Friday, August 23, 2019

Brave the crowd, enjoy the seas

WHO doesn’t like seafood? Today, celebrating World Ocean Day may be as easy as feasting on the bounties of Mother Nature, courtesy of her oceans. There is always that charm about having to try out something different every once in awhile. In a different context, man certainly cannot live by bread alone, right?

For lunch or dinner tables that have seen so much amount of pork, chicken or beef served throughout meal times, it is quite refreshing to see a place that serves fish by the barrels. And there’s nothing quite like the experience of stepping into the action yourselves. Hugh chunks of deep sea fishes, parts as big as a quarter of a bowling ball, are all spread out on a hot charcoal grill everyday in this place.

Parr’t Ebelle Tinola
Parr’t Ebelle Tinola restaurant's grilled squid (Photo by Arni Aclao of Sun.Star Cebu)

It is a grill so big, that those in charge of the cooking, has an electric wall fan instead of the usual hand fan, to make sure the embers don’t die out from all the juice dripping from the slices of fish.The restaurant aptly named Parr’t Ebelle Tinola, is located right in front of SM City Cebu. Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, the food place attracts customers from all over the country by the bunches. No, the name isn’t French for something else, but is basically taken from a term which locals use to call each other, regardless of gender.

“Parrt! Kamusta? Mangaun ta ninyo, parrt!” You get the picture. As for Ebelle, it’s a name that borrows a few syllables from the names of the couple who owns the place—Jirvee and Joeribel. For the record, the rewards for a person to eat fresh seafood may be easy on the pocket without a doubt. But dining here may come with its own set of challenges.

Unconfirmed whether the environment in the restaurant is a real-life simulation of how schools of fish are underwater, a person (or his group) must brave the crowd and must possess enough skill andinitiative to either, quickly call dibs on abandoned tables or claim the best food that’s being displayed on counter tops as soon as possible.

That’s the price one must pay to dine in a place that serves one of the best and freshest sinugbang isda, tinola and kinilaw in Cebu City.

Yes, folks, dropping by without warning in the middle of the day, a person may just find himself caught in the middle of a rush hour that’s reminiscent of how Banilad traffic is come 6 p.m. Except this one is way better. Hard work and perseverance pays off with a bowlful of steaming tinola or a plateful of juicy sinugba on the table.

“We tell our customers, ‘you have to work hard or you won’t be able to eat,’” joked proprietor Jirvee Bacio. It’s not that the staff of Parr’t Ebelle are stubbornly apathetic to the pleas of the hungry. Nope, they are just in fact, busy attending to their specific tasks from taking orders to tossing fish on the grill. Jirvee tries to be present everyday for work and oversees the operation, trying to run the business as home-style as possible. Parr’t Ebelle’s word-of-mouth popularity and success may be hinged primarily on its good food. The seafood recipes which Jirvee’s husband, Joiribel used to serve at the city pier with his mom back in the day, have apparently become a hit among the public. More than a decade already in operation, the restaurant tries to continue to keep it simple: serve fresh seafood every day.

“We definitely don’t serve fish that’s more than a day old. You won’t find that with our food here,” said Jirvee. True to the hype, locals have not kept the secret well, allowing the restaurant to gain foreign patrons as well. The restaurant has been featured in several publications internationally.

The food place has currently no plans of expanding, banking on a formula that has given it a great amount of success. But it is certainly improving, year after year after year, always wanting to give customers the best seafood it can give.
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