Michael Brian Tina

Experiencing life while taking down notes

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Dining at Yakimix

Hey, everyone!

Sorry for the long hiatus. Internet was down for the past 5 weeks, so I wasn’t able to get any content done. But I have a lot of posts lined up in the next few days. Last week, I was able to eat at Yakimix. It’s the latest restaurant to open here in Cebu that features an eat-all-you-can, and it’s surprisingly similar to Tokyo Table, and I also did a blog post about that which you can check out here.

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Yakimix is an eat and drink all you can restaurant that focuses on sushi and a smokeless grill. Most of the cuisine is centered around Japanese and Asian Fusion dishes, with the convenient option to grill meat and seafood as well. It is located in Capitol Square in Escario Street. It’s across Escario Central, and if you see the Jollibee restaurant, just go inside the newly renovated plaza area, and you’re already there.

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Dining at Gibbs’ Hot Wings

Hey, everyone!

I was able to eat at this new restaurant in Cebu called Gibbs’ Hot Wings last week. A friend & I decided to have a late dinner and I suggested Gibbs’ Hot Wings to her because I heard some good things about it from another friend of mine. Social media is all well and good, but the word of mouth is here to stay. It’s kind of a hidden place and isn’t really along the main road. It’s inside Holy Family II Subdivision in Banilad, and if it weren’t for the sign that said Gibbs’ Hot Wings, I would have thought it was just another house. Best to take a cab or bring a car heading here although you can elect to walk as well from the entrance of the subdivision, no one’s stopping you. The guard will give you directions from the guard house which is straight, right, left, and then left. You should be able to spot it from there.

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People in Cebu always love those restaurants that are considered a hole-in-the-wall, and this is kind of like that. I mean, having a restaurant in a subdivision and the fact that it’s so small kind of gives it that appeal that it’s insider info that only a handful of people know about.

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When you get inside, you’ll realize how quaint the place really is. It’s separated into two different rooms with a total of about 8-9 tables, so expect to wait a bit if you come here for dinner on a weekend. However, I like how they have that distinctive giant blackboard with the Gibbs logo and chalkboard writing all over it. Kind of reminds me of Black Iron.

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While waiting for your food, you can write on the blackboard using chalk and it’s something to keep you busy while waiting. I like how it gives off that personal vibe.

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So they didn’t have a physical menu. I ordered from the counter. What was interesting was that they showed pictures of their food on a monitor, and that’s basically where you order your food. Of course, this place, from the name itself, specializes in hot chicken wings, and if you order their Gibbs’ Hot Wings, you have five levels of spiciness that you can choose from. Hot is actually the least spicy, followed by Original, then Insanely Hot, then 2! Intense and finally Freakin Hot. My tolerance for spicy food isn’t really up to par, so we ended up going with Hot. What’s also interesting to note is that there was a price difference depending on what spice level you would choose, Freakin Hot is more expensive than Hot by around 20-25 pesos, so keep that in mind.

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Ordered the Potato Wedges. This was PHP 80.00. It was a generous serving and was served with a barbeque and sour cream sauce. It was really, really good! Something about home cooked potato dishes that makes it taste really good. A great appetizer before you dine in on your chicken wings.

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Our ‘Hot’ flavored Chicken Wings arrived and also came with that Mayonnaise & Sour Cream Sauce. The chicken wings were coated generously with the spicy barbeque sauce, and even though this was the least spicy option, it still had a bit of a kick to it! It tasted pretty good and for 10 pieces for PHP 175.00, I think you get good value. This is good for sharing for two people or for one really hungry person. We paired it with rice which is PHP 20.00 per cup. They also have other options on their menu, like the Angel’s Wings and their Spaghetti with Meatballs. But really, you come here to try out their chicken wings for sure!

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To wash it all down, we had this fruit berry juice in a pitcher that cost PHP 125.00. It’s actually good for three to four people, and it tasted okay. There was another option that looked like it was a lemon or orange juice base, but that was unavailable, so we had this instead. There are also softdrinks and beer options if that’s what you’d prefer to drink.

All in all, dining at Gibbs’ Hot Wings was an interesting experience. The food tasted good and you come here to dine on some spicy chicken wings, nothing more, nothing less. The place itself is hidden and a hole-in-the-wall, but that’s also what makes it endearing and gives it its own personality which makes it worth a visit.

They are open during the following days:

Tuesdays – Saturdays
Lunch – 11am – 2pm
Dinner – 5:30pm – 10pm

Sundays & Mondays
Dinner – 5:30 – 10pm

You can contact them on their Facebook page here.

If you want to make reservations, contact 0949-376-7220.

