A feast like no other, a churrasco experience that’s far from anything we have here in Manila; indulgence of pure meat and seafood glee. That’s what I had in Ibiza Beach Club at Movenpick Hotel, Mactan Island, Cebu. Undoubtedly the highlight of my recent trip to the region. Fourteen courses of unparalleled enjoyment of all things grilled, either meat or seafood, each course as impressive as the next, I was utterly blown away.
A personal favorite among the stuff we had, grilled lamb chops, oh perfection; tender, succulent, ever so flavorful. I could go on and on with praises on how good this was but this was really the star of the feast perfectly seasoned with olive, peppercorn and fresh thyme. It was definitely love at first bite for me, eye-popping, mind blowingly good. If not for the other thirteen courses of their churrasco buffet, I would’ve gorge on these beauties that’s perfectly matched with their red wine butter and chimichurri and enjoy it with those heaps of garlic rice that it’s served with.
FILLET MIGNON – tender chunks of beef wrapped in bacon, what’s not to like? Perfectly cooked chunks of meat encased in this bacon wrapper that gives it that kick in flavor and the toasted parts of crispy bacon happiness that we all love. Flavor that’s simple and downright good, a combination of two things I like,couldn’t help but get seconds of the fillet mignon after finishing the fourteen courses.
Young leg of lamb marinated in garlic and rosemary, having tried the lamb chops first, this really failed in comparison, the meat was tender but the flavors were more subtle, notes of garlic and rosemary permeates through the meat balancing any trace of gaminess to it making it more enjoyable.
CHICKEN THIGH lightly marinated in their special rub, This was surprisingly good, something that they perfected, flavor that’s evident to every strand of the meat, ever so succulent and the outer bits had this toasted, charred bits that further titillates your palate and gives every piece a more interesting texture.
RIBEYE — a must-try for its marbling that makes for a really tender and juicy meat, the first cut that I had was a bit over cooked, I prefer my beef medium rare, requested for that doneness and the meat presents with this really juicy and flavorful slice, got the sides with the trimming of fat, charred ribeye fat, ethereal.
OSTRICH marinated in garlic, rosemary and olive oil. A healthier alternative among the meat choices, most often than not ostrich tends to present with this really strong gaminess that I’m not really fond of, however the marinate was able to mask all that flavor and present with a well flavored cut of meat, I was pleasantly surprised.
PORK BABY BACK RIBS – smoky flavor with sweet and sticky synchronicity, a lighter blend of the wet rub from tropical fruits and their homemade barbecue sauce presents with this really tender meat that falls of the bone, it’s best paired with grilled corn on cob and maybe some rice.
I really think their BEEF RIBS was the better choice (for ribs), smokey, savory flavor that permeates throughout this slow-cooked piece of meat, as if every strand was enveloped by this lovely barbecue sauce, it goes really well with their garlic rice and grilled corn on cob.
I think this was a rather peculiar addition to their churrasco buffet, thick pork belly slices deep fried, with the fatty bits almost melting on your mouth and the skin presents with this crispy, chewy consistency that heavily remind me of chicharon (fried pork rind), hit it with that sauce of soy and vinegar to balance all that richness and it pairs well with their garlic rice.
As one go through the fourteen courses, remember ;you MUST save room for the seafood entrées and dessert.
Fresh catch of the day (PARROT FISH) marinated in white wine, lemon, and fresh herbs. Lightly charred outer bits makes for a light and crispy outer layer then it presents with a light and flaky meat, hit it with some lemon and herbed butter and it’s all good!
ROCK LOBSTER – Fresh local lobster marinated in garlic, lemon, and cayenne pepper. Now this is really frustrating, as they served the lobster it exudes this killer rich aroma, got me all giddy and excited to gorge on this seemingly sumptuous piece of seafood, they stopped me though, a recent allergic reaction after eating lobster held me back, drowning in envy as fellow foodies raves on and on about how good the lobster was and how it’s goes really well with a lot of clarified butter and some lemon I tried my best to look away, then this beauty was served at our table….
JUMBO PRAWNS marinated in garlic, salt and cayenne pepper. Thank God I’m not allergic to this crustacean! Lovely pieces of gigantic prawns steeped in this lovely garlic-y concoction with a nice hint of spice, tried it without any sauce first to fully appreciate the flavors of the marinate and it was love at first bite, strong hints of garlic and a nice tinge of spice from the cayenne left me wanting for more. Hit it with some clarified butter next and it gave me utter bliss, just lovely,
CALAMARI – marinated with herbs and spice sprinkled with red cayenne and paprika. A piece of squid that’s cooked beautifully, ever so tender then you get that nice hint of spice from the rub and that tinge of heat perfecly accentuates the tender meat of the squid.
For my sweet ending I got Caramelita to pair with their grilled fresh pineapple, another thing that you should try when you’re dining at any of their restaurants is the Movenpick Ice Cream, all good!
Their grilled pineapple was a revelation! Marinated in nutmeg and cinnamon, it presented with this really nice, candy-like caramelized outer bits, then you hit the actual fruit and a burst of sweet tropical flavors delights your palate, hit it with the cinnamon soil and ground nuts on the side for some spike of nutty flavor and texture. Then I hit it with the ice cream, a scoop of caramel goodness that really pairs well with the grilled fresh pineapple.
When in Cebu do yourself a favor and try the Churrasco Buffet at the Ibiza Beach Club of Movenpick Hotel and Spa, truly a fine feast like no other, pure meat and seafood indulgence! Buffet rate is P2,000 nett or P2,500 nett with a free flow of red or white wine.
Ibiza Beach Club Cebu
Moevenpick Hotel – Mactan Island Cebu,
Punta Engano, Cebu, 6015
Mactan, Lapu-Lapu, Philippines