Located in his Filipina wife’s hometown in Cebu, The Pig and Palm is the latest restaurant by U.K. Michelin-star Chef Jason Atherton. I heard about it from a fellow blogger, and it had just opened when my family came to Cebu for a wedding. The place was rustic-chic, and by reservation only.
Why “pig” and “palm”? When he was first introduced to Cebu, Chef Jason supposedly associated it with lechon or roast pork, and he also thought that pigs liked to hide behind nipa or palm trees. (Maybe they do?) Hence, “The Pig and Palm”. Sounds simplistic but that’s what the bartender said.
While pricey, the menu was filled with an impressive list of modern exotic fusions. To start, we had the Squid Crakers (PHP 125), which tasted as intriguing as it sounded. It tasted even better when dipped in the aioli sauce.
We also had the Jamon and Cheese Croquettes (PHP 200) as suggested by our server. I’d say the croquette was executed perfectly: crispy outside yet creamy and fluffy inside.
The Chicken Karaage with Sriracha Mayonnaise (PHP 220) was also an interesting combination. I’d say it’s one of the safer ones that evening.
The Slow-cooked Egg (PHP 220) was probably the weirdest thing we had. The concept was a bit hard to grasp. I consider myself to be relatively open-minded, but the eggy mixture of corn, cornflake of seaweed, parmesan and chicken dashi was either avant-garde or just downright not meant to be.
My favorite was probably the Chargrilled Miso Carrots (PHP 150). There was an interplay of sweetness and savor in the carrots, with an interlude of tart smokiness from the baba ganoush and walnut pesto.
The highlight of the meal was a haute interpretation of the native Cebu lechon. Maybe I haven’t had enough Cebu lechon in my life, but the Roasted Suckling Pig (PHP 650) tasted exactly like roasted suckling pig. I didn’t really sense the spices, but maybe my tongue was overwhelmed by the apple mash that came with it. This is one of the more expensive dishes on the menu given the small portions.
Since my brother had an affinity for grilled chicken, he ordered the Chicken Tomahawk Salad (PHP 695), which I didn’t really look forward to eating. However, I came to appreciate the well-spiced meat.
Last but not the least came the Seafood Rice (PHP 400). It was more of a Meloso Paella (saucy paella) rather than a risotto because Arborrio rice wasn’t used, and it was saucier than usual. I liked the symphony of seafood essence and umami, and how it was on the saltier side.
Overall a good dining experience. The modern fusion concepts definitely catches your attention, but neither shocks nor overwhelms in excess. I enjoyed everything except for the slow-cooked egg.
Location: MSY Tower, Pecadores Road, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City
Tuesday to Sunday: 8 AM to 10 PM
Contact Number: (+63 32) 255-8249