Cebu Food Restaurants

The Oriental Spice Gourmet

By on March 23, 2014

Chef Cyril was busy manning the squeaky clean stainless steel counter when I arrived at The Oriental Spice Gourmet in Basak, Lapu-Lapu. It was a little over 10 AM and his small restaurant, which used to be a secret shared by expats working nearby, foreign divers and students, was largely empty. He manages it with Maryann, his long-time penpal and now wife.

Later I would witness that by lunch time, the regulars would soon trickle in one by one. And the restaurant, if you take away the A/C, would then remind you of your favorite hawker center in Singapore, in all its intoxicating scents and beautiful frenzy.

It took me so long to visit Oriental Spice Gourmet because of two reasons. First, it only opens during weekdays**. Cyril explained that since he does all the cooking, he may not be able to maintain the quality of every dish when more customers would come during the weekend.

oriental spice gourmet - spicy beef

Spicy Beef

The Malaysian chef, who spent a decade manning a Wagamama restaurant in London, has never been fond of shortcuts, MSG included. Proof of that is their best-seller Spicy Beef, which was the most tender rendang I’ve ever had.

“Really, you did not use coconut milk here?” I asked Cyril with a mix of disbelief and astonishment.

He confirmed that again, adding that you can only have this melt-in-your-mouth rendang when you patiently cooked the beef cuts for hours, over flame and not using the pressure cooker.

oriental spice gourmet - mee goreng

Mee Goreng

Our Mee Goreng was served next, which was stir-fried just a few minutes earlier. Cooking using a wok is a skill that takes years and years of practice. Many aspiring chefs have to endure the heat, not without minor burns along the way, in mastering the technique.

Cyril only uses the freshest local meat and vegetables. However, they had to buy most, if not all, their spices in Malaysia or in Singapore. Those that come in convenient packs available in our groceries, just wouldn’t cut in for him. Don’t be surprise then if the restaurant is closed for a couple of weeks every year, when they are probably on vacation. restocking the spices that they need.

That he puts that kind of premium on quality, perhaps more than anything else, is indeed mind-boggling. Yet you’d be happy to know that despite that, almost every dish in the menu is at Php 150.00. Cyril shared that they are able to drive the price insanely low since they own the building the restaurant is on.

oriental spice gourmet - aachari chicken

Aachari Chicken

My fellow foodie friends and I, also had the Salted Fish Pork and the Aachari Chicken. The latter in particular was concocted in Cebu. Cyril thought of this recipe when he noticed the abundance of cheap tomatoes in the province.

oriental spice gourmet - salted fish pork

Salted Fish Pork

But the fitness hypocrite that I am, I stayed away from the rice. While the Rothi Paratha made our experience more ‘Asian’ than it already is, I think that the sauces from the Aachari Chicken and the rendang especially, are best drizzled and then enjoyed over a heaping of rice.

oriental spice gourmet - roti paratha

Rothi Paratha

The other reason why it took me long to visit this restaurant is that it is located in Mactan. Other than the overrated sutukil stalls at Punta Engaño or the pricey buffets served at chi-chi resorts in this island, I did not have a compelling reason to endure the traffic in crossing the bridge just to have a worthwhile dining experience. In all honesty, there are many restaurants, eateries and pungko-pungko to choose from in Cebu City.

I am glad to be wrong finally. This restaurant should be one good reason as it is among the very few affordable restaurants that I know, that serve fresh food, fast.

And if I wanted to sample again a wide variety of South East Asian cuisine, Oriental Spice Gourmet, will be worth the long drive and the wait

 

Oriental Spice Gourmet
Basak, Lapu-Lapu City
+63 32 4060814
+63 32 3406084

Menu: Please click here and here

**Update: OSG is now open Wednesdays to Sundays, 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
They have also moved to a bigger space, a few more meters after the Jollibee branch near MEPZ 2. It is right across the Science and Technology Education Center in Basak, Lapu-lapu City

TAGS
RELATED POSTS
15 Comments
  1. Reply

    estan

    March 23, 2014

    murag lami na diha da 🙂

    • Reply

      brennan mercado

      March 23, 2014

      Yes bai Estan, lami sa Oriental Spice Gourmet. Di ka magmahay. 🙂
      Welcome to Baktin Corporation!

  2. Reply

    the broken halo

    March 23, 2014

    looks good.. too bad I miss this food trip.. and the chef is malaysian…

    • Reply

      brennan mercado

      March 23, 2014

      Hi Chai, you can still try out Oriental Spice Gourmet. But I will be back on a Wednesday lang, when they would be serving Hainanese Chicken Rice.

      Kaon na pd ta next. 🙂

  3. Reply

    jcm

    March 23, 2014

    Lol at fitness hypocrite bren! sarap naman diyan!

    • Reply

      brennan mercado

      March 23, 2014

      Hypocrite talaga JCM. Nag gygym kunwari pero nagboboneless lechon naman afterwards. 😉

  4. Reply

    Mustachio

    March 24, 2014

    I wish I lived in Mactan…if only for this hahaha 😀

  5. Reply

    brennan mercado

    March 24, 2014

    I agree! 🙂

  6. Reply

    Lady Anne Abit

    March 24, 2014

    The food looks really good. Sayang, I couldn't drop by Cebu on May.

    • Reply

      brennan mercado

      March 25, 2014

      Hi Lady Anne! But if there's a change in your itinerary, do let me know. I'll treat you and your hubby to boneless lechon. 😉

  7. Reply

    Anonymous

    May 5, 2014

    hi. can you please tell me where this is located in basak? any landmarks nearby? thanks.

    • Reply

      brennan mercado

      May 5, 2014

      Hi, Welcome to baktin corporation! 🙂 If you're coming from the old bridge, the nearest landmark would have to be the Jollibee right after MEPZ II. Just a few meters from that, you could see a 3-storey complex. Oriental Spice Gourmet is on the 2nd floor.

  8. Reply

    Anonymous

    May 5, 2014

    thank you soo much. you are of big help! 🙂

    • Reply

      brennan mercado

      May 5, 2014

      No problemo! 🙂 Please say hi to Cyril and Mary Ann for me!

  9. Reply

    Adrenaline Romance

    August 29, 2016

    We tried it here. Delicious meals indeed!

LEAVE A COMMENT

Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

Awards
Best of Cebu Blog Awards Best of Cebu Blog Awards
2015
    Best Food Blog
    Best Creative Writing in a Blog
    Finalist, Best Travel Blog

2014
    Finalist, Best Food Blog
    Finalist, Best Travel Blog

    Grand Winner, Visit Davao Tuloy ang Byahe Experience Blogging Competition.
    Winner, 2013 TLC Asia’s The Layover contest
Book your next travels here:
Archives