Monday, 26 April 2010

Topie & Dinah 'Live Seafood Restaurant'

Caw-Oy, Olango Island, Lapu-Lapu City, Philippines
Visited 25th April
A brief tip to Philippines for the Cebu Rugby 10s left a big bunch of hungover blokes looking for something to divert the pain come Sunday morning. There really wasn't much for it but to hire a boat and go for a cruise. Our first stop was the fish feeding area off the side of Olango Island that I've visited before; this time unfortunately there weren't many fish so the whole snorkelling thing was a bit of a letdown. Suddenly it was lunch time and we were shunted across to a Topie & Dinah 'Live Seafood Restaurant' further around the island. This place claims to be 'floating', though in reality it sits on stilts just off the Island. The restaurant itself is really basic; just a concrete floor and roof. We sprawled out, ordered some San Migs and started to think about food.

There weren't menus, just a few of tubes of fish to choose from so a couple of blokes took responsibility and ordered up a decent mix of fishy goodies. First came some char-grilled tiger prawns; these guys were big, tasty and flavoursome. Next up were some big grilled clams with garlic and fried calamari. The squid was ruined by the thick, ugly batter that consumed it; however the clams were better, though a tad dry. 'Lapu-Lapu' is how the Filipinos refer to Grouper and it's considered a bit of a national delicacy. The fish we were presented with was tiny, though tasty and well prepared in an almost Chinese style with ginger, garlic and soy. Last was a whole tuna, just big enough for our table of hungry rugby players. The fish was simply grilled on coals. It was cooked too quickly which meant that different parts were cooked to different degrees, but if you found the right part it was delicious. Cold bottles of San Mig were the order of the day, though I think I saw someone sensibly sipping on water. OK so the food wasn't Earth shattering, but our lunch at Topie & Dinah 'Live Seafood Restaurant' certainly scores points as an experience. The tab came to a fair PHP550 (HK$100) each. My biggest concern however was the environmental consequences of my lunch. The restaurant was located atop coral in or near a marine sanctuary; coral which we were forced to walk across. The grouper was clearly well under-sized and many types of tuna are endangered. Oh the toilet also flushed straight into the water. OK so If I'm such a raving hippie why did I bother writing the restaurant up at all? Well despite my reservations I still think the lunch deserves recognition as part of a great weekend. I was in Cebu for under forty hours yet managed a rugby tournament, dinner, partying, a dawn ANZAC Day Service, boat trip, seafood lunch and a bit of pool time; it just shows you what you can do in a weekend!


Edward said...

I'm impressed by how much you could fit into your 40 hours, though it is always surprising and pleasing, how jam packed life can be, without the intrusion of work.

The toilets sound very dodgy. Though, I'm not sure things are necessarily better in Australia. A recent boat cruise I went on had sea toilets - which essentially flush straight into the water.

Andrew said...

Hey Ed

It was a pretty cool weekend. I also just remembered that I didn’t mention the Viking costumes ... probably a good idea. One of the great joys of living in Hong Kong is the number of really exciting, accessible destinations close by. We just got back from a fantastic long weekend away in southern Taiwan.

I'm no expert, but flushing into the ocean from a boat is probably not too bad, especially if you consider that a lot of domestic sewage does straight into the Ocean. However constant bombardment into shallow, delicate reef seems a bit like biting the hand that feeds you to me.