Shaka Hawaiian Restaurant in Cebu City
Just arrived at home from Asiatown Cebu IT Park in Lahug after a post Mother’s Day celebration with the family and now I am crouched on the floor by my folding bed at our guest room half-naked typing this article on my laptop.
To set things straight, this is not a sponsored post. Everything you’re about to read is just my honest opinion of the place on just one particular visit on a random Tuesday night.
By the way, this is my first time to write a blog post after just having been to the establishment of interest approximately a hundred fifty two minutes ago as of writing this specific sentence.
You might wonder why this is a big deal but it’s just that I love to procrastinate which results to me forgetting a few tiny details whenever I finally decide to work.
To challenge myself, I tried to construct these paragraphs on my head on the ride home. In a manner of speaking, I guess this review is kind of fresh in a sense. I guess I could have typed this on the note app on my smartphone to lessen the hassle but the problem was that I forgot to charge it today.
Anyhow, to put simply, my first dining experience in Shaka did not disappoint as much as I hoped it would due to the rumors I’ve been hearing about the place since it opened in September last year.
To further elaborate that previous statement, allow me dear stranger to go back in time upon our arrival earlier this evening at about 6:54PM at the 25-peso pay parking lot for the first four hours behind Sugbo Mercado adjacent to Avida Towers near Apas.
First glance was a definite wow in terms of visual appeal. The entire block was surrounded by intricately carved totem poles. On my left was the umbrella-roofed Bangkok-inspired dining extension which I later gathered was a smoking area. On my right was the separate kitchen where you can see the busy faces of the cooks. On the center was the two-tiered gazebo with the old acacia tree in the middle with which the architect of the restaurant worked around a way not to cut down and made it into its centrepiece instead using series lights and hanging coconut chandeliers. Connecting these three was a beautiful stone pathway lighted by artsy lamps.
We were then greeted with “Aloha, welcome to Shaka!” and were asked where we’d like to sit down. It was already set in our minds to eat on the second level because of the view but nevertheless we still checked out the ground floor. All I can say is that it was well-decorated with colourful chairs, surfboards, a painted map of Hawaii on one ceiling, a quote about a pineapple which relates to inner beauty and a plot of white sand beach with a Boracay-inspired welcome to shaka sand sculpture molding on the way to the air-conditioned restroom beside the kitchen.
After snooping around, we were then ushered to our table good for four. Looking closely, you’ll notice that some fixtures and even dining plates were made from coconut tree parts. There was also soft party music on the background. At that very moment, the live band were tuning their instruments for another nightly performance which starts past eight in the evening.
We were then handed the menu covered in indigenous nipa material. Browsing through, I felt a bit disappointed since majority of the dishes were Filipino. I was expecting to try some authentic Hawaiian cuisine like that of a Luau experience but all I found were just Filipino food mixed with pineapple, the same concept of putting pineapple on pizza and calling it Hawaiian Pizza which according to some Italian food aficionados is a mortal sin.
Nevertheless, we were left with no choice but to order the ones that looked kind of interesting in a way, just to spice things up. One order of which was their crab rice which unfortunately was also out of stock.
Let’s face it, if I were to crave for Filipino food, I wouldn’t bother going to some fancy bistro where I could just cook some at home just the way I like it at a much lesser cost.
Anyway, since we had no choice, we settled for the garlic shrimp which was a bit lemony. We also tried on barbecued chicken skin which tasted sweet and cooked just right. Next were semi-burnt chicken wings with which we expected some interesting flavors like that of Gibb’s or Bad Boys Wings since it had a Hawaiian precursor name to it but it had the same taste as the barbecue. I would also like to note that not all parts served were wings, not that we’re complaining. We ordered some Pad Thai which was surprisingly way better in comparison with the ones sold at Sugbo Mercado or Fiesta Minore. Wait, that’s a Thai dish in a Hawaiian restaurant. Nobody cares. Last viand was the grilled fish which I guess was intentionally bland since there was a soy sauce dip with it. Finally we requested for six cups of rice which I think was more than enough for the four of us.
For our drinks, we tried their pineapple shakes in a pineapple fruit with toy umbrellas for boasting off on Instagram which was really good and also their pinacolada pitcher drank practically for shoving down every spoonful.
Price and serving size wise, I guess I could say that it had value for money since we only paid PHP1,300 for everything without a service charge.
Talking with our assigned server, I gathered that this establishment was owned by the same owner of Thirsty, Moon Café, Lantaw, Parilya and Café Racer to name a few of his successful businesses. If I were taking my MBA, I would definitely ask this guy to be my thesis mentor.
As for the service, all our needs were met in reasonable time and we only waited less than twenty minutes after ordering. No major complaints whatsoever. If you’d ask me if I would be a returning customer, definitely yes.
In conclusion, Shaka is a perfectly laid back paradise in the midst of the chaos that is the call center industry. I guess the only lacking thing here in the midst of this summer heat is the Pacific Ocean.
Shaka Hawaiian Restaurant
Address: Garden Bloc, Inez Villa St, Apas, Cebu City, Cebu
Telephone: (032) 514 2667
Operating Hours: 11AM–2AM