The number of ancestral homes turned into restaurants is seemingly on the rise nowadays. Its patrons, usually millennials who’ve settled miles away from their home, love how these can simulate a typical Filipino Sunday, wherein family and guests would come to partake in a hearty meal. Although most showcase heirloom recipes, the beautiful No. 9 Restaurant in Cebu City features edgy cuisine that fuses Mediterranean, Spanish, and Latin influences. Read more…
No. 9 is the brainchild of brothers Inaki and Pepin Martinez who brilliantly transformed their ancestral home in Benedicto Street to the restaurant it is today. Inaki, a former banker, deals mostly with the business side of the venture, while Chef Pepin handles the culinary aspect.
The restaurant was named precisely such because their former ancestral home, which they restored from its former glory, is located in No. 9 Benedicto Street. The best thing about the location is that, although near the city center, it’s tucked inside a affluent, quiet neighborhood, surrounded by condominiums, houses, and consulates; thus, patrons do get some privacy.
The stately home’s transformation was executed well. The restaurant’s breezy dining area features elegant wooden furnishings, trendy décor, and large windows that look into the yard.
Their cuisine is a fusion of Spanish, Mediterranean, and Latin influences; hence, upon a closer look of their menu, such items as arroz and chorizo are mentioned more than once.
Whilst waiting for the big meal ahead of us, I took sips from their signature Cocojito, a refreshing medley of coconut rum, lime, and mint leaves.
The first course, Sopa de Ajo, was not only tasty but rather interesting as well. A slow-cooked egg, topped with garlic and sourdough croutons, sits neatly in a bowl as a broth is poured.
The starter was Escalivada, a smoky Spanish vegetable dish. No. 9’s take consists of charred eggplant, slow-cooked egg, and piperrada or sauteed peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
To fully explore the menu, we tried three entrees. First up was my favorite, the Butifarra con Judias, a Catalan dish consisting of pork sausages and white bean with a cool aioli on top. Next was the intriguing Fideo Negro, which is broken noodles tossed with a squid ink sauce and topped with chorizo, squid rings, and aioli. And lastly, we were delighted by their gorgeous Cerdo—crispy and tender pork belly crowned with arugula and doused with fresh salsa verde.
For dessert, they served us a Crème Catalana con Mango, which twists the usual custard with mangoes Cebu is famous for. It thus ended on a sweet note one of the best meals we’ve ever had in the Queen City of the South.