Yesterday’s balut was only the third that I ate for the last five years in my life. If my memory still does not betray me, the most recent one I devoured was during December of last year. Prior to that was a random evening in Donsol way back in 2011.
So you could probably say that I am not the biggest fan of this Fear Factor-esque Filipino delicacy, which has already become one of my de facto ice breakers when conversing with a foreigner who’s new to the Philippines. “Have you tried the balut (fermented duck embryo)?” is almost always the question that I ask next to “How do you find our country so far?”
But I actually do not loathe the balut. In fact, I grew up eating a lot of it especially during college. I somehow even missed it. That’s why when I scanned the menu at Planet Grapes a few months ago, I made a mental note to really try one in my next visit.
That visit thankfully happened sooner than I expected. Right after my good doctor-friend Albert checked my injured leg, I invited him to join me for a late Sunday lunch. Our visit also coincided with the celebration of the restaurant’s first anniversary in Cebu. For the whole month of October, Planet Grapes offers the Flight Fest where dining guests can sample 6 different wines for Php 275. It’s a great deal I must say as this encourages everyone to try new wines and explore new wine pairings as well.
For instance, the briny balut I had, paired wonderfully with a pinotage and surprisingly, a blanc too. Who would have thought that this beloved street food could actually be enjoyed with a fine glass of red and even white wine. After all, there are no hard, intimidating rules at Planet Grapes as it espouses drama-less and pretense-free food and wine pairings. You can be assured that you won’t be judged for your choices here.
If the balut is not yet your idea of a good starter, you can choose from the other UFOs (Usually Filipino Offers) on the menu – Chicken Isaw and the PG Super Sisig, to name a few. There are sandwiches and pasta options if you want something light.
Since I am trying to watch my weight these days, Albert and I shared the utterly fall-off-the-bone BBQ Pork Spare Ribs which went well with the excellent glass of Vinum Cabernet Sauvignon (2012). I now understand why this particular dish is one of the bestsellers at Planet Grapes.
We ended the afternoon with the toe-curling delicious Turon Trilogy – banana and ube melded in a spring roll wrap and garnished with a jackfruit caramel sauce. It is a snazzier version of the classic Filipino snack and paired well with a sweet moscato.
I did not become a sommelier after merely 6 glasses of wine of course and I may never become one in my lifetime. But I still enjoyed trying out new wines and experimenting some of these with excellent dishes such as the balut, the ribs and that turon at Planet Grapes.
I also made pairings that did not make sense. But maybe that’s the whole point at Planet Grapes – no one really cares. Just like most life-mantras, you just move on, to the next glass in this case and try again.
Aside from the Flight Fest, Planet Grapes Cebu invites everyone to celebrate with them in their month-long celebration:
- Enjoy a complimentary beverage – craft coffee (11 AM – 3 PM), house blend iced tea (3 PM – 6 PM) and a glass of wine (6 PM – 11 PM) from any of the available wines at the Enomatic machine when you order an item (Planet Grill, appetizer, pasta, sandwich and Sunrice) from the menu.
- Get a chance to win Php 5,000 worth of GCs by reposting and captioning this Instagram photo. For the full details of this giveaway, please visit here.
Planet Grapes Cebu
Level 4 New Wing, Ayala Centre Cebu
+63 32 266 0526