Well, that’s it! Definitely worth a try. The Burrow Lounge & Bad Boy Wingz are also worth a visit if you want to get your fill of chicken wings., but that’s another post for another time.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Mantayupan Falls & Basdaku Beach

Hey, everyone!

So last weekend, a couple of friends & I decided to go on a road trip! We initially planned for a weekend adventure and I had a really grand plan that would have us going to all the different waterfalls in the south, but we decided to shorten it and make it a one day trip. We went to Mantayupan Falls in Barili and followed it up with a short trip to the beach in Moalboal before heading home.

Mantayupan Falls is one of the main tourist attractions of Barili and is around a two hour trip from Cebu City. You can either bring your own vehicle or ride a bus to Barili.

If you’re bringing a private car, you can opt to take the SRP road to Talisay all the way up to Carcar City. You can stop by to try their famous lechon and chicharon. Once you get to the rotunda in Carcar, you’ll want to go right as that leads to Barili.  It’s about a 30 to 45 minute drive from Carcar and the roads are smooth and paved. Once you arrive at the town of Barili, take note of a 7-11 convenience store on the right side and a public school on the left side. Just go a few meters straight. There will be a  sign on the left side that says Mantayupan Falls that will lead you to make a left turn. Continue to go straight, and you should pass by a market place. There’s another sign on the right side that will lead you to make right turn. A few more kilometers straight and you will arrive at the entrance soon enough.

If you’re riding public transport, you can take a Bus (Ceres Liner is recommended) from the South Bus Terminal in Cebu City. Take the Bato via Barili route. I believe their buses depart every hour. They should stop over at Shamrock and from there you can take a tricycle or habal-habal that will bring you to Mantayupan Falls.

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My friend brought his Fortuner, so we all just opted to chip in for the gas expense. This is the parking lot. Parking fee is about PHP 10.00 to PHP 20.00 depending on the type of vehicle. I don’t remember us paying the parking fee though. There’s space for about 10 cars and a number of motorcycles.

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The entrance fee itself is PHP 20.00 per person. There’s a restaurant, sari-sari store, comfort room and changing room all near the entrance. What first greeted us when we got there were the sounds of karaoke music, which I didn’t like, but it was a good thing that this was a ways off from the actual falls. Still, you can tell that this place has been developed, which is both good and bad.

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After you walk straight from the entrance, you will see some steps leading down and up. Mantayupan Falls has two levels, and what’s amazing is that the local government has developed Mantayupan into a hydro-electric source to power up the town while still maintaining the natural look and feel. Of course, there will be some man made steps and bridges, but it’s more on for convenience and access to the falls.

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If you go to the steps leading up, it will take you to the constructed bridge and access point to the first level of the falls. It’s a short bridge, but you are treated with a view to the second level of the falls as well as some nice rock formations.

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This is the second level of the falls. There’s not much water flowing here, probably because it’s summer time. If you went down from the steps in the picture earlier, this is where you would end up. I didn’t find anyone swimming in the second level.

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Continuing all the way up the bridge, after a few meters, you should start to hear the rush and roar of the falls.

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This is the first level of Mantayupan Falls. It’s about 100 meters and is the tallest waterfall in Cebu! The sight is gorgeous and you can really feel the power of this magnificent waterfall. We got there around 11:30 AM, and what spoiled the view was because there were so many people around. You can’t have it all, right?

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There are lots of tables and chairs situated near the falls, and you can rent a table and four chairs for PHP 150.00. There’s also a bigger table coupled with eight chairs for PHP 250.00. Apparently a friend told me that there’s also a fee for corkage and if you want to grill your food but I don’t know the exact rates they paid. You can also rent a makeshift raft and a life jacket if you want closer access to the falls.

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We ate our lunch, chilled, played some cards and took some pictures. The water was cold and inviting, but we decided to just go for a swim somewhere else. I just ended up staring at this magnificent water form for a while and was just truly amazed. If you’re going on a road trip to the south, this is definitely worth going to since it’s easily accessible and convenient. The only downside is that there might be lots of people who might be thinking the same thing. Still worth it though.

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After we were done in Mantayupan Falls, we drove out even further south and ended up in Moalboal! There’s a PHP 5.00 government fee and a PHP 10.00 entrance fee for the Public Beach in Basdaku. You can also stay at one of the many private resorts and get a more exclusive experience, but the public beach was still pretty awesome for the price. Basdaku is one long shoreline, so whether you stay at a private resort or camp in a tent by the seashore, you’ll still end up in the same beach.

