You say Cebu and I say dried mangoes. I used to associate Cebu with this sweet and chewy delicacy as well as the crispy danggit (dried fish), which most Pinoys crave for during breakfast. Other stuff such as otap (puff bread), lechon and sweet chorizo entered the limelight when my familiarity with the province increased. Diverging from my personal views, what if someone had a eureka moment and fused Cebu’s homegrown delicacies into a food establishment? That’s the story of Hendri Go, owner of east,west Café located in The Walk, IT Park, Cebu City.
Why ‘east,west’? According to Hendri, “The name was from a Salman Rushdie book of short stories. The name is a good way to describe what Filipino food is about, who we are as Cebuanos/Filipinos, and that we are a mix of East and West.” Pretty clever.
The exterior of east,west Café
A top view of the dining area from the restaurant’s mezzanine
The restaurant had its humble beginnings as an espresso bar—a bar and high stool just like those in Italy but squeezed in a small space—across the emergency room of Cebu Doctor’s Hospital. Established in 2000, the objective of Hendri was to create a venue for casual dining in Cebu. When they opened a larger branch, i.e. the one in The Walk, they decided to add food. With the ingredients readily available in the local market, he sought help from a friend who had worked in restaurants in New York to integrate Cebuano food items with Western-style recipes in their menu. The confluence of East and West is now prevalent in the restaurant, from the food and loungey atmosphere to sayings and photos hung on its walls.
East,west is already recognized in Cebu for its delicious crepes and the good value it gives to customers. When asked if he has plans to expand the business, Hendri smilingly reciprocated that he prefers east,west to be a low-profile restaurant as it is right now. “It’s a very personal business. It’s more manageable and less corporate”, he added.
There is no doubt about the quality of the food being served in east,west. My favorite among the desserts is the Mango Sushi – a crepe on a sweet syrup filled with ripe mangoes and topped with ice cream. Mango Crabstick Salad is also a must-try in their menu. I liked the sweetness of the mango purée on al dente spiral pasta plus the freshness and crispness of side lettuce.
Mango Crabstick Salad
Bananas & Hazelnut
Bananas & Salted Caramel
Address: The Walk, IT Park, Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu City 6000, Philippines
Contact Number: (032) 415 8058
Operating Hours: 10:00 AM – 2:30 AM daily
Payment Options: Cash, Credit Card
Members of Pinoy Travel Bloggers in the Sinulog get-together at east,west Café last January 19. From left: Kurtzky, Ilocandia Treasures, Wandering Dylan, Focal Glass, Solo Flight Ed, My Travel Remedy, Whacky Adventures, and Bisdak Explorer