While researching about our accommodation (Movenpick Cebu Mactan Island), I also familiarized myself with their facilities and discovered that there’s a beautiful beach club, Ibiza Beach Club within the hotel’s compounds, just a couple of minutes walk from the resort’s private beachfront. Ibiza Beach Club is marketed as an exciting night spot with indoor and outdoor restaurant areas, live entertainment (fire dances, live bands etc) and even a mini pool. The lovely white-washed Ibiza Beach Club also boasts a spectacular panoramic view of the ocean and sunset.
What caught my (and my travel companions’) attention was their Churrasco Buffet! One of the experiences I’ve yet to have (even in Singapore) is having a Balearic Churrasco buffet. Churrasco dining has its roots in Latin America and it basically involves lots of indulgent grilled and seasoned meat. Unlike other buffets where you head to the chaffers or carvery to pick up your slice of meats, the chefs or waitstaff walk right to your table side and serve you the cuts of delicious roasts, sliced before your eyes from the large slabs. We knew this would be a real indulgence at P2,000 nett without wine (approximately S$57.28) and P2,500 nett with free-flow wine (approximately S$71.60), but we thought, “Why not! We’re on holiday!” Also, we decided to just go with dining there on the last night as two European guests we met at the pool raved about it while we were hanging at the pool one evening. We chose the no wine option as not all of us would be drinking.
The live band playing that night was really quite awesome and we really had a good time singing or tapping our feet to the beat. The environment was really chill and things moved pretty slowly that evening. The dinner buffet starts from 6:00pm and ends only at 11:00pm and you can start by helping yourselves to the salad bar, cold cuts and cheeses, but take my advice, grab some greens (not too much) and just save your tummies for the really juicy delicious grilled meats!
Dips and sauces for the grilled items for your seafood, chicken and red meats
Sides served on your plate include grilled sweet corn, mash or garlic fried rice and roasted vegetables
Waitstaff, Allan, comes to our table to serve us our cuts of grilled meat
So how does it work? It’s pretty straight-forward. You’re given a little round chip that has a green and red side. Green means “Go” and “Please continue serving me.” while red means “Stop” and “I’ll skip or I’ve had enough.” I’m not sure why there is a need for this, but I’m guessing if a table has mostly red chips on the table, the waitstaff will skip over and head to only those with chips with green side up.
When you settle down, you’re served with several sauces and dips as well as sides to go with your grilled meats. You’ll find grilled vegetables and sweet corn and a choice of either garlic fried rice or some mash. We were also briefed by the friendly staff that there would be a total of 14 dishes (a mix of seafood, meat and dessert) for the buffet. As with most Churrasco buffets, don’t expect any particular order of meats to be served. Generally, once the roasted or seafood items are ready, the waitstaff will pop by your table and start dishing them out.
We found service a little slow and there were “lull” periods during the meal where we were just waiting for food to be served and we got quite hungry at the beginning of the meal as we waited for each item. However, whenever the waitstaff on duty arrived with the grilled items, we were always blown away by the quality. We also quickly found “favourites” and asked him for seconds or thirds and he always happily dished out more of each item for us. That felt really nice and it made dining comfortable.
There was so much to savour: roast lamb, large juicy grilled sea prawns, a hearty selection of different grilled beef cuts, grilled chicken, ostrich, parrot fish, pork belly and the list goes on.
My favourite were the prawns because they were so sweet and succulent even though they were grilled. Mostly the prawns were also super fresh, so I had many servings of this. It was quite embarrassing but never once did our assigned waitstaff made us feel like greedy monsters. He was always so smiley and cheerful, encouraging us to have more if we liked it and understanding when we skipped over certain items. His service was excellent!
Of course, not everything I had was agreeable with my taste buds! Some of the items were a bit dry but in general, I really enjoyed the buffet experience and thought it was a nice way to dine under the stars, by the ocean, from sunset till late.
Sweet and yummy grilled pineapple for dessert
When you’ve had enough of meat, signal to them to ready the desserts and you’ll have your plates cleared and replaced by a dessert plate. We had a very palate-pleasing serving of grilled pineapple. It was so beautifully grilled and just absolutely yummy! I was so full at this point and I still proceeded to stuff myself silly with two slices of it.
I don’t regret blowing that much money on the buffet although I didn’t have as much as I expected. I really did over-estimated my eating capacity though.
Ibiza Beach Club
Punta Engano Mactan Island, 6015, Cebu, Philippines
Open Sundays to Thursdays from 11:00am to 12midnight.
Open Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00am to 2:00am.