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The sand is white and powdery in feel. The water is clean and clear during the high tide. This is a really nice place to go snorkeling and diving if you’re into that, but even just swimming and enjoying the waves by the shore is a delightful experience in itself! We rented out a table somewhere for PHP 300.00 for day usage. Next time, I’ll just bring a tent so we can chill in the shade and possibly even make it a cheap alternative for an overnight stay.

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There’s just something about the sand and the sea that makes you feel calm and forget all your problems. Although I generally prefer waterfalls, it doesn’t take away that the beach experience in Moalboal was definitely stunning. Really, a road trip with your friends will treat you to some awesome beaches, waterfalls and mountains. We have it really good here in Cebu. It doesn’t have to be expensive as long as you all just rough it out and plan ahead.

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And as the sun set, we enjoyed the last swim of the day, packed up and headed back to the bustling city. A great start to the summer season and a prelude to one of the many more adventures to come.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Ironbound Coffee

For the past few weeks, on the way home from work, I’d pass by this huge tarpaulin that read “Hello Cebu!” on it. It really intrigued me and then I later found out it was a newly opened coffeeshop and bakery. It had a really unique name and I really wanted to try it out, so a couple of workmates and I headed out there last Friday evening to try out their coffee and pastries. Today’s feature is going to be on one of the new places on the block, Ironbound Coffee & Bakery.

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Ironbound Coffee & Bakery is located in 13 F. Cabahug St., Mabolo, Cebu City. If you’re coming from Ayala, once you go straight from the intersection and past Barbeque Boss and after Bread After Bread (see what I did there?) it should be in the next two corners on the right side. There should be a huge tarpaulin like on the picture above for you to spot. They are open 7 AM – 12 AM and they just opened last February 14, 2015 on Valentines Day! Mind you, they are still on their soft opening, so do keep that in mind.

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They’ve got an ambitious menu, and I’m pretty sure a lot of the food on this tarp wasn’t on the menu yet, but hopefully in time they can add it to their menu. They had another tarp that mentioned they were serving meals for the whole day, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. But again, since they were on their soft opening, it was just pastries for now.

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They have a promo for the month of March! If you order 1 large drink, hot or cold, you get a free Hong Kong Waffle! Nice little touch to bolster more sales for their soft opening and to ease the crowd into trying their coffee and other offerings.

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The place itself was fairly small, probably about 5-6 tables and some chairs by the counter top. We were still deciding what to order.

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If coffee isn’t your thing, they’ve got lots of softdrinks, tea, beer, and other alcoholic drinks. I do believe they also have some wine choices available.

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Some of their pastries up for grabs. It was already late in the night at around 11:30 PM, so most of their pastries and goodies were probably already gone by then.

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Here is their coffee menu. An assortment of hot and cold drinks in various sizes, as well as what they call 3rd Waved Coffee.  There is Syphon, Pour Over & Aero Press. Basically, these are different kinds of ways of brewing coffee with a different kind of apparatus. It’s different from the usual instant or brewed coffee that we normally see. We’ll get more into that later. Here are some of the drinks we ordered.

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Hot Cappuccino

My friend said that the Cappuccino was good. The usual reliable hot drink.

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Iced French Vanilla

I ordered the Iced French Vanilla. Milk at the bottom, and coffee on the top. Mix it together, and you have a creamy iced drink with the sweet bitterness and fragrant aroma of coffee. It was good.

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French Vanilla Latte

I always enjoy seeing the coffee art from the froth. My friend said it tasted good as well.

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Syphon Coffee

My friend wanted to try the 3rd waved coffee, so he ordered a cup of Syphon Coffee. This apparatus was really unique, and I was really interested in watching the whole process from start to finish. Basically it uses a partial vacuum and vapor pressure to brew the coffee. Water is heated in the lower chamber as evidenced by the red flame, and is forced up the stem and evaporates up into the upper chamber.

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The water starts to accumulate in the upper chamber and it is then mixed with the coffee grounds and stirred for about a minute or so. By this point in time, the coffee is already brewed. The whole apparatus is taken off from the heater and is allowed to cool a bit. Due to the pressure difference and the gravity, the liquid passes through the stem and goes back down into the lower chamber. There’s a filter in the stem, so all the coffee grounds will be left in the upper chamber.

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Detach it, pour it in a cup, and it’s ready for drinking! I was amazed the whole time I was watching this. I’m not a coffee connoisseur by any means, but coming from a guy who just gets coffee from a sachet or from a vending machine, this was pretty jaw dropping. The whole process in brewing coffee like this was very calculated and very scientific. It was such a treat to watch! They told me that a medium sized brew cost PHP 189.00 and if you ordered this at UCC in Ayala, it would easily be around PHP 500.00 per brew. They use what I believe was called the Supremo blend of coffee beans. I tried a sip, and it was pretty good. My friend, who regularly orders coffee from the major coffee shops like Starbucks & Coffee Bean, said it was a real good cup of coffee and was worth it.

