Over the past weeks, I’ve noticed some friends post about this new restaurant in their IG stories, so naturally, it piqued my interest. Together with good friends, I finally got to visit CUR8 for dinner. We were fortunate that the owner, JP Chiongbian was present to tell us more about the resto and recommend some dishes to order.
On top of his recommendations was the Dragonfruit Kinilaw – the classic Filipino kilawin is infused with a coconut dressing and topped with dragonfruit to complement the local shrimp and scallops which were flashed over a fire for a firm texture while retaining its raw center. For added texture, they sprinkled rice puffs while aged ponzu jelly added acidity.
I instantly loved their Chicken Karaage, a nice balance between sweet and salty with glazed Thai chili sauce and lemon aioli. Now, my top favorite at CUR8 so far has got to be the Sri Lankan Salmon Curry (this can be served mild or extra spicy, I prefer mine to be mild) – a nice light but flavorful curry, it is best paired with their turmeric rice. The Beef Brisket Adobo screams comfort food and also demands rice. CUR8’s take on this Filipino staple draws from different Southeast Asian influences to enhance the taste and texture with caramelized coconut puree added to the house-made broth for a slightly smoked flavor. The Spiced Monggo Stew is like a warm embrace from a loved one, and it is elevated with marinated baby octopus.
What is Progressive Dining?
CUR8 (read as curate) recently opened at the Banilad Town Centre as Cebu’s first progressive dining concept. The all-day dining restaurant offers their own vision and version of modern Asian cuisine.
“The restaurant opens its doors at 11AM. by 2PM, customers may move on to coffee, tea, and pastries. Cocktails are served at 4PM, when Happy Hour begins, and the restaurant shifts to serving quality dinners. At half past 9, the lights go dim, creating the nightlife mood and ending it at 12.”, shared JP. CUR8 aims to introduce the Happy Hour culture to Cebu, to decompress from work and to network.
Such concept would allow them to capture different “curated” crowds who would visit for good food, drinks, and moods at different times of the day.
I also got to revisit CUR8 for lunch during their intimate event with the media so I was able to try more of their dishes.
The Chicken Satay employs traditionally marinated chicken thighs with spices and pastes made in-house. It’s served with a peanut sauce dip and a papaya salad on the side to balance out the rich flavors.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the Salmon Soba Salad, the chef’s own version of a noodle salad with green tea soba salad, semi-cured salmon and papaya salad which serve as its highlights. Charred bokchoy is served on the side to add smokiness alongside a house-made tomato curry that adds richness and acidity. The Beef Rendang rice bowl with Penang Acar and toasted coconut flakes was a meal on its own.
If you’re not into fish, try the Cambodian Chicken Curry served with mango salsa and holy basil. To cap off our lunch, we had a sampler of their Dragonfruit Cheesecake with vanilla sponge and calamansi curd, truly encompassing the flavors of Southeast Asia.
Our lunch extended all the way to the early afternoon, so it was time to move on to the next phase of progressive dining which was Happy Hour.
The food menu at CUR8 is different for Happy Hour so we tried their recommended Salted Egg Chicken Skin. It’s like “curry-fied” chicken skin, a must try! Perfect pair for my Amaretto Sour.
The man behind the flavors at CUR8 is Christian Bernard and he presents his particular style using farm-to-kitchen produce to create components all made in-house. Each dish explores new ways to use common ingredients, combining flavors to make a one-of-a-kind experience for every guest.
The interiors at CUR8 are highly-“Instagrammable” highlighted by gothic and art deco elements featuring dark, yet rich hues, and geometric details. Behind the design is Kathrynn Dawn Sy, a rising architect and director-owner of Atelier de Aurora Architecture Firm. She also designed the skin clinic I go to, Bodyworx Medical Spa. I personally know her as a blogger and content creator as well.
There are a lot of new restos in the city, which really bodes well for Cebu as we recover from the pandemic, but I must say that CUR8 should be on top of your list to try!
Location: Ground Floor, Banilad Town Centre, Cebu City (space formerly occupied by Formo/Ampersand)
Operating Hours: 11AM-12MN
For inquiries and reservations: 09773280280