By Michael Karlo Lim
Enye by Chele Gonzalez is SunStar Best of Cebu’s Restaurant of the Year for 2018. Marking its 18th month of serving authentic Spanish fare, Chef Chele himself is back in Cebu to introduce a new selection of comfort food, his favorite tapas, family heirloom recipes and classic Spanish favorite dishes — all still with a focus on fresh local ingredients.
Breaded and deep-fried “blonde” “Little Flemish” Wagyu beef pieces are anchored to a base of toast with Camembert in the Wagyu Beef Flamenquin. The crowd-favorite croquetas come with mixed mushrooms and truffle oil in Croquetas de Setas y Trufa and with mixed seafood in the De Mariscos variant. Vieras Gratinada — gratinated baby scallops with bechamel, ham and cheese, make four in the new series of appetizers that more than just whet our appetites to be good enough as dinner items themselves.
White Snapper and Scallop Ceviche, one of the chef’s new creations, was an eye-opener of a starter. The delicate sweetness of snapper and the buttery flavor of scallops are magnified by the citrusy spice of tiger’s milk — a Peruvian ceviche marinade with coconut to temper the spice and again, curry espuma for subtle punctuation.
Foie gras is always a winner in my book, and it was a double win with a rich and runny poached egg and the deep, darkly sweet port wine sauce with brioche crumbs for texture and chew. A flaky fillet of grouper was stuffed with shredded swimmer crab, baked and served with a local seafood broth to make the third course.
Its classic Paella Negra, oozing with savory squid ink flavor, is now topped with scallops and grilled octopus for more meat and taste in every bite. Lamb shoulder was braised to a fork-tender and served with rustic roasted potatoes and greens in the Cordero Asado de Manera Traditional.
The new dessert lineup didn’t disappoint at all. A dense and savory-sweet cheesecake is topped with a tart red berry compote and paired with the sensational “warm” taste of rum ice cream in the Tarta de Queso Caserta. Choco Mango Cebu is a nod to native dark chocolate and the island’s world-renowned golden produce with quenelles of rich chocolate cremeux and sunny mango sorbet on crunchy chocolate soil with candied puffed rice. Roasted apple pieces with roasted apple ice cream sit with vanilla custard and shards of croquante all covered in a cloud of apple in a delightful deconstructed Apple Tart.
“As Chele Gonzalez simply puts it, dining at Enye is all about good food.”
LOCATION: Enye by Chele Gonzalez is on the lobby level of Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan and opens daily for dinner from 6 to 10:30 p.m.