What is it about Cebu that makes me crave for paella? More specifically Paella Negra. Every time I am there for a work visit, I get this intense craving. Perhaps it is my sisters’ influence. She is always searching for the best paella negra in town. We visited at least two places and we are still searching for one that was worth writing about. Then we heard that a place called Gorliz Tapas + Vinos served Paella Negra.
But before I go into the details of our paella negra quest, you might want to know a little bit about it and why we are willing to drive a long way from Talisay, Cebu to have paella negra for lunch at Gorliz Tapas + Vinos.
This is a Paella Negra. At least this is the Gorliz version of one. Originally, the paella negra traces its origins to Valencia and Catalonia, Spain. It is usually served as a main course and traditionally its main ingredients are white rice, squid ink, squid or cuttle fish, garlic, cubanelle peppers, sweet paprika, olive oil and seafood broth for the rice to cook in. It gets its distinct black color from the squid ink that also enhances its seafood flavor. Although now, cooks also add other seafoods depending on what is available during the season. For example, this Gorliz version has mussel, (tahong), two kinds of clams (halaan), squid with slices of lemon and red bell pepper for color. But one thing we should remember is that essentially a paella is a rice dish. And what makes it a great dish is the quality of rice that is used and not the seafood ingredients that is added.
Finally, our seafood paella negra arrived and it was time for the taste test. At P580.00 per order, it was a huge serving, good for at least 6 hungry people. The taste was delicious and the best so far that I had tasted in Cebu. But we needed a more substantial protein source for lunch considering the sparse seafood toppings that these paellas are served with. We followed our hunger which was dictating to us the Flat Iron Angus Steak for our protein fix.
I know that others may raise their eyebrow pairing a seafood rice dish with beef. But this was no time to be politically correct. What mattered was that we be true to our hunger and our hunger said beef would solve our protein craving and sustain us through the gruelling day at work.
When our stomachs were satiated, I finally relaxed and started appreciating the interior of Gorliz. I would describe its design as industrial rustic chic. Chairs were in leather and echoed the warmth of the wooden tables. Exposed, smooth bare concrete beams above lent the place a rugged charm which grew on us. As we entered the main door, there was a center wall where machuca tile designs were painted, serving as the centerpiece and giving the place a burst of color.
While these unique metal lamps adorned the walls and ceilings during the day, they bathed the restaurant a warm glow during the evenings for a cozy effect.
This black and white themed bar served the vinos and drinks that struck our fancy. We made plans to go back in the evening with a designated driver so we could enjoy a glass of red and the tapas on the menu. And this time we were also inviting two more friends along.