With its launching first month of this year, Seafood and Ribs Warehouse has opened its doors to the discriminating taste of Cebuanos.
And boy oh boy, Cebuanos sure have high standards for food.
What is SUTUKIL?
To put simply, sutukil revolves around fresh catch cooked your way.
An abbreviated word, SU means sugba or grilled, TU means tuwa or soup and KIL means kilaw or to eat raw.
When in Cebu, go try sutukil as it’s a unique Filipino experience.
Here’s a classy sutukil dinner I’ve experienced at SM Seaside City Mall in Cebu.
Neat and sleek, that’s the first thing that popped into my mind as I stopped outside the restaurant upon roaming around the Sky Park at the third level of SM Seaside City Cebu.
It had a classy unfinished look with a touch of detail to achieve that warehouse theme: decorative wooden pallets, labelled freight boxes, cautionary loading signs.
And rows of lamps that transformed the place into a huge criminal interrogation hall that can seat up to 120 guests in one setting.
Unlike most restaurants where you order from a menu while sitting down at your chosen table, in here it involves customer participation and physically dragging your behind to the ordering counter.
You can choose as a group or better yet assign two representatives, one who handles the budget and the other one who is probably an expert in the kitchen.
The basic premise here is for you to select from the seafood and meat options, weigh them to know how much you’re paying for that specific ingredient and have them cooked based from the styles of cooking plastered on the menu boards.
Challenges in the Kitchen
In a way, giving customers absolute freedom to choose whatever it is that they’d like to eat is a great concept but it would be very difficult to pull this off from a culinary perspective.
Heck, I would not want to be part of the team cooking in the kitchen.
It would not be surprising if there was a delay or a mix up with the other orders and I guess chefs could attest to this that it’s more laid back to cook for a buffet than with this specific type of arrangement.
However, there are also pre-made ala carte dishes to take away the mental stress of the sutukil process.
For a Tuesday night, it took about thirty minutes before our orders ‘in iron pans’ arrived.
At first I actually thought they cooked it in these pans which made me a bit hesitant to touch at first for the fear of hurting my fingers due to the heat, but I guess they just lacked beautiful ceramic.
Filipinos Love Rice
But before I proceed with the details, let me just say that I’m against stopping the unli-rice promos.
However, at PHP42 per person in this establishment? You can already buy a kilo with that.
Anyway, it was our first time to order the dish called Sarad.
I actually thought it was a typographical error for ‘salad’ but I guess it was like an assortment of shellfish cooked adobo-style.
Guess what? It was fantabulous.
However for 786 grams priced at PHP589.50, it was daytime robbery.
For our soup, we ordered their signature Sinigang na Tuhod ng Baka at PHP350. It’s beef in tamarind broth with taro and mixed vegetables.
Was it fall-off the bone tender? Indeed it was.
Was I contented with the meat and bone ratio? Let’s just say that the dish indeed had a lot of veggies.
Although, the sourness of the soup was just about right, not those ones we see in Datu Puti commercials.
Moving on, the 486-gram Chopsuey priced at PHP315 and the Tuna Belly priced at one peso per gram is just a tad unreasonable for me even though they both tasted the way I expected them to be.
Last on this list were three solo orders of American Ribs at PHP250 each.
It actually had a repulsive Mexican flavor to it, was semi-burnt and with barely any meat on it which was actually kind of depressing.
But what surprised me aside from the mashed potato and the Mexican barbecue sauce was a side dish that looked and tasted like adobong kangkong.
As crazy as it sounds, my cousin and I actually combined these four ingredients into one single bite.
You guessed right. It was phenomenal.
If you’re a fan of value-for-money sutukil restaurants like the ones in Mactan and couldn’t care less about the dining atmosphere, don’t come here.
If you’re starving and it is twelve noon or seven in the evening, don’t come here.
If you’re wearing a black polo shirt with glasses, don’t come here as you’ll be asked for the bill.
If you’re not a Filipino who has not tried Filipino cuisine, then by all means come here.
Would I recommend this restaurant? Probably to those instagrammers who can afford.
Would I come back and eat a second time? Only if you’re paying.