I could clearly see Mark’s reaction as he relished the last bite of the Spanish-style bangus (milkfish). He enjoyed every chomp of it and was ready to take another slice.
Mark settled just few seats away from Kezia who was seating opposite of me. Fronting Mark was the platter of the Spanish inspired dish containing the last two pieces – which, at my viewpoint, appeared as the last remaining chunk.
Everyone else was busy taking photos of the newly served food, thus I have to stand to take my milkfish share.
The Seafood Treat
When I took my bite, I found peace in the midst of the food paparazzi ruckus. With the right proportions of sodium and spices, I could distinguish well the glutamic tang of the fish. It suited perfectly with my palate.
I learned later that the Spanish-style bangus underwent special “curring” and marination processes before the actual cooking to curb the natural flavors of the fish.
The dish alone satisfied my seafood cravings.
Sinanglay na isda was then served. It was made from fish strips wrapped in bokchoi or Baguio pechay, stewed in coconut milk, simmered to thicken, and topped with cayenne peppers.
It could have been another favorite if they had chosen the right fish. I prefer skipjack tuna and the likes for this type of cooking. The cream dory did not work for me.
Ocean garden also served us Japanese tempura and the popular calamari in wooden, rhombus-shaped platters. Both were sided with especially flavored dip.
Baked scallops, a mainstay to seafood restaurant menus, were also available for everyone’s consumption.
The chili crab was surprisingly flavorful, piquant, and appetizing. Its scoville units did not overwhelm at all. Instead, it enhanced the innate flavors of the crustacean.
The sauce penetrates deep down to the meat layers, thanks to the shell nicks which allowed that to happen. Kudos to the Chef!
Options for those not into Seafood
For those allergic to seafood, Ocean Garden had a work around. They served the Cebu Food Crawl participants with chopsuey, pork barbecue, golden honey chicken, etc.
The restaurant also serves crispy pata and crispy dinuguan, but we weren’t able to try them because we already had so much food on that visit.
Desserts and Quenchers
For dessert, the cinnamon pudding was a good treat while the glass of guyabano (soursop) shake made the meal complete.
I also tried their garden refresher, a drink made from lemon, mint, and cucumber extracts. It was a perfect quencher, pretty good for cleansing the palate before the awesome munch.
About the Ocean Garden Restaurant
The original restaurant was founded in 1998 at Sanson Street, Lahug, Cebu City, catering authentic Cebuano cooking. A fire in 2013 made the restaurant owners decide to cease operations.
With the efforts of one of the owners, Ocean Garden opened back its doors in a new location to serve its patrons with sumptuous local cooking. Following the original concept, the restaurant serves both seafood delicacies and meaty dish.
The restaurant also displays fresh finds at the receiving area to give guests an idea on what’s available in the kitchen.
For Reservations, please contact the following: