Mott 32 lives up to the hype

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FINALLY IN PH The incredibly succulent dishes at Mott 32 Cebu —Margaux Salcedo

When Mott 32 opened almost a year ago, the lords and ladies of lifestyle were raving about it. At that time, we were still reeling from the pandemic and I was not able to join the jubilant welcome for this Hong Kong favorite. So I was overjoyed to be able to squeeze in a dinner on my last visit to Cebu.

I am happy to say that Mott 32 indeed lives up to the hype. Upon entering, you are greeted not only by the beautiful smiles of their gorgeous front-of-house Cebuanas but also by a spectacular view of the Cebu-Cordova Bridge, with the waters glistening from underneath and—assuming it’s a good day—the immaculate expanse of the sky over yonder. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls allow you to enjoy their well-thought-out menu while appreciating this view. Or you can go to their deck for an even better viewing experience, with drink in hand from the gorgeous bar that is oh so Instagram-worthy.

But more than the gorgeous view or the spectacular bar, you must come here for the food. Stripped of all the ambiance, the food alone is worth coming to Cebu for.

The xiao long bao is good. But it’s not the star of their dimsum selections. The star is the siomai, which is no ordinary siomai, as evidenced first by the spelling on the menu —siu mai—and then by the whiff of truffle when it arrives. Truffle?! Indeed! But that’s not even the best part. When you bite into it, it presents a surprise when the tiny ball of quail egg pops in your mouth.

While Chinese food is pork-heavy, those who have given up or don’t eat pork will be happy to experience the crispy air-dried black Angus beef. This is a plate of very thinly-sliced beef that is—as its name implies—crispy, but also savory, a touch sweet and incredibly delectable. Executive Chef Lee Man Sing carves the crispy air-dried black Angus beef into thin slices, before marinating and preparing it for the drying process, after which the beef is steamed and fried with chili oil and Szechuan peppercorns.

Don’t fill up on that, though. Because you must experience the lobster. They call it wok-fried whole lobster with crispy potato, salt & pepper and describe it as “the epitome of gourmet artistry”. I wouldn’t call it that but I would call it the epitome of gastronomic indulgence. Each bite of lobster is an experience in culinary opulence. You would want to have an exemplary red or maybe a Macallan 25 to go with this.

Another indulgent item is the abalone — an elegant choice to whet your appetite before the main course. For the main course, the favorite is the duck as this is the restaurant’s signature, with the exceptional meat to fat ratio and glistening, crispy skin. The restaurant explains why this duck is special: “We roast our ducks using both the Cantonese and Beijing methods, a process that takes 48 hours from start to finish….Each duck is carved and presented with a traditional Royal Cut and served alongside a selection of accompaniments, including piping hot, freshly steamed pancakes, crunchy cucumber, scallions, raw cane sugar, fresh garlic sauce and house-made thick hoisin sauce. Each ingredient has been carefully chosen and prepared to best complement our Peking duck – eaten all together, they elevate this dish to a truly sumptuous level.”

Cebu definitely one-upped Manila on this one. Mott 32 is an incredible dining experience.

Of course, it maintains its status as one of the world’s best. It first opened in Hong Kong in 2014. It is now also in Las Vegas, Vancouver, Dubai, Seoul, Singapore and Bangkok. Joining this list now of happening cities with Mott 32 is our very own Cebu!

So when you hit the Visayas again, make sure to include Mott 32 in your itinerary. It is quite pricey but it’s an experience that is worth it!



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