Food courts are charmers. Whenever I step into one, my hands itch to go around and buy all the guilty indulgences my eyes get glued to (IF I have the money, of course). So, if you find yourself an easy victim of food courts like me, you'd know it doesn't always mean "cheaper" meals. But the best advantage is having a buffet-like spread with a pretty wide variety to choose from. Variety and quick meals are the key words here. From Filipino food, to Japanese, to Dimsum, to Mexican, to lechon, fries, shakes, etc., you can have a variety of these at a considerably good budget.
Speaking of food courts, one established food court brand that has been around since 1994 has just broken into the restaurant scene. Island Grill has proved to withstand the test of time and has finally joined the restaurant bandwagon.
It's never hard to admire humble beginnings. Island Grill opened their first branch at SM City Cebu food court and became one of the restaurants to bring the carenderia dining experience to a higher level. From there, they branched out to Ayala Food Choices and two more branches in Davao, making home-cooked food readily available to customers in malls. Twenty years in the scene, they have gotten a stream of regular customers for their all-time Visayan favorites like Tinowang Isda, Sinugbang Baboy, Piniritong Lambay sa Bayanan, Batchoy and Binignit.
A Filipino meal would normally be the last thing on our list of choices whenever we dine in the mall. But whenever that craving for downright homey cuisine hits us, Island Grill is probably the most affordable one with a decent dining space that allows just enough room for some privacy in comparison to noisy, crowded food courts. For more or less P100, you can have your fill!
Island Grill was originally owned by the parents of the current proprietors, siblings Nino and Hedy Bascon, who are of Ilonggo roots. Thus, it's not a surprise to find some hints of Ilonggo flavor in their dishes. Some recipes are even from their grandmother.
Here are some of the dishes they have that we all know by heart:
Their La Paz Batchoy contains their homemade noodles and is taken from the original La Paz recipe.
This biko is one of their family recipes. I loved this. It's a blonde version of the ones we usually have and it wasn't too sweet. The balance of the coconut milk and the latik or caramel sauce made my hand mechanically keep slicing off a chunk and stuff it in my mouth. Uggghh. So good.
4th floor, Ayala Center Cebu
Sm City Cebu
Abreeza Mall, Davao
Facebook: Island Grill