Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015
Seafood Chop Chop



I don't respond well to demands but when something as compelling as the interiors and menu of Sands Restaurant managed to get my attention, I'm effortlessly disarmed of my dining anxieties. I’ve dined in at a handful of upscale restaurants in my previous visits of Boracay, the Philippines' island paradise, and I intended to keep my next dining destinations at par with those for my revisit this year. Toxic Metro Manila could only choke my taste for the supreme on site. Away from it (traffic and all), I was free to make my own decisions where to eat and cavort. Anything less would be a useless throwback to my travel momentum. My next meals had to be of 5-star resort quality. It had to be within the luxurious space of Discovery Shores at an appealing beachfront that's designed in good taste.

I revisited Boracay with friends barely a week ago at the tail’s end of a passing typhoon and I expected the shoreline to be chaotic. And it was. At least at some points of White Beach's Station 1 and the whole of Station 2. The typhoon season made its imprint clear at the beachfront via a temporary fence shielding various establishments from the unforgiving sea breeze. The result was dining sans the view of the sea at night. During the day, various guests had to contend with the elements. 

Chicken Binakol
Kilawin Na Tanigue
Frozen Mercedes

Pleasant Station 1 Location

I could only be thankful for the pleasant location of Sands Restaurant for lunch, dinner, and buffet breakfast. I had the convenience of stepping out of my booked Junior Suite and stroll for a minute to reach the upscale high-ceiling dining area that's considered as the 5-star resort's F&B facility. It’s decently located at the beachfront but not arrogantly close to the surf. It's also nowhere near rickety bars that can be a source of whiny regional music wafting in the air. At whitewashed Sands Restaurant, the ambiance was pleasant. 

Splendid Lunch

Upon check-in at the resort, a late lunch was in order. Friends at the table were all over the fresh-tasting Kilawin Na Tanigue and Green Mango & Jicama. I, however, stayed away from both since I have a sensitive stomach. Instead, I started with delightful sips of the comforting Chicken Binakol, an Iloilo-inspired dish based on coconut meat and water. It made sense to be organic that way since we were surrounded by coconut trees anyway. It tasted smooth, a sublime contrast to the crunchy Crispy Pata that we also ordered along with the savory Beef Steak Tagalog. 

It was wonderful that Pampanga cuisine was also represented in the menu via the Paco Salad which was served in an interesting plating, a departure from the usual round plate that I've been accustomed to seeing it served in other restaurants. Taste-wise, I couldn’t complain especially since the chief component – the fern vegetable – is a rarity at the island. 

Waffle Sandwich
(top left) Beef Asado; (top right) Pansit Palabok;
(bottom left) Chicken Longganisa; (bottom right) Cheese Krainer Sausage
Bonton Chicken
Boodle Fight

We decided to be experimental in our succeeding lunch the next day, sampling plates of the restaurant’s version of the Korean Bulgogi and Squid Ink Rice. An order of the Bonton Chicken was a fitting balance to the set because of its succulent crust. Its japaleno-mixed coleslaw gave it an interesting kick in flavour. 

To capture the exotic mood, we sampled the zesty and sweet salad called Seafood Chop Chop which was perfect for the semi-humid mid-day. An additional order of Fish Tacos sealed our lunch and gave way to the sweet-ender called Frozen Mercedes, a colorful dessert that brought out the kid in me. 

Squid Ink Rice
Boodle Fight Dinner

For dinner the next night, we returned to the restaurant and surprised ourselves with its much buzzed about Boodle Fight, something that guests can arrange with the restaurant 24 hours prior to the dining schedule. The combat-style eating with friends made my second night at the island more memorable as we all gorged on typical island-oriented viands using our bare hands after the ritualistic washing of the hands next to the long table. 

Buffet Breakfast

Buffet breakfast at the 5-star resort was equally memorable. My breakfast plates included Chicken Longganisa, Cheese Krainer Sausage, Beef Asado, hash brown, fruit salad, two types of bacon (soft and crunchy) and a special request of Waffle Sandwich with Chicken, Bacon and Egg. I spotted other breakfast options such as Pansit Palabok with Egg, Crispy Fried Okra and fruit varieties. The buffet roster offered guests a lot of choices when it came to breads and bread spreads which I found appealing. Even a sampling of its pandesal was readily available in toasted or soft. I jumped on the luxury of being able to order off-the-menu dishes for breakfast such as the tasty danggit and crispy palad (the crispiest I’ve sampled so far in my travels). 

Soft Bacon

It's rewarding to opt for the best of a location. At Sands Restaurant where cooking is ambitious, fresh and full of flavour, the reward is more than a filled tummy. It can easily translate into a fulfilled vacation, an elegant one at that. 

Address: Station 1, Balabag, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan, Philippines 
Phone: (02) 720-8888

More Photos Below:

Korean Bulgogi

Bread Spreads

Fish Tacos
My buffet breakfast plate
Crispy Pata


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