DIY grilling

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Friday, April 4, 2014


THERE is an unexplainable delight in having your own meal prepared right in front of you when dining out. To season it as it sizzles, steams or grills to your liking, and when you finally take a bite, have that sense of satisfaction knowing you somehow also had a part of its preparation. No wonder shabu-shabu and yakiniku houses never seem to go out of style.

An addition to Cebu’s roster of establishments that offer this kind of novel dining is Amo’s Café, the in-house food and beverage outlet of Alpa City Suites. Since early last year, the café has been offering the stone grill (alternately, stonegrill) experience, an Australian brand and concept that allows diners to “grill” their meal on a heated slab made from volcanic stone.

Grilling meat on stone sounds a lot like what a caveman would do, though apparently this method was recorded to have been around since the time of Vikings. Over the years it has been refined by chefs and foodies to suit the needs of modern-day meat eaters.

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Marinade is hardly needed in this setup, said the hotel’s marketing manager Anna Galicia. The stone’s high temperature sears the meat faster and seals in the natural juice and flavor—and on a healthier note, also its nutrients.

Diners have the option of going for prime US Black Angus beef, a set of sea bass and scallops, lamb rack, surf and turf, tiger prawns or Norwegian salmon. Each set typically comes with veggies and French fries siding, plus shitake mushroom soup, focaccia bread and baked Alaska, to which Anna piped in are all “freshly made” in the hotel.

Prior to serving, the slabs are heated in a stone grill oven for eight hours and it is served in a ceramic platter that is able to hold its heat, which goes at 400 degrees centigrade. As safety precautions for this DIY grilling stint, Anna said that utensils have been specially designed for this purpose and were all provided by the brand.

The stone retains its cooking temperature for 30 minutes after it is brought out of the oven—allowing diners to grill and season their meal to their own liking, and more notably, to eat at their own pace and enjoy the same fresh-off-the-grill, juicy taste from the first bite up to the last.

Amo’s Café is located on the ground floor of Alpa City Suites in Hernan Cortes St. corner F. Cabahug St., Cebu City. The café is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 05, 2014.

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