HALL OF FOOD

Dis­trict on 53rd in­tro­duces global fla­vors to the lo­cal palate

Cebu Living - - Food - By DENISE DANIELLE AL­CAN­TARA Im­ages by SAM LIM

“I’m in a hurry, let me get some salad. I’m en­ter­tain­ing friends, let me get some cheese,’” co-owner Kate An­zani sum­ma­rizes what Dis­trict on 53rd aims to be.

Lo­cated at the Cebu IT Park where con­do­mini­ums and call cen­ters con­tinue to grow in num­ber, Dis­trict on 53rd is a one-stop food place that caters to your every mood and crav­ing. If you are fa­mil­iar with food halls or food courts, this may be counted as one, with the wide array of food housed in one place. The main dif­fer­ence be­tween this and food courts, though? There are no con­ces­sion­aires in­side Dis­trict 53rd.

Serv­ing any­thing and ev­ery­thing from cof­fee and bread to wine and cheese, the dy­namic An­zani hus­band-and-wife duo cre­ated 53 dishes in­spired by their trav­els—and these do not in­clude the daily spe­cials and their se­lec­tion of gourmet desserts. “When we travel, we al­ways go to cities where there is a spe­cial restau­rant or gourmet place, some­times even mar­ket places. [ What­ever we learn in our trav­els], we keep in our mem­ory and ac­tu­ally try to of­fer to the Cebu mar­ket,” shares chef Marco An­zani.

Step­ping into the new­est resto on the block may be a bit con­fus­ing at first glance. Their huge menu pan­els, hung be­hind the food coun­ters, could over­whelm you at first glance, but they’re di­vided into dif­fer­ent seg­ments: Noo­dle and Soup Bar, Earth Stone Oven, World Cui­sine, Nib­bles and Crav­ings, Crispy Sta­tion Char­coal Grill, Fresh Sta­tion Dis­trict, and Sand­wich Dis­trict—to help you out as you choose. Skim through the menu and you would read fa­mil­iar and for­eign words like adobo, porcini, falafel, etc. It’s not your usual mix, but di­ver­sity and in­no­va­tion are key in Dis­trict on 53rd, and new head chef Fadi Zaidan, who is of Lebanese de­scent, adds a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion to every dish with bold in­clu­sions of a va­ri­ety of spices.

Once you or­der, a huge plat­ter of dips, breads, and chips will be served. (By the way, this place is semi-self ser­vice. You pay as you or­der but wa­ter and cut­lery may be served to you.) The plat­ter com­bines the fa­mil­iar and for­eign. It has what seems to be pan de sal but yel­low, be­cause the chefs add turmeric to the clas­sic morn­ing sta­ple.

When asked how Ce­buanos have re­ceived their at­tempt to di­ver­sify the choices of food, Marco an­swers, “They are more ad­ven­tur­ous now; we [even] de­cided to cre­ate the le­chon belly with foie gras. We know that peo­ple will be look­ing for pork or le­chon, and they will try [our ver­sion] out of cu­rios­ity.”

Most of their dishes come in hefty serv­ings. Their ver­sion of porcini fon­due is good for four to six peo­ple. The huge bowl of fon­due is com­posed of seven dif­fer­ent cheeses—Parme­san, Swiss, blue, and cream cheese, to name a few—and ham, served hot with crouton bread baked ‘til crispy and topped with olive oil and oregano. The cus­tom­ary Lebanese snack shak­shuka served with freshly baked pita is still on the chef’s menu. This dish of eggs poached in a bed of toma­toes and chili pep­pers makes a ca­sual ap­pe­tizer that’s good for shar­ing as well.

This unas­sum­ing ur­ban- in­dus­trial restau­rant is slowly cre­at­ing buzz as it feeds ev­ery­one, from the break­fast peo­ple with their freshly brewed cups of cof­fee and bread se­lec­tion to the af­ter hours crowd with their wine of­fer­ings from Wine De­pot. Dis­trict on 53rd. Cy­ber­zone Fil­in­vest Sali­nas Drive, Lahug, Cebu City. 0936-8529899. www.dis­tric­ton53rd.com

FROM TOP: LAMB TAGINE SERVED WITH COUSCOUS (NOT IN PHOTO); YOUR MORN­ING CUP OF COF­FEE CAN BE SERVED FOR

DINE-IN OR TO-GO,

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