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Hongkong Waffle

And here is our free Hongkong Waffle! I will admit, it was a bit raw on the inside, but still pretty good. The sides were a bit crispy, which was nice. It was good to pair it with the coffee we had. Cooking it just a bit more would have probably made it taste way better. But hey, everyone loves free waffles, right? Take advantage of the promo for the whole of March while it’s still in effect!

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Here’s a picture of me and some of my workmates. Over-all, the place is still in its soft opening, and we were the only customers there, so you’ve got to cut them some slack. The coffee itself was pretty good and reasonably priced for what you’re getting. They have Wi-Fi, and I believe they are still working on their air conditioning. Their staff is still in the process of training, and they’ve still got a ways to go, but I think the appeal of their affordable 3rd Waved Coffee will entice people to check it out.

I was pleased with the visit. You should find the time to stop by and have some coffee over at Ironbound and have someone order the Syphon Coffee so you can marvel over the unique way the coffee is being brewed. Definitely worth a try.

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You can check out their Facebook page here.

You can also contact them at (032)405-2987.

I think that’s it! As always, if you liked the post, please share, like, comment, reblog and whatever other forms there are of support on social media.

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram all @mikes41720. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to sound off on the comments section below.

My next blog post and feature is of an adventure we had last week! It was a trek with some friends to see some mountains and waterfalls, and boy, is it one hell of a story. Excited to share that one with you guys.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Dining at Black Iron Cebu

Hey, Everyone!

Hope you’re having a great week. After that last post on Gabby’s Closet Cebu, it’s time to switch it up a bit and bring you a food trip review on another newly opened restaurant here in Cebu. If you’re a fan of burgers, steaks and high quality beef and meat, then get to reading because you’re going to enjoy this one. Today, we’re going to feature Black Iron Cebu.

I was able to eat at Black Iron around sometime last week, but I heard it opened on September 2014, so this was long overdue! A couple of friends & I had been planning to have a food trip for a while now, and since my chef sister always recommends new places to try out, I thought, why not Black Iron. I was excited as my sister knows her food, and any place she recommends usually ends up being pretty good. She was not wrong on this one. On Tuesday, we set out for dinner with hungry stomachs and raring appetites.

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After about an hour in traffic, we finally arrived at our destination. Black Iron is located at Ginza Compound, J. Panis Street, Old Banilad Road. If you’re coming from Ayala, when you get to the intersection, left going to IT Park Entrance, straight going to Country Mall & BTC, right to some subdivision, you take the north-east road going to Cempark. Go straight a bit, then Ginza Compound should be on the right side and you should be able to see it from there. Black Iron is right next to Patio Isabel, so hopefully you should be able to find it without much trouble.

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The place is decent sized, but by no means large. It’s fully air conditioned, and they’ve got around 8-10 tables. They’ve also got some interesting design on the walls. It’s a giant green chalkboard, and you can write love messages or graffiti drawings on the wall with colored chalk. This gives it a personal feel, which is nice, although I’m not sure if it’s exactly sanitary if and when the chalk dust might rub off onto the food. Maybe just something to note if you easily get allergies or something.

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I took a picture of their menu on the side. Not much variation to the menu, but there’s more than enough for you to be able to choose something. Burgers, steaks, and some side dishes and salads for the most part. I don’t think they had any dessert options though, which some could find lacking. Hopefully they’ll be able to add more options along the way. I took pictures of the dishes we ordered, so if you want to take a look at what the Monster Chops or the Cowboy Steak looks like, then continue on scrolling! As you can see, they are a bit on the pricier side, but it’s well worth it for the quality of ingredients that they use, particularly the quality of the beef.

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I like how their burgers have lots of options with regards to buns, meat, condiments and side dishes. We ended up not ordering any burger, but I’ve heard that their burgers are good and the next time I come back, I’ll definitely order a burger and let you know how it tastes.

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Thought this design piece on the wall was interesting. It’s a collage of gift cards from a lot of US Retail Stores like Macy’s, Sears, Nike, American Eagle, Lowe’s, Chili’s, and a whole lot more. Feels very American.

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Black Iron is part of the American Beef Club, and they proudly display this plaque as a testament to that. We are proud to serve High Quality U.S. Beef. I’m not exactly sure what goes into making U.S. Beef, but damn, they have some tasty beef!

