By Ces Oreña-Drilon
Guests were treated to an overflow of delectable dishes and expertly mixed cocktails last month as renowned chef Chele Gonzalez opened the doors to his latest restaurant venture, Sea.food, at the P2-billion Aqua Boracay resort.
Sea.food’s interior, designed by Ed Calma, is a feast for the eyes. It evokes the serenity of Boracay’s world famous beach with tones of blue and green, as well as neutral accents. The walls come alive with the subtly lit, coral-like adornments.
With Chele at the helm, Sea.food is, without a doubt, Aqua Boracay’s main attraction. It was also the product of collaboration with other distinguished names in the food and beverage industry.
The beverage selection was concocted by David Ong and Jericson Co of the award-winning Makati-based The Curator, while Cyril Addison of Adviche F&B Solutions was in charge of the front-of-house experience. Sea.food’s chef de cuisine, Jaime Ramos Crespo, hails from Spain like Chele. He has about a decade’s worth of experience in the hospitality industry.
Aqua Boracay’s owner, mining magnate Antonio Co, spared no expense in transforming the 16,000-square meter area of a high-end residential complex at Bulabog beach into a five-star luxury resort.
Furnishings by Cebu-based designer Vito Selma can be found all over the tastefully decorated interiors. Private planes and helicopters can be requested by guests who want additional privacy and convenience.
At Sea.food, diners are in for a culinary tour as Chele puts his signature touch on classic seafood dishes. For starters, there’s the refreshing Tuna Tataki: barely cooked tuna in a ponzu and sesame dressing with tomato, mango and shiso leaves. The familiar Filipino Escabeche, meanwhile, is infused with Chinese flavors of cilantro and orange.
Other delectable dishes on the menu include the lightly battered Coconut Tempura Prawns and the Indonesian-inspired Octopus Satay, which are served on skewers with a savory peanut sauce. Trying the deadly delicious Cebu Lechon Fried Rice is also a must.
While admiring Boracay’s spectacular view, Sea.food diners can pair Chele’s gastronomic delights with Pine and Palm, a concoction of coconut tequila, dark rum, Campari, coconut sugar, lemon and orange. It’s one of those drinks that captures the essence of one of the world’s most stunning beaches.
Aqua Boracay offers a variety of accommodation for guests, from Deluxe rooms and one-bedroom Junior Suites, to the luxurious Ibiza Suite with three bedrooms, a private pool, outdoor lounge and party deck. Need more space? The Miami suite has four bedrooms, as well as a private pool and a party deck.
The resort also offers packages for hosting private parties with a view of Bulabog beach for a cool P67,110 up to P72,290 a night.
Building on his vision, Co, the president of Carrascal Nickel Corp., hopes his four children can take Aqua Boracay to greater heights. His daughter, Tonee Lynn Co-See, already has her hands full managing the resort, while two of her siblings help with backroom operations.
One of Co’s sons, Carlo, is taking up his MBA in Seoul, South Korea after finishing his undergraduate degree in hotel and restaurant management.
Co is optimistic that Carlo will use what he learned overseas to sustain Aqua Boracay’s growth as a tourism paradise.