IssaEats: Ampersand @ Banilad Town Center, Cebu

 

 

 

Along the halls of the Banilad Town Center (BTC) is a bustling restaurant that is warmly lit and filled with people. With it’s interior looking like it popped out of a movie screen, it is no surprise that people are flocking to go there for the eye party but they find themselves coming back for their great food and excellent service.

 For obvious reasons, I’d most likely find myself at the bar sipping on a Hendricks Jive while waiting for a handsome man to use a funny pick up line on me. I know it’s not really going to happen, this is Cebu after all, but the cinematic appeal of it all is just so dreamy. Indeed, liquor is quicker and I’m looking forward to my next drunken session at no other than at Ampersand.

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Paolo and I really enjoyed this place the first time we went a couple of months ago- up until now he still speaks highly of their risotto which he graced as his favorite risotto in Cebu. It was to my disappointment that I wasn’t able to take enough photos of the first time we went because as soon as I sunk my teeth into my Sous Vide, I knew that I would never be able to spell it without double checking with my spell checker but I would always remember how flavorful that piece of meat was. I loved it!

Fortunately for me, the blogging world has been nothing but kind lately and I was invited a couple of weeks ago to try out more of their dishes. I don’t usually tag Paolo along with me during group invites unless requested so since he had to stay home that night, all critique will just be from yours truly.

Here we go!

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First on the list was this Salmon Tartare, in Dill-Shallot Vinaigrette, Sous Vide Egg White. Quick fact, I only started appreciating Salmon about 5 years ago. Prior to that, I either stayed away from anything raw (sashimi) or fish in general. So basically, I’m still learning how to love seafood but with this appetizer, it didn’t take me much convincing. I loved the vinaigrette kick and the taste of salmon and in fact, I had 4 servings. HA!

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Truffle Scented Mushroom Cappuccino. I’m not a big truffle fan because I don’t find the scent as inviting as others do; although the scent of this soup was a bit too strong for me, I did enjoy the mushroom and cappuccino mix. It was definitely something new to my palate and if this is something you’d also want to try, I’d suggest sharing it with a friend first because it is a generous serving.

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The lemongrass-Turmeric & Ginger Chicken, Baba Ghanoush (phew!) is one of Ampersand’s best sellers… and with well reason. The Baba Ghanoush was the perfect neutralizer to the chicken and everything about it was simply superb. I feel like I made love to this chicken. I feel like I wouldn’t mind making love to it over and over again.

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As mentioned earlier, I’m not completely a fan of all sea food so I honestly picked out pieces of my Seafood Risotto. The risotto I devoured, along with the salmon and prawns but you’ll have to ask something else what they thought of the squid and tuna as I didn’t bother to touch it. I do recommend getting their risottos though just because Paolo loved it and I always support the things he loves… like myself. lol.

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Thyme & Cumin Roasted Rack of Lamb on Green Tea Cous Cous & Vegetable Ratatouille. The lamb was pretty good, and I generally loved the presentation of this plate. By now you can identify the aesthetic signature of Ampersands head chef and he is totally rocking it! I would probably order this dish again but have it with potatoes instead of cous cous if it’s even possible. I love mashed potatoes.

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32-day dry aged Prime US Angus Rib Eye. I truly enjoyed this steak and the fact that you can choose your sidings of either mashed potatoes or a salad. I loved it.

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Fresh Strawberry & Mango Pavlova

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Citron Green Tea Cheesecake, Chocolate Ganache Cake. Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies

My favorite of all the deserts served to us that night were the Mango & Strawberry Pavlova  and the Citron Green Tea Cheesecake. The chocolate ganache and double chocolate brownies were also really good but if you’re like me and you prefer something fruitier than heavy chocolate then I highly suggest my top 2 choices.

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With fellow Cebu bloggers

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Ampersand, which is located at the Banilad Town Center, not only serves dinner and drinks- they also have an impressive display of cold cuts and cheese that can be paired with wine or for take out.

Find out more about them on their Facebook page for events and updates!

See you there,

Issa

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Soak Up @ The Nail Island

10491208_675593249202059_5746619484489761993_n Cabana – /kəˈban(y)ə/

a cabin, hut, or shelter, especially one at a beach or swimming pool. Otherwise known as the epitome of relaxation, if you’re a beach bum like most Cebuanos are, of course.

Located at the ground floor of the Banilad Town Center, Cabana proudly houses everything beach-y from swim suits by Soak Swimwear to cover ups, sunnies and other merchandise perfect for your sun loving needs!

And if in case you can’t get your beach bum on, you can always give your nails the pampering they need at the Nail Island which is located inside the store.

Take a quick break from the hustle and bustle of the Metro and just sit back and relax inside the beach inspired nail salon while you enjoy their many services perfect for your tired hands and feet!

I dropped by Cabana this weekend and the interior, services and the over all feel of the place blew me away!

I indulged in a foot indulgence pedicure and a seaside rush manicure that afternoon and left with an intense longing to dip my feet in the water. But despite my lack for salt water, I now have pretty hands and feet and with my extremely hectic schedule is actually better. 😀

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10410623_675591472535570_4896692760387694484_nCheck out Soak

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Swimwear’s collection of swim wear on

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And Nail Island on

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xx,

Issa

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