Monday, December 9, 2019

Paradise in Mactan: An Abaca Boutique Resort + Restaurant Review

Abaca is a popular dining destination in Cebu. Known for its superb bakery that serves mouthwatering and picturesque breakfast staples, Abaca eventually grew into a restaurant group that also owns and manages Maya, Tavolata, Red Lizard, Phat Pho and Luncheonette. For years, Abaca has been synonymous to great meals. But not many know that this Cebu gem also manages a boutique resort in Mactan. And it was like discovering paradise.

Hello, Abaca Boutique Resort + Restaurant.
I was so excited to visit Abaca's resort after reading great reviews of this place on TripAdvisor. From butler service to scrumptious food, many guests claim this place to be close to paradise. 
Coordinating with Abaca's reservation team has been a breeze. They were very easy to talk with and we got picked up from Shangri-La Mactan on time.
Regine, one of the staff, was waiting for us when we got to the resort. She ushered us to the resort's restaurant where we got our welcome drinks and complimentary snack. She also took charge in all check in procedures.
Since it was lunch, we also ordered a plate of Fish and Chips (PHP745) just to compare it with the one we had from the other resort. And it tasted pretty much the same. The only difference was that Abaca serves its battered fish and chips with some greens. 
While eating, we were worried to get bitten by mosquitoes and started applying mosquito repellent. 
But we noticed that Abaca actually has several mosquito coil in place. I'm so happy that this resort is so proactive and find ways to make its guests stay as pleasant as possible!
We were then brought to our rooms facing the pool and beach after lunch. And I instantly fell in love with it. 
It felt like home.
The warm interiors made the space cozy right away. Equipped with king size bed, lounge chairs inside and outside our room, complimentary mini bar, cable television spacious bathroom with bathtub and ample plugs, it was tempting to just stay inside our room the whole day. The only downside I could think of here was its spotty internet connection. 
To celebrate R's birthday and his parents' anniversary, both rooms received complimentary desserts. We paired it with coffee which was also complimentary. (The complimentary coffee and tea is available 24/7.)
The pool area has five cabanas shared by all guests. But with only 9 (or was it 11?) rooms in the resort, we always had one for ourselves.
Note that the pool isn't exactly kid friendly with its 5 feet depth. But there are several floaters available for guests.
The only big disadvantage of staying in Abaca is not being able to enjoy the beach as its small spot isn't exactly good for swimming as it's too shallow and rather rocky. But you may kayak around for free. Just be careful as we spotted some sea urchin within the area.
After swimming, we were handed cold towel to keep us cool and refreshed.
We were also served some homemade sorbet and cookies. The mango flavor was great!
For dinner, we got Glazed Beet Salad (PHP725), Octopus and Calamari (PHP795), Mushroom Risotto (PHP995) and Pan Roasted Salmon (PHP1,195). R and I got Cosmopolitan (PHP295) and Mixed Fruit Shake (PHP245) for our complimentary night drinks.
The Glazed Beet Salad had a nice sweet and earthy flavor to it making it a lovely starter. The candied pecans added crunch and complemented the soft beet bits. I also loved that they added Gorgonzola for a salty touch.
I was expecting bigger pulpo chunks when we ordered Octopus and Calamari but we were left with thin octopus slices. Though there was enough to be shared, I would have liked it more if it was thickly cut to give it that enjoyable snappy texture.
I love anything with truffle and Abaca's mushroom risotto cooked with truffle was great in my book! Each bite also had a generous serving of wild mushroom and local scallops.
The Pan Roasted Salmon was cooked to perfection too but I found it a tad salty. Yet it was nothing lemon butter sauce can't solve. Or just make sure to get a mouthful of gnocchi, sweet corn and zucchini too.
We capped the day with a night swim and it was a bliss. With all the other guests tucked in their rooms, we had the pool all to ourselves. 
We decided to enjoy our breakfast by the cabana the next morning and chose Eggs Royale and Full English Breakfast from the breakfast menu. Note that Abaca does not offer buffet like most resorts but it definitely makes sure that you'll be full after your meal.
Each breakfast set comes with your choice of coffee, fruit juice or shake and a basket of bread with jam. 
The thick bacon was to die for! 
The Salmon Eggs Benedict was pretty good too.
You can also request for iced coffee if the heat's too much to handle.
We lazed the whole day and just stayed in our cabana the whole day. 
We were also kept hydrated by Abaca's infused drinks.
We were in for a treat though when Edwin approached us and offered a complimentary half hour foot reflexology. It definitely relaxed us even more.
The sorbet, complimentary drinks and cookies stuffed us that we all decided to just go for USA Black Angus Ribeye (PHP4,700) for dinner.
Served with Sicilian broccoli and creamy mash on the side, one order is actually good for four. 
For both dinners, we also received amuse bouche which were both lovely.
For our last breakfast in Abaca, I went with Breakfast Flatbread while R got the Homemade Spam. 
The flatbread was so good! Generously topped with bacon, mushroom, tomato and a whole sunny side up egg, this dish was just as good as it presentation. 
R didn't enjoy his homemade spam as much though as he prefers his to be fatty than lean. 
I was starting to feel unwell before checking out and it was great that Abaca's gym had a lot of Gatorade. And yes the drinks there are all complimentary as well. I also noticed that Abaca has nanny's quarters and play room for kids near the gym.
Our check out was just as smooth as check in. Regine did all the paperwork for us and all we had to do was pay for our two dinners. It just took longer than expected as I requested for official receipts for our stay. 
Overall, it was an unforgettable stay. I now understand why Abaca consistently bests bigger 5 star hotels and resorts. Its impeccable and personalized service was in a whole different level. I do hope that they keep this sort of hospitality once they renovate and transform into a bigger resort next year.

Abaca Boutique Resort + Restaurant is located at Punta Engano Road, Punta Engano, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.

Abaca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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