Located in the heart of Tagbilaran City the Metro Centre Hotel is one of the mainstays of accommodation options on Bohol. Frequented by Pinoy and foreign tourists alike the hotel seems to always be a hive activity so we thought we best see what the dining options are and see what fare the visitors to the Metro Centre Hotel can expect.
The restaurant in question for our night’s review was the Asiatika Restaurant self dubbed as the ‘home of oriental cuisine’. This claim is self evident with the menu offering an eclectic mix of Korean, Thai, Japanese and Chinese (as well as the obligatory Pinoy).
Restaurants offering cross cultural offerings are not new but it’s a tall order for any chef to be proficient across a number of Asian culinary disciplines especially when adding Japanese to the mix and even more so when touting sashimi and sushi.
We can understand the desire of a hotel that caters for a mix of nationalities to attempt to satisfy all the eating habits of their guests but it also creates unique challenges that are rarely met. On that cautionary note let’s take a look at the food on offer at Asiatika. On our review night we started with salmon sashimi and straight away the problematic theme of the evening became self evident. The salmon (obviously defrosted) was pasty and the ‘knife work’, the true art of Japanese sashimi, was poorly executed and showed an obvious lack of formal Japanese training by the chef. The real art of sashimi is in the use of fresh ingredients and the ability to cut the fish using the grain and bias of the fish flesh to best display texture of the fish and allow the diner’s palate the correct surface area for taste and mouth feel.
In respect to the fish, why on earth offer an exotic fish that is going to suffer from storage and handling when the local wet markets offer a mouth watering array of fresh fish daily? On a slightly brighter note was my dining partner’s tempura prawns. A truly gigantic serving of succulent prawns served with the traditional dipping source but strangely not accompanied within the usual tempura vegetables. My main course was the beef teriyaki. The dish was an offering of tender beef but unfortunately delivered in a stewed sauce concocted from a range of flavours which I expect originated in a commercial bottle.
The restaurant is located on the first floor of the Metro Hotel and is obviously somewhere near the disco as throughout our meal you could feel the incessant base vibrating through the floor and seats. Not at all overpowering but still obvious in the background. The broader ambience of the restaurant is faux Asian but like much of Tagbilaran is in need of a face lift as it is looking very tired.
As a parting note, we have been asked why we have not reviewed more resort restaurants. While it is not our policy to avoid resort and hotel based restaurants, we recognise many of the readers of these reviews will be visiting Bohol as a tourist and would most likely be already staying at a resort with its own restaurant. In that case visitors would most likely explore the broader offerings of Bohol at some point, hence our attempts to concentrate on mostly ‘stand alone’ restaurants. In time we will get around to reviewing more resort based offerings.