Featured, Living

Get the Best of Both Worlds at 1521

We heard you, and we got your answer right here. Gone are the days when we can’t seem to decide where to eat for brunch because this bistro might be your newest go-to in the metro.

If you’re a big fan of brunch and day drinking, no one’s here to judge you. Trust us, you’ll simply find yourself at home at 1521 Bistro + Bar. It’s the kind of home that fills your stomach with diversely cultured comfort food and beverages that’ll knock you off your feet—literally.

Quick History Recap

Alpha-numeric brand names for bistros are on the rare side. It’s important to know whether or not the inferences that customers draw from the brand’s symbolic meaning is shared between the business and its customer.

“In a historical sense, 1521 was the year that Magellan landed in Cebu.”

From the beginning of its conception, the image of the bistro had always been “East meets West”. The co-founders share their fondness for traveling, exploring new cuisines, and, of course, being true-blue Cebuanos. When conceptualizing the type of food they want to serve, like many of us, they found their palettes were unalike. This gave them the idea to fuse their individuality and sundry tastes.

Thai beef salad and miso baked oysters

Paul Padayhag II comments, “In a historical sense, 1521 was the year that Magellan landed in Cebu. He brought him (Rajah Humabon) spices, and this fundamental historical data is where the entire concept of the bistro bar revolves.” Because of this, they’ve had the pleasure of referring to their customers as explorers, coming in to discover flavors as our ancestors did.

Brazilian beef salpicao and stir-fried pad thai

Where East Meets West

1521 offers a laid-back and relaxed venue for working Cebuanos with carefully-selected international dishes inspired by an eastern and western fusion. The interior showcases a cozy yet vibrant space for customers. Coffee, brunch, bad mornings? It’ll be easy seeking comfort at a place like this.

“The color blue generally symbolizes peace and relaxation… As for gold, this is to symbolize that we celebrate their successes with them— big or small wins.”

Walking in, the bistro exhibits a rich yet intimate interior. When asked about the color choice or motif which appears to be a prominent mix of gold and navy blue, Mark Pepino has this to say: 

“The color blue generally symbolizes peace and relaxation—which is what we aim for our customers to feel—to feel at home in 1521, while they wind down and enjoy their day with us. As for gold, this is to symbolize that we celebrate their successes with them—big or small wins. Come celebrate with us here at 1521.”

From left to right: Co-founders Angelico Naval, Niko Basubas, Paul Padayhag II, and Mark Pepino

“Congruent to the East meets West, the color scheme and the dining area is best described as eclectic, mid-century modern which wraps around the same concepts,” Niko Basubas adds. At present, 1521 Bistro + Bar accepts bookings and reservations. It’s as easy as calling (032) 421 9473 or 0928 513 2017 or simply sliding into their DMs via Facebook or Instagram.

Booked & Busy Brunch

Famously known for the selection of plates and pours on their brunch menu, we asked the team of founders for recommendations. Angelico Naval recommends these three dishes: the Croque Madame, Omurice, or the classic Congee.

“The Croque Madame is a must-try on our brunch menu. It’s a French gourmet ham and gooey cheese sandwich with a perfectly fried egg on top. Croque means “crunchy bite”—a perfectly delicious brunch treat,” he says.

1521’s Omurice also comes highly recommended. “This is a Japanese dish consisting of fried rice and thin, fried scrambled eggs with okonomiyaki glaze, exceptionally tasting and filling and best when shared,” he adds.

Classic congee and Japanese omurice

Ultimately, if you’re just looking for some type of comfort food after a busy day at work, you can opt for the classic Asian dish—the congee. This consists of chicken, shiitake mushrooms, fried bread, and mollet egg. Mollet, which is “soft” in French, makes for creamy yolks and less watery whites. It’s a fulfilling dish that’ll definitely feel like home.


Photography Kyrra Kho

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