a special marketmanila.com reader…
Not sure how long C has been a reader, but I think she started actively commenting less than a year ago. She then had major medical issues, which led to major operations, which thankfully, led to her recovery. She emailed me once that she had WIFI in her hospital room and was sometimes browsing Marketmanila.com to keep her amused… I tend to remember those kinds of emails. At any rate, C had planned a trip to Cebu and since the Zubuchon outlets are opening a little later than originally planned, C would have been unable to enjoy our food. So in another MM and Zubuchon moment, we decided to rush our deck and hope we could finish in time to provide a private meal for C and guests…
The space is a simple tiled deck roughly 45 square meters in size on the edge of a sharp drop off on a small hill behind the Provincial Capitol building. It is a few hundred meters from the literal “center” of Cebu (the kilometer zero marker)… The recent storms and heavy rains were a blessing in that the surroundings are incredibly lush and green, but we nearly didn’t make the deadline as the rains prevented tiling and other construction work for days on end.
We used a custom designed and made mahogany picnic table that could seat 12 for the dinner, but two similar custom designed tables are still being made to take their place permanently on the deck. Beside the deck is a brick buffet table, and hopefully in a month or so, behind that will be another area with charcoal grilling stations, a place for a paellera over coals, and if all the stars align and the right person is found, a brick oven where I can hopefully roast small lechon de leches, among other things. :)
We envision the space to be used for private dinners or parties of roughly 20-30 people. A set menu of lechon fresh off the flames and other dishes will be offered in package prices that will range from PHP750-1,000 per head. This space is available by advance reservation only and we hope to have it fully ready in about 3-4 weeks time. So if you ever plan a visit to Cebu, along with friends and family, or you know of tourists seeking that one of kind dining experience, please remember this option… :)
So what is it about Pinoys and “photo finishes”??? This is what the deck looked like 3 days before the scheduled dinner for C! But somehow, the crew managed to pull it off, finish the deck, plant 300 kamuning saplings, clean up the construction debris, cover the buffet in bricks, lay wiring for 7-8 garden lights AND serve a multi-course dinner for C on Saturday evening… And now, for some help from readers… We aren’t quite sure what to call the space or the offering. I thought “Magellan’s Feast” might be nice, but it is too colonial, and besides he was killed in Mactan after he ate heartily. Then “Datu Humabon’s Feast” sounded cool, since Pigafetta wrote in the 1521 expedition’s chronicles that Datu Humabon had served them a wonderful feast on the island of Cebu with roast pig, fish, millet cakes, etc., but then after Magellan was killed and the rest of the crew returned to Cebu, Humabon apparently poisoned many of them at a meal… So I thought maybe “Datu Lapu-Lapu’s Feast” would do well, particularly since my grandmother was utterly convinced we were related somehow, Lapu-Lapu seemed to defy or resist conventional wisdom, was stubborn and proud of his heritage, but Mrs. MM thinks it might sound like a fish feast… So maybe a simple “A ZUBU FEAST” would suffice, but maybe not. So any cool suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :)