Delightful strokes in CanvasBy Aissa dela Cruz
Cebu Daily News
I WAS surprised to know that the concept of Restaurant Week is slowly catching fire in Cebu City. Chef Steve Shrimski and his wife Eya hosted lunch in their Canvas Bistro-Bar-Gallery at the Food Terraces in Ayala Center Cebu to celebrate Restaurant Week last Oct. 8 to 14. The national Food and Wine event was undertaken and sponsored by Makati-based Wine Warehouse Corporation. I checked out the directory and discovered that several upscale restaurants in Metro Manila are participating, too.
I was reminded of New York City’s Restaurant Week, a highly successful and exciting event that happens twice a year— early month of summer in July and winter in January. On its 20th year, participating restaurants offer Prix Fixe three-course lunches and dinners at a fraction of their usual prices.
At Canvas, it was a good reason to see Chef Steve and Eya Shrimski, whose passion for food and indefatigable energy are evident in the buoyant ambience of their place. It has been three years since the opening of Canvas and their third anniversary promises more exciting culinary offerings from Chef Steve and Eya. A native of Sydney, Australia, Chef Steve is one of the culinary masters I admire. Because of Chef Steve’s culinary wizardry and Eya’s sterling management skills, delightful strokes in their Canvas are being made.
The relaxing lunch started with the first course of Pan-Fried Duck Foie Gras on Avocado Rice, Honey and Soy paired with a glass of refreshing Dr. Loosen Riesling with a fragrant nose of honey and apricot, a touch of spritz and lively acidity that was a perfect match. The next course, Carpaccio of Mango Snapper with Banyuls Dressing, also went well with the Riesling. Banyuls is wine vinegar made from grapes grown in French Region of Banyuls-sur-Mer and is great for fish and poultry marinade. And then we had Meltique Beef Tataki with Japanese Mushroom and Seaweed Tempura and Ponzu Dressing. A glass of Miamba Shiraz was a good choice of Eya to complement the meat course. The red wine had vibrant aromas of red fruits, blueberries, cinnamon and nutmeg spices, with exceptional balance creating a silky smooth mouth feel. Ponzu, dressing, Eya explained, is made from simmered and cooled mirin, rice vinegar, katsuoboshi flakes (dried fermented tuna) and seaweed; finished with addition of citrus fruits and commonly used in Japanese cuisine. The Meltique Beef was nicely marbled to give it the succulence we look for in meats. Searing the pieces of Meltique Beef, Tataki style rendered the medium-rare pieces tender and juicy. Chef Steve’s characteristic use of Asian flavors and spices to complement his Australian creations adds up to a distinct nuance all his own.
A sweet knockout. That’s how I describe the dessert plate—Pandan and Yogurt Panacotta, Fourless Chocolate Cake and Frozen Mango Zabagione.
Indeed, the Restaurant Week offer of Canvas at P995 per person for the four-course menu with wine is a steal. And so we all look forward to the next Restaurant Week.