Michelin-starred British chef Jason Atherton adds a gourmet touch to Cebu’s dining scene with the opening of The Pig & Palm, his first in the Philippines and the 16th in his highly-acclaimed restaurant group The Social Company.
Opened just last week, the Pig & Palm celebrates Cebu’s reputation as a destination for pork. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of MSY Tower on Pescadores Road in the Cebu Business Park.
“Everyone loves the pig in Cebu. And what do you see when you look around? Palm trees,” Atherton said to explain why he called his newest restaurant The Pig & Palm.
Atherton, who counts three restaurants with Michelin stars in his chain that spans London, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney and now Cebu, added that he wants to develop a casual atmosphere at The Pig & Palm.
The 57-cover restaurant in Cebu serves modern tapas-style sharing dishes, focusing especially on pig-based plates, that utilize produce from local farms. Atherton and Manila-born head chef Tim dela Cruz collaborated over the menu that seeks to highlight the best of Filipino produce.
“I always make it a point to use local ingredients wherever I go. I want to make the menu affordable. I also want to support the local economy,” he said.
According to Atherton, the Cebu restaurant is a realization of his wife Irha’s dream to bring to Cebu some of the success of their restaurant group.
“It gives me no greater joy than to open a Social destination here as my love letter to her,” he added. Atherton, who left Gordon Ramsay Holdings to open The Social Company, has three restaurants with Michelin stars, all in London, including Pollen Street Social which opened in April 2011 in Mayfair, Social Eating House in Soho on Poland Street which opened in 2013, and City Social atop the 24th floor of Tower 42 which opened in 2014.
Pig & Palm menu
Some guests were invited for lunch to the restaurant a day after its opening on July 26, 2016 and introduced to several of the offerings in The Pig & Palm menu.
The dishes served included squid crackers, chicken karaage, chargrilled miso carrots, pork terrine, shrimp kinilaw, and tuna sashimi. Cebu lechon comes in a sharing plate serving, known as the roasted suckling pork in the menu, and with soya onion gravy. For fish, there was the local red mullet in a sea of clams.
A coconut rice pudding topped with coconut ice cream and mango and chocolate moelleux flavored with sea salt and vanilla ice cream made up dessert.
The Pig & Palm is open for all-day dining and after dinner drinks, created no less than group bar executive Jamie Jones who has a reputation for award-winning and innovative cocktail drinks.
The Pig & Palm brings to Cebu such award-winning cocktails as the gin-based “Dill or no Dill.”
Jamie Jones, group bar executive, created a drinks menu of British-style cocktails that make use of Filipino fruits and flavors.
Coff Medicine is a mix of Don Papa rum, kahlua, and espresso, prescribed by “Dr. Lord West” as the drink of choice “after a hard day at work.” It comes in a container similar to a cough medicine bottle and the instruction is to “shake hard, pour into glass, drink immediately.”
Jones said they like calling their cocktails silly names.