in cebu, there are very few establishments that fall under this category and finding a new place to add to my list is always a pleasure. it is assumed of course that one should lower their expectation when one hears of a new recommendation given our taste differences.
vibe gourmet has the usual requisite for that hole in the wall category: simple white painted walls, monobloc tables and chairs, gaudy bisaya folk rock playing in the background and waiters in plain clothes. they even have a mini sari sari that sells shampoo, conditioner and the likes.
a place you don't expect to serve chooja garam masala (chicken in hot indian spices) or cajun chiken side by side with grilled pork belly, spice rubbed chicken, tocino etc etc.
don't expect to see it listed in their menu list, if not for a recommendation by a friend, i wouldn't even know they served these sort of dishes. the place is owned by a chinese family whose patriarch has an apparent love for spices, specifically persian spices that he orders and imports from some iranian contacts. talk to him and he'd give you a lecture on how spices should be mixed as well as rattle off hindi names of spices and meats. a surprising turn considering that i expected him to lecture me on cantonese or hainanese cooking.
then again, things have a way of turning out different in this unexpected gem of a place.
chooja garam masala
for dinner my companion ordered the usual grilled pork belly (safe choice) whereas i decided to order two dishes, the chicken cajun and chicken garam masala. with a few extras on the side like batchoy soup and softdrinks, the bill came out to about Php 325. darn cheap. but don't tell them that otherwise they just might change the prices.
note to self, next time don't order cajun with garam masala as both have a distinctive hot undertone, one influenced by the bayou and cajun cuisine of lousiana and the other carries a long history of spicy hot flavors of india.
warning though, parking is a bitch - you park along the road and it can be a problem if you go there around 5pm - 8pm.
the best part of the deal, in the event you get indigestions, the entrance to the emergency room of cebu doctors hospital is a literal stone's throw. not that the food is bad, more like indigestions from too much eating. hapi chow!
behind cebu doctors hospital
address? - search the internet