Easy Dining at Ecila Bistro (Ayala Center, Cebu)

A trip to Cebu ought to be filled with fun and food, but the Queen City of the South decided to treat me otherwise. Hunger and UV rays, and dry hair to boot. Okay, I get it. I’m so not fit to be a travel blogger.

But I can still talk about the food.

The Ayala Center Cebu open area was a bombardment of gastronomic sights, none of which I got to try: Laguna Café, Café Verde, Spaghetti Factory, Dessert Factory, Siam, Sunburst, etc. The celebrated Yakiniku Wakamatsu (not in Ayala Center) was reasonably closed when lunch came at 3:00 pm. The local suggestion was well taken: Ecila Bistro at Ayala Center.

Ecila Bistro was obviously empty, save for a lone lady with a laptop who might as well have been the owner. American fares at reasonable prices might be its theme, but what we needed then was pronto service. Check.

The oreo and choco banana shakes looked incredible and magnanimously sweet.  After all with Hershey’s chocolate syrup, fresh milk and an empty stomach, what wouldn’t look the least bit good?

The gambas tasted like my mom’s cooking – butter, knorr and garlic. Why, it even looked like it! Shoving one shrimp after the other, it was a miracle that Kremil S was not needed after my meal. Maybe it was all that butter that offered my stomach the much needed protection.

The Rockefeller Oysters looked gorgeously edible, even for the non oyster lovers. When I saw the spinach layer, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a shell, until someone yelled: “Oh I thought it was garlic on top!”

Me: “It’s not? I thought so too. So what is it?”

Oyster eater: “Chorizo bits!”

Me: hands down, sips on shake. “I think I’ll wait for my salmon.”

No way was I eating chorizo. Even when I was eating meat back then, my taste buds denied chorizo’s existence. It was no pepperoni, but the chorizo lovers will consider these oysters a fab new find.

At long last, my grilled salmon came, topped with tomato sauce and what looked like half of a blanched tomato. There were 3 vegetable sticks to be exact: a carrot, a green bean and a potato. Definitely provided for my day’s veggie needs. I couldn’t ask for more. The salmon was fresh and firm, just what you’d expect from a local joint. The sauce was nothing to-die-for and strangely enough, tasted like something my mom would do.

My co-diners had the wagyu beef (with the cute little griller) and baby back ribs (portion-wise, it was more like mommy back ribs). The carnivores seemed satisfied as well.

Credits for Ecila’s fast service and non selfish waitress who listed the wi-fi password on a tissue paper.  With many other entrees in Ayala Center’s expansive lay-out though, I can’t say I’ll be back for more.

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