Banana Leaf

 Part of our Cebu tour for our 98 year old grandmother is treating her around Ayala premises so she can sample different cuisines during her vacation. As agreed upon this week, we took her to Banana Leaf, an Asian fusion restaurant. The servers were prompt and polite, genuinely interested in giving her the best service they could provide even though the place was packed during lunch time.

 For starters, we had Thai Style pomelo salad, a fruity and nutty blend of grated coconut, pomelo and greens, a serving of Roti Canai, an Indian influenced flat bread that goes well as is. Once we were done, we ordered granny dearest a set meal of Hainanese Chicken, complete with chicken soup stock, slow broiled pieces of soft meat, Pad Thai, two hearty slabs of baby back ribs and a serving of black curry lamb.

Most of the orders here were somewhat of a disappointment, given the fact that many had coconut as an extender. The Black Curry Lamb didn't even have a hint of curry but just had tons of blackened coconut gratings cleverly hidden as "curry", and the pomelo salad, something we were sure that didn't have coconut cream now tasted awful because of it. The served ribs were so-so, assuming you were into over cooked meat with too much sauce in it. On the good side, the pad thai, the roti and the hainanese chicken were good orders, thankfully.

Banana Leaf, Ayala Center Cebu

G/Lvl. The Terraces at Ayala Center Cebu
Cebu City, Cebu

Verdict: 3/5

I have mixed feelings about this restaurant. Somehow, I feel like they could have done a better job than what they did with the food. Notice how there's a generous amount of coconut sprinkled over most of the food pictures I posted. I'll give them a safe grade average of 3, and the benefit of the doubt.

Ellen's Tuna Queen

As my first entry to this travel/food blog, I will write about this Davao's best kept secret that blown me away.

Many have heard about this house-turned-carinderia hidden inside DBP village in Ma-a, but only a few has actually come to know the place because first, it's out of the way for some non-serious food trippers and second, they are just too hungry to look for it. Lucky me, when the time came that I can no longer hold my curiosity, my brother was free to drive and have dinner with me at Ellen's Tuna Queen. Apparently, he already knew where it was so it just took us less than a 5-minute drive from my spa to the home of the famous Paksiw na Buntot ng Tuna. 

Upon entering Ma-a Road from McArthur Highway, look on the left side of the road opposite NCCC Mall's Vehicle entrance, turn to the street corner after Ortiz Dental Clinic and there's only one house there that looks like a restaurant. For sure you will find cars parked outside, and that's it, you've arrived.

The place is quaint and homey, air-conditioned and clean creating an authentic lutong-bahay ambiance. 

What's more impressive is Ellen, the owner herself is there supervising if not doing the actual cooking. It feels like coming to your favorite auntie's home and dining on her specialty. 

We ordered Lechon Kawali and the Paksiw na Buntot ng Tuna.

The Lechon Kawali was so crispy! and more delicious if paired with the pickled papaya that comes with it. But you don't come to the place for the Lechon Kawali, the Paksiw na Buntot ng Tuna is the queen of the house! I don't eat paksiw but this is the biggest exception! The tuna is soft and moist, cooked just right and no overpowering vinegar taste and smell. Just a hint of sourness and saltiness that made me want to slap my brother's hand ever time he gets some, for P120 per tail, I had to share it with him. I swear I can finish one serving by myself and 1 rice cooker of steamed rice. I don't think there's another restaurant who serves it so just for that reason alone, the place is worth the travel if you're coming from the north part of Davao. If I just knew about it months ago, I could have brought my friends there who came all the way from Kuwait and US to visit me, I'm sure they'd love it too. 

I read that the halo-halo here is popular too but my palate wasn't too impressed. You can skip it and just drive directly to the nearby MTS and have Aling Floppings Halo-halo instead.


Apparently, McDonald's released a new type of burger in their arsenal of food as a response to the newly opened burger house at IT Park, Lahug. They aptly named it the "Big and Meaty Burger", which is composed of a big burger patty topped with a generous amount of sauce, a big slice of melted cheese, slivers of sweet pickles and finally chilled fresh lettuce. The burger meal comes with the typical regular fries and soda that can be upsized to your liking.

Definitely, this burger can compare to the big league of specialized burger stations like "Flame It!" and "Burger King", to name a few. The patty is tasty enough without the that nasty preservative and extender taste you can clearly tell in that one local fast food shop here in the Philippines. Not only that, but the sauce in it complements the meal as a whole. The only drawback of this burger is that I'm pretty certain that it has extra salt sprinkled on top of it, which may affect the taste and quality of the meat. Maybe they should ask the customer if they wanted that on their burger?

IT Park Lahug

Verdict: 3.5/5
The fries were soggy and pathetic, otherwise, the burger tastes great. A good meal for anyone on a budget and doesn't feel like eating chicken. Still a long way to go from being the best burger in town though.

Lemon Grass

We visited Lemon Grass Restaurant yesterday on the way to an office mate's house party for a quick bite of food while they were still out of their apartment. This restaurant offers a curious twist of vietnamese and thai cuisine that's definitely a fresh way to view things when you're tired of the repetitive japanese, chinese or korean meals you'd get if you're hungry and craving for something Asian.

The place had great ambiance and overall presentation, in fact it was so good that it felt like it was nothing when we were waiting for that one last order to arrive. For starters, we had a pitcher their special cold brew with slices of oranges, lemons, mint and basil. For appetizers, we had fresh vegetable and vermicelli rolls topped with their sweet peanut sauce. It was very refreshing and delectable, light too. For the main meal, we had pad thai noodles and grilled Vietnamese chicken. Their pad thai noodles were thick and the sauce is sweet unlike that of the traditional way of preparing pad thai. The grilled chicken tasted delicious and it goes well with the pickled cucumber siding. I suppose they're fond of using cucumber for their meals and sidings. Something I didn't mind at all.  Apparently, we had to wait for 30-40 minutes for the grilled chicken to arrive, but it was totally worth it, and we were quite satisfied with it.
 Lemon Grass
Level 1, The Terraces
Ayala Center Cebu
Cebu Business Park
Cebu City, Philippines
(+63 32) 233.8601



This is a good place to eat, contrary to popular belief.

Cafe Laguna Garden Cafe

This is the first time we brought our 97 year old grandmum out to a decent restaurant in ayala center Cebu. What bothered me was that Cafe Laguna had average PWD facilities, making it almost impossible to use wheel chairs.

Upon entering the facility, the servers were too busy with what they were doing despite the fact that the place was vacant. I never really understood why that was the case, but it continued for 20 minutes tops.

We had their Pinoy High Tea which is composed of mini treats like small buns with tuna flakes, some bibingka (rice cakes), espasol (rice treat with ground rice powder and caramelized sugar), and turon (caramelized sugar placed on top of fried banana). We also ordered an additional serving of Puto (rice cake from manila), puto bumbong (again, another rice delicacy with melted butter, graded coconut and sugar) and bibingka. It seemed like they forgot the serve us the tea once, and when it was served, it was warm.when it should have been HOT, and oh, did I mention that no one wanted to attend to us when we were requesting a few glasses of water?

The food is exceptional I'll grant that. But it seems like we just caught them at a wrong time and date.

Café Laguna
Ayala Center Cebu Branch
Level 1, The Terraces
Ayala Center Cebu,
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City
(+63 32) 231.0922



I'll be fair and give it a passing 3.5 when it should have been a 4.5. Maybe The service will improve eventually.