Marketman’s Feast…

The “brief” was a private dinner for just 14. The guests included several local tourists, guests to Cebu, and several foodies amongst them. This is only the second private dinner arranged at the outdoor terrace of Zubuchon, the last big eyeball had 50 people and it wasn’t as intimate. This one was exactly what the space was designed for…

Earlier in the afternoon, I sat down at the table, checking the space between diners, the flowers, testing buffet placement, etc. While the two tables can comfortably seat 20, the dinner for just 14 allowed for a spacious gap between diners, big enough to serve dishes and drinks properly, but not so big that you wouldn’t talk to your neighbors. We are still learning and practicing, but lighting issues are slowly being resolved and we were quite happy with the set-up at this dinner.

We have just three menus for this outdoor space, our Magellan’s Feast at PHP15,000 for 20, Datu Lapu-Lapu’s Feast at a bit more, and finally, Marketman’s Feast at PHP30,000. This was a scaled version of Marketman’s feast. The main difference in the menus is the number of lechons or dishes on offer, and most importantly, in Marketman’s Feast there is a whole tanguigue laid out of the buffet for a la minute preparation of kinilaw a la Marketman. The kinilaw is dependent on acquiring a fine fish, worthy of the dinner…

The buffet featured 10-12 dozen white gladiolas, angled out of glass vases. We also added capiz lamps to the buffet and dining table with votive candles in them, to mirror the capiz lamps hanging above the table, with low wattage incandescent lighting. We still need to figure out a way to brighten up the buffet a bit more…

A huge downpour the evening before at about 8pm meant we were really tempting the fates, doing an outdoor dinner in the midst of the rainy season. But despite an ominous and incredibly dark cloud at dusk, the weather cleared up and a full moon was our only constant heavenly companion that evening.

This terrace is built on one side of a 6,000+ square meter lot on the top of a small hill. You enter it from a crowded, narrow street, and many guests probably thought they were being taken somewhere rather questionable… :) But as soon as you get out of your vehicle and walk towards the lights, this terrace becomes visible and it’s a wonderful, private way to enjoy a sumptuous meal. Sorry, no photos of the food — as soon as the guests arrived all cameras were were put away, and I was serving up kinilaw and taking folks through the various dishes. And no, Marketman’s Feast doesn’t typically include Marketman as culinary guide… It just so happened I was there for this particular event. :)

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28 Responses

  1. MM, those are wonderful shots and I bet the feast is equally great.
    Been a long time reader but very rare that I post. Just wanted to let you know that marketmanila has been an integral part of my culinary journey. I have to thank you for that.

  2. Hi MM, I am no economist/accountant/finance person but I am ‘worried’ that your profit margin must be meager, given the amount you charge vis-a-vis the quality of service, food, and presentation you provide! And ah the ambience…If I were erap, I’d order that too.. :-)

  3. As always, the table settings are as fascinating as the meal itself, about which I hope you will also write in the future.

  4. Love the chairs! They’re more ‘bagay’ with the bricks and table, instead of the previous whites.

    We had dimsum at Royal China Raffles and the total was around S$200 for 6 persons. We did not get full and had dessert elsewhere afterwards. So the P15K for 20 is reasonable indeed!

  5. From 750 to 1500 per head sounds extremely reasonable, considering the attention to detail and the quality of the food. I guess there would be some comparison between Marketman and Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung, with both serving lechon and being held in unique non-commercial settings. Great job for promoting Filipino cuisine.

  6. Hi MM. I apologize for my earlier comment. My husband said I went overboard and may become a fish pan awardee. I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to question your financial ‘decisions’ and be paki-alamera but one of the comments from one of the ladies upon seeing the setting was: “Hindi kaya lugi si MM diyan? Mura sumingil sa masarap na pagkain tapos ang dami-daming bulaklak pa”… Everyone echoed the same sentiment..and I was the foolish one who commented to you about it..Sorry, I honestly meant no offense!

  7. I love the rose centerpieces with the capiz lights! The white gladiolas look really good too. I’ve never seen them used in the exact same way before. It’s all very lovely :)

  8. Lovely setting, Marketman. It would have been nice to escape there at this very moment. The atmosphere here is so eerie after yesterday’s what can I call it—incident?

  9. Hi MM, I like the set-up! The terrace works just as well for a smaller group of 14. Glad you’re thinking of ways to improve the lighting at the buffet table, it does get dim in spots. In the meantime, will e-mail Joan for menus. :)

  10. I’m not sure if you mentioned about it in your previous posts, but I simply fell in love with those CHAIRS! Where did you get them?

  11. Really elegant.

    So is the name of your place Marketman’s Feast? I think it’s brilliant.

  12. Gej, haven’t decided on the name of the place, but there are 3 options for set menus… Magellan’s, Datu Lapu-Lapu’s and Marketman’s (of course the last one is the most expensive…hahaha). Elodie, yes, the weather that night was brilliant. PITS, thanks. faith, got the chairs at a Cebu furniture retailer, I think they are made in China… Kai, you can find them at the large furniture shops… I have forgotten the specific name of the one in Mandaue (reclaimed area) near S7R where we got some chairs. Irene, yes, it’s getting better with each use. We will be making improvements to the barbecues as well to get higher and more intense heat… atbnorge, yes, horrible news from Norway… I hope the country heals after such a vicious attack. MP, no need to apologize at all. Yes, we have very fine margins, and the first goal wasn’t purely profit driven, but in the long run we need to be profitable and sustainable… and as a numbers guy, I am watching those numbers carefully… :) The setting was there for decades, we just took advantage of the site and now others can enjoy it for a sumptuous dinner in full privacy… Actually, the question to ask is how much we can pay for mediocre food and mediocre settings, and yet many of those places flourish… :) happywapper, thanks!

  13. Love the capiz lamps! Simple and elegant floral arrangements! Lovely outdoor setup! :)

  14. What a very lovely setting, napa ka romantic!!! Sir MM, may i ask, how do you ward off mosquitoes or any other insects (if there are any) that may crawl when you set up dinning outdoors? These had been my problem when we try to eat outside the terrace. Thanks for the advise.

  15. Odie, we have lots and lots of tanglad or lemongrass planted nearby, and that seems to help. But we do place several burning katol coils on the property at least two hours before dinner to ward off the bugs… but oddly, they didn’t seem to bother anyone that night until LATE in the evening… when all the katol had long burned off… I suspect the smoke from the barbecue grills also helps somewhat…

  16. MM – where can I avail of the menu for all your pre-fixe dinners? What is the pre-set number of guests for one dinner to push through? Who do I email? Thanks.

  17. I don’t think its the katol that keep them away….I think you need to keep a small portion of the Zubuchon on the grill to keep the mosquitos, crawler and bugs busy :)

  18. Maybe a propane fuelled mosquito trap would help. I saw it being advertised in a local magazine. It converts the lpg into co2, which attracts the insects and traps them. It’s supposed to be quite effective and probably has no odor. I don’t have the contact details though.

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