How great is it to have quality food choices right across Chong Hua? Hospitals are generally not fun places to be in, but good food makes for a small consolation. The Luncheonette in Robinsons Cybergate offers plenty of comfort food for this type of situation.
It was a Sunday morning and the wife was in the labor room. I had time to kill and wanted to distract myself from the impending arrival of the baby. I decided to have breakfast and hospital food just wouldn’t cut it. ( It’s a boy!)
When I walked into the Luncheonette, I first noticed the casual feel and the open kitchen – a good sign. Open kitchens in restaurants keep them honest. After having read Kitchen Confidential and finding out what happens inside kitchens, an open kitchen shows confidence in the chefs and their ability to make good food.
The layout of this particular restaurant is even more honest. Diners can sit right in front of the kitchen as they make your food. If you’re paying attention, you’ll know exactly what goes into your food. You’ll see it as it happens.
I heard raves about the Reuben (I forget, but I think it’s a corned beef sandwich – not the type of corned beef you are thinking about – the nice kind), but I was in the mood for an honest to goodness burger. I ordered the Luncheonette Burger. No frills, no weird combinations, no tricks, just how I like it – a good patty (5 ½ ounce patty blend of USDA beef brisket and chuck), quality bread and fresh ingredients. The photo does not do it justice. I liked it enough to go back and try something else.
The next time, I got Jake’s Hot Chicken. It was delicious! It’s not the easiest to eat, but the chicken was so good. Even the menu description sounds scrumptious, “Our chicken is brined in buttermilk and our special blend of spices, served on a toasted a.b.c. bun with creamy coleslaw, blue ranch & very spicy hot rub.” The chicken was crunchy in the outside and just right in the inside. This crunchiness is exactly why I loved it. It’s also the reason why it was not easy to eat. Lots of crumbs. Oh well… can’t have everything.
More Than the Food
Abaca is the sort of company that could easily serve you high end pretentious food. In fact, the original Abaca restaurant is exactly that (minus the pretentious part). It’s exclusive and very pricey, but the Luncheonette is a step towards opening up their doors to everyone who wants good quality food.
They’ve literally stripped away their walls and shown us the inner workings of a quality kitchen. You’ll find nothing fancy, just fresh ingredients and people who care about food. This care towards the food trickles down to everyone in the restaurant. Haven’t you wondered why their waiters and waitresses like to ask you how you thought of the food? They aren’t afraid of criticism. They’ll take it head on. This is how a group like Abaca has been able to flourish with numerous quality restaurants all over the city.
Because of the open kitchen, more astute foodies could probably even decipher exactly how to make an Abaca burger just by looking at them create it. But they would miss the point, eating in an Abaca restaurant is about the whole experience, the food, the people and the ambience. You know exactly what you get. There are no walls after all.
Recommended: Jake’s Hot Chicken, The Luncheonette Burger, Reuben
Price: P200 – P300
Location: Robinson’s Cybergate, Don Gil Garcia Street Capitol Site Cebu City (right across Chong Hua Hospital)
Store Hours: 10AM to 9PM