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My friend wrote his name on the wall chalkboard and placed his Instagram and Twitter account! Little things while waiting for our order.

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Something to note, they are still cash only for the meantime, so please keep that in mind before bringing a credit card and no cash! Boy, they are fully stocked! Heinz ketchup bottles and softdrink cans for days! Right in front of that Sto. Nino, you can see that gold plaque that reads member. That’s the American Beef Club I was talking about earlier. Their staff are very friendly.

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Here’s where the action goes down! I like how they have a clear glass display that shows how they cook your burgers and steaks. It’s a nice touch for those who like to cook or are just curious in how it’s being made.

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This was particularly funny. Their washroom has the insignias of Stand2P and Sit2P, which made me chuckle as it wasn’t the usual men & women indicator. I sure hope you know which is which!

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There’s just something about Heinz tomato ketchup that tastes so good. While waiting for the order, one of my friends actually just placed ketchup on his plate and used a spoon to eat it directly. I don’t blame him. There’s also Tabasco, Mustard and our ever popular Knorr liquid seasoning!

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Ordered their Raspberry Iced Tea  for PHP 85.00 per pitcher. It was good for 3, and I like how their glasses are in a jar. It’s also at PHP 55.00 per glass if you just want a single serving. It was pretty good, you could taste the distinct flavor of raspberry mixed with the iced tea. One pitcher serves about 6 glasses, so it’s pretty good for sharing.

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Angus Baked Spaghetti

It was priced at PHP 250.00 per serving and it comes with a piece of toasted bread. Here’s how it looks before you mix everything together.

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And here it is after mixing! It was pretty good, you could definitely taste the Angus beef portions. This is one of their lighter meals though, so it’s good for sharing. But I didn’t come here to eat spaghetti, I wanted a thick slab of steak and beef!

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Monster Chop

It was priced at PHP 295.00 and boy was it worth it! Just take a look at how huge that portion is. It’s a lot for one person and this can definitely be shared. It comes with one rice, but I suggest ordering extra rice in advance, because you’re going to need it! It comes in a sizzling plate and has some vegetables on the side. The seasoning was just right with the correct amount of salt, and the pork was real juicy. This is one delicious dish. Highly recommended if you don’t plan on ordering steak. Well worth it for the money.

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Angus Beef Burger Steak

I ordered the 1/2 lb for PHP 360.00 or you can get the 1/3 lb variant for PHP 240.00. It comes in a sizzling plate with rice and some vegetables on the side. First bite was sumptuous! The sauce of the burger steak was delicious and the beef was extremely juicy. This is that high grade US quality beef coming into play. Some mushrooms on top and some spices give it that extra tastiness. Again, highly recommend this dish. If you’re used to the usual burger steak from Orange Brutus, you’re in for a pleasant surprise here.

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Cowboy Cut Steak

It’s 1 inch thick and it’s priced at PHP 1,100.00 which seems really expensive, but that’s what you pay for when you want the highest quality beef. There’s also a 1 & 1/2 inch variant that is a bit more expensive at PHP 1,350.00. It comes with a serving of french beans, mashed potatoes and grilled corn. Not in the picture is their homemade cream pepper sauce, which was pretty good too. What can I say about their steak? It was really juicy. This was cooked medium well, although I would have preferred it to be medium rare to have it be a bit more juicy. But boy, is this delicious! You get what you pay for. Your wallet might be crying, but your stomach will be thanking you afterwards. Again, the meat is real juicy and the seasoning is just right. It is grilled to perfection. Over-all it’s simple, but the dish manages to bring out the flavor of the high-quality beef.

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Well there you have it! Black Iron Cebu is definitely a bit of a sleeper and is still kind of unknown to a lot of people in Cebu, but more people should try this restaurant out if they want high quality beef dishes. It’s on the pricier end for a full meal, but you get what you pay for in terms of ingredients. Save up a bit, or wait until it’s payday, and indulge! I would definitely recommend going back here to try out some of their other dishes. Be sure to bring your friends!

You can contact them and make reservations at 0933-985-6888.

They are open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 11 AM to 10 PM.

You can find their Facebook page here.

You can also follow them on Twitter & Instagram @blackironcebu

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Here’s a picture of some happy faces. Smile for the camera, even if you’re actually really hungry already!

As always, if you liked this post, please feel free to comment, like, share and reblog. You can follow me on my Facebook, Twitter & Instagram accounts @mikes41720. If you have a question or inquiry, feel free to comment or let me know, and I’ll try to help answer. Be sure to check my blog for the next upcoming post, whether it’s another food trip, review or adventure under the stars!

Until next time,

Cheers!

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