Gastronomic greetings-A A +A
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
IT'S lunch break and there's only an hour to spare. A downpour is starting, heavy and depressing. Traffic is not making things any better. You're stuck, of course.
A favorite fast food chain is a block away but the craving for something else beyond the "instant" category calls out.
"How come a good meal is too much to ask for on a rainy day?" you ask.
Patience is a virtue, dear. Look around the corner; you might find exactly what you're looking for-a restaurant to settle your gastronomic complaints. As the Spanish term would have it, "Ola!" or hello, from the eponymous restobar, Ola.
The imperial dining space along Escario St. in Cebu City is a refuge for every hungry gourmand from the noisy (and saturated) world outside. Don't be intimidated by the posh appeal, though. The ambiance, the music, the food, the drinks-you deserve the elegant collaboration of everything, after all!
"Finally!" you sigh.
With barely seven months in the scene, Ola has been accommodating the public to an elite yet affordable dining and drinking experience one doesn't always find in other venues.
The plan was to put up something "unnatural" right at the heart of the metro. Good food, good music, good atmosphere, that is, as how the owners position the boutique restobar. But sometimes, people define Ola as a cocktail bar only. Gotta check its Mediterranean fusion of Asian cuisines!
Ola has a fixed, classy menu of seafood, meat, greens and sweets carefully crafted by its resident chefs whom by the way, are trained by a prominent restaurateur in Cebu.
Sitting in sweet lemon-ginger sauce is the grand steamed lapu-lapu, Ola's fish offering stuffed with ginger, spice and lemon.
The bounty of the ocean is also caught in Ola's seafood marinara, a platter packed with crab, clams and shrimp. Camouflaged with the orange texture is pasta to complete the meal.
Ola's angus rib-eye steak presents itself as a stellar main course in tender, juicy cut served with mashed potato, corn and carrot cubes. Shrimp salad, on the other hand, is a burst of leaves and healthy ingredients graced with shrimp toppings. A sinful ender comes in the temptation of cassava-choco roll.
Such splendid lunch! Got extra time to lounge away later? Ola might still be the cozy spot after a long day at work. Why, it does not only boast of its dainty fare. When evening falls, the restaurant is converted into a chill out bar basked in neon blue lights, music and fun. It only takes about five minutes to set up the stage of live bands and entertainment. Sometimes there's bossa nova; sometimes alternative or disco rock. Performances are from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
To set the mood of the party is Ola's digestive breadth of beers, cocktails, wines and select fine spirits. To quote one of the owners: "People say we got the best mojitos in town. Who knows?"
The signature drink "Ola Organic" is a bomb; an original item extracted from the chemistry of orange, cucumber, mint leaves, basil, apple, calamansi, lime, Bacardi Superior and Triple sec. Also maximizing on fruity flavors are Choco Chola, Ola Delicioso, Ola Organica and Ola de Sangruia.
Ola Restobar is open daily from 11 a. m. to 3 p. m. and from 6 p. m. to 3 a. m. It's located at the ground floor of The Maxwell Hotel and no, it's not the latter's lobby.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 23, 2014.