The Sweet Escape: 10:31 by Chef M

When it comes to good food, distance is no issue. I’ve been known to make the drive over to nearby Mactan Island for some great Asian fusion, and recently a few friends and I even headed all the way to Sogod for German noms at Borussia. So, you see, as long as the food is worth it, I’m all in.

A recent work event (a successful one!) brought me to the shores of Bohol for several days, and my stay happened to coincide with the opening of my friend Wyvren‘s new restaurant 10:31 by Chef M in Tagbilaran City. No reason not to drop by, especially when it’s super near the port and I was already there anyway.

Wyvren is a good friend from college, and I’ve always known her to be quite the foodie. She used to sell chocolate crinkles and other sweets in between classes, and post-graduation, she went on to collaborate with her mom on a cake business with clients from Cebu and Bohol. When I heard the news that she has opened a restaurant, I wasn’t exactly surprised.

Having been extremely busy over the past few days, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect – except for good food, of course (that was already a given). Imagine my delight when the tricycle driver dropped me off at this quaint and pretty establishment in one of the city’s quieter streets.

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The facade of 10:31 by Chef M

I arrived a little after lunch, yet the place was still jam-packed with customers. I think most of them were flabbergasted to see someone come in lugging around a stroller and a backpack, but hey, I did somewhat travel all the way to Bohol just to drop by. Thankfully, Wyvren found us an empty table at a quiet corner.

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Our spot for the afternoon. Photo taken much later when the crowd thinned out a little. Spot my luggage!

Since everyone was busy running around, I contented myself by settling in and getting a good feel of the place. The restaurant was easy on the eyes, being predominantly white with splashes of color here and there. There’s a certain rustic charm that made me think of Cebu’s Simply J’s and 10 Dove Street. The interior design was done by my friend Donna’s boyfriend John Lobingco (both were also there with me), while Wyvren decorated the place herself.

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A waitress pours me a glass of water to cool off. Look at the pretty glassware!
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Little trinkets on display
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Wyvren (in red) busy at the counter. On the wall and slightly obstructed is the saying, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of GOD,” a passage taken from 1 Corinthians 10:31, the inspiration for the restaurant’s name.
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Chef M’s famous crinkles, now in assorted flavors!
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Taking anything (or everything!) home? Everything’s packaged like this. Simple yet charming.

Finally, Wyvren gets a little breathing room to sit down and kick off her heels. We browse through the menu together and I’m immediately intrigued. Everything is basically comfort food with homemade twists from family recipes.

 

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The menu

I asked the lady of the hour about her recommendations, and she basically pinpointed me to all the dishes marked with a heart. I wasn’t completely starving at this point, but I had a long journey ahead of me, so I opted for the chicken pesto pasta. Wyvren, who hadn’t had breakfast and lunch yet, went for her baby back ribs.

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Chicken pesto pasta
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Baby back ribs with mashed potatoes
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For dessert, Wyvren made us try this excruciatingly delectable chocolate meringue cake. Despite all my protests that I was full, this ended up being completely gone.
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Since it was opening day, 10:31 by Chef M was also handing out these sweet treats. How cute are those cups?

Another wave of customers pulled Wyvren away, so we whiled away the time until our ferry home over coffee, milkshakes, and Donna’s swinging pregnancy food cravings.

Bohol is a beautiful place, and while I admit to not being too familiar with the area, most of the good restaurants I know there are associated with the resorts in Panglao (special shoutout: Be Grand Bohol!), or, you know, The Buzzz Cafe by Bohol Bee Farm. It’s great to know that with 10:31 by Chef M, my future trips to this place will satisfy my palate. Besides, with the Cebu traffic being the way it is, might as well just hop on a boat to Bohol to eat, right? 😛

M. Parras Ext., Tagbilaran City (Facebook)

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