If you’re from Cebu, you’ve probably already heard of Mactan’s newly opened resort destination – Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort. As one of the top tourist destinations in the Asia Pacific, Mactan, Cebu has yet to have another hospitality and travel giant to cradle with Marriott International’s first resort opening in the Philippines.
But like every luxury resort, its hospitality and state-of-the-art amenities are nothing without a world class restaurant. Let me share to you my personal experience dining at one of Sheraton Cebu Mactan’s restaurant – DIP Nikkei.
What is Nikkei?
If you have been a reader of this blog for some time now, you would know that I love story telling and maybe just like me, you are probably wondering what the word Nikkei means. So before we go into the food itself, let us briefly talk about the history of Japanese influence on Peruvian food and how Nikkei came to be the modern cuisine that we know today.
Nikkei cuisine was a fusion born out of necessity, by Japanese immigrants who came to the shores of Peru at the dawn of the 19th century to find their fortune with fecund farmland and gold mines.
Simply put, Nikkei cuisine was born as a result of the fusion of Japanese techniques, recipes and traditions that comprised with Peruvian ingredients. The Japanese introduced new ingredients to Peruvian cuisine like miso, ginger, soy, wasabi and rice vinegar. They also integrated Peruvian ingredients such as aji or yellow pepper, Andes potatoes, corn and lime.
And luckily for us Cebuanos, we don’t need to book a flight to Peru or Japan just to experience Nikkei cuisine as it is exactly what this restaurant DIP specializes in. Curated through the lens of Japanese Techniques, the signature DIP restaurant aims to let people explore the rich history Japanese-Peruvian or Nikkei cuisines from the plate to the palate.
DIP Nikkei Restaurant
DIP, the resort’s signature restaurant and the first to offer Nikkei cuisine in Cebu, offers a neo-festive palatable experience to the guests – serving the best Nikkei cuisine paralleled with bold eye-catching Peruvian-Japanese dishes curated by Chef Daniel Dela Fuente – a Peruvian himself! (If that doesn’t scream authentic to you, I don’t know what will!)
Dip Restaurant’s Peruvian Chef Daniel Dela Fuente shares a brief story of what we are about to indulge for that evening. Thats me, Jesse Jake Daan, Ram Mancelita and The resort’s Marketing and Communications Manager – JM Ceniza – Sequihod.
But just before we get to what chef has in store for us, can we pause and appreciate the space of this restaurant? I know it is a fine dining place but I just can’t help but appreciate how they incorporated the island vibe into the interiors. You can already see it the moment you enter the restaurant. The basket as a centerpiece, the furniture used, the chairs especially, (which is probably sourced locally crafted by local artisans) gives you that sense of relaxed vacation vibes. I have been to a couple of fine dining restaurants and it’s mostly in a plain and formal setting (nothing wrong with that) but this really makes it feel like its home away from home, with all the texture and patterns you see around. It is very inviting and does not feel intimidating at all (for me at least). As a Cebuana, this makes me happy and I just hope that each person that dines at this place, local or foreigner, can feel that same sentiment that I’m getting.
A Taste Of Nikkei Cuisine at DIP
So much talking – now on to the food!
What better way to start the night than to enjoy a glass of drink. But this is no ordinary drink though, this drink is called Sake Spritz. It consists of sake, amari, garden herbs, citrus wheels and fizz. This cocktail for me, although has a very unique taste, was refreshing especially with the sunset view from my seat!
For starters we had three styles of ceviche. Ceviche or “kinilaw” probably sounds familiar to us already: diced cubes of raw fish – but instead of the usual Filipino way of marinating it with vinegar or “suka”, the Peruvian way of doing it is by using lime. The acid in the citrus from the lime juice forms an extremely low pH condition to denature the fish protein networks, much the same as heating would. This results in the seafood becoming opaque and more firm in texture.
From left to right we have,
- Seafood Chalaquita – a peruvian version of our kinilaw. A mixture of diced red onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime.
- Nikkei – Chef Daniel’s take on a Japanese ceviche and I’m not gonna lie, it got my mind blown on this as I didn’t expect for a ceviche to be soooo good paired with a Japanese sauce. Never knew that works so well!
- Spicy tuna – if you like spicy, you’d love this! It sure gives you that kick of spiciness in your raw tuna.
This was the Arroz Con Mariscos Batayaki Glazed Jumbo Shrimp – Charred jumbo shrimp in nikkei glaze with aromatic seafood rice, cilantro and peruvian chillies. In short, Chef’s version and a very classy way to serve peruvian paella. I don’t know what he put on that sauce but that really is the cherry on top – and the jumbo shrimp of course. Delicioso!
Omg this!! I don’t even know where to begin! If you ask me what my favorite dish out of all that was served that night? THIS. WAS. IT. The Papa Queso Huevo Trufa – layered potatoes and cheese gratin, crunchy poached egg and miso truffle sauce.
Okay can we start on the crunchy poached egg? I mean.. I was surprised when I realized what it was! Crunchy on the outside while having very soft yolk in the center. The yolk running down after I sliced it open was a beautiful sight for sure. Next are the potatoes which the Peruvians are very known for. Chef made it so unique he literally sliced them so thinly and layered them all together for about an inch thick with cheese in between (if I’m not mistaken). Last but definitely not the least was the truffle sauce. Truffle in itself is a very overwhelming ingredient and I remember I’ve had truffle cheesecake before which I wasn’t able to finish but if paired correctly with other component like what chef did exactly with this dish – it was divineeeeeee! I just want that sauce on every bite! Oh and that fried quinoa was a great touch and a very playful addition to this beauty.
Gaddd. My mouth is watering right now while I’m typing this but this is definitely one of the ✨best✨ dishes I’ve had thus far. No cap!
Another drink? Yes please! This is their Pisco Acholado Swing – Pisco Acholado, Orange, Herbs, Berries and Fruity Fizz.
They also serve Makis! This was the 2 kinds of Maki we got to try (which I didn’t catch the name of it! apologies).
Now for desserts. From top, bottom left to right,
- Thai Milk Tea Creme Brulee and Chocolate Dipped Biscuit – this was my choice. I love creme brulee and also Thai milk tea so when i was asked what I prefer for dessert, it was a no brainer for me to choose this. It did not disappoint! and the serving for this is quite huge as well! Can be for sharing.
- Banana-Choco-Passion Fruit – irresistible combination, indulging and refreshing
- Raspberry coconut lemon trio – I didn’t get to try this but love how playful the chef did to replicating the coconut in the middle one there.
Ended the night with a spectacular fireworks display by the beach which you can see from the restaurant!
Dining here might be a bit pricey not gonna lie but, from its premier yet homey surroundings to its exquisite menu of Japanese-Peruvian dishes, DIP Nikkei certainly promises a gastronomic adventure! Definitely worth coming back.