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Why Mott 32 opened in Cebu

By MARBBIE TAGABUCBA, The Philippine Star Published Sep 01, 2022 5:00 am

From its decadent dining room inside the Standard Chartered Bank Building in Hong Kong, Mott 32 innovated traditional Cantonese cuisine and became the best modern Chinese restaurant in the world.

“We are very pleased to be the first and only Philippine location of one of the world’s best restaurant brands, Mott 32,” says president and CEO of JG Summit Holdings Lance Gokongwei. “We hope that Nustar’s guests will enjoy this world-class dining experience.”

Raising the bar: Lance Gokongwei, JG Summit Holdings president and CEO (right) with Xuan Mu, Mott 32 mother company Maximal Concepts co-founder and group managing director (left) and Frederick Go, president and chief executive officer of Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc.

This September, Mott 32 Cebu opens to diners in the Philippines’ bid to become Asia’s next luxury leisure destination.

Gokongwei Group’s Nustar Resort and Casino joins landmarks The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, Paradox Hotel in Vancouver, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, The Standard Mahanakhon in Bangkok, and Josun Hotel in Seoul as the newest Mott outpost.

Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco and son Liam, Mayor Mike Rama

“When we were building Nustar, we wanted to make sure we had the best of the best in the world,” explains Frederick Go, president and chief executive officer of Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. “We thought, 'What’s the best Chinese restaurant in the world that’s recognized globally? That every traveling Filipino knows to be the best Chinese restaurant?' We want to bring luxury and sophistication to Cebu. The answer was Mott 32.”

The main dining area at Mott 32 in Cebu
Private dining room

For Maximal Concepts co-founder Xuan Mu, it’s about the “right partner, right location, right timing.” That Cebu is a city with a beach is a big draw. “I personally love beach resorts. Cebu is where I go to often because it’s close to Hong Kong and Singapore.”

Mott 32 benchmarks Nustar’s grand vision to bring the best of the world to Cebu and the best of the Philippines to the world.

Mott 32 Cebu has its own charms. It is the only Mott with a view of the water, looking out to the Cebu Strait and the Cebu-Cordova Bridge. Designed by the award-winning Joyce Wang, like all Mott locations, Mott 32 Cebu has a seating capacity of 190, including private rooms on the side, private booths in the back, and a wide terrace.

Top-shelf liquor and a selection of Chinese spices and botanicals are stored and displayed in a full bar that appears to be inspired by a bamboo organ — and the most elaborate one among all Mott locations.

Applewood Roasted Peking Duck at Mott 32

Master chef Lee Man Sing’s techniques learned from the culinary cultures of Szechuan, Beijing, and Shanghai are passed on to Mott 32 Cebu head chef Tam Wai Sang. The melt-in-your-mouth marbled sweetness of the Barbecued Pluma Iberico Pork, glazed with Anhui’s Yellow Mountain honey, and the 48-hour prepped, marinated, and brick-oven-smoked Apple Wood Roasted Peking Duck are worth ordering ahead for. All ingredients are flown in from where the best of each ingredient is from, all around the world.

Signature Iberico Pluma Char Siu

Mu emphasizes, “We try to keep the taste exactly the same. Over the years, we realize that whether it be in Bangkok or Singapore, or the Philippines, once our diners go to the Hong Kong one and they like it, they want to enjoy it again, so why change it? The Filipinos who have been to Hong Kong will want it to taste like what they tasted in Hong Kong”

Assorted dim sum

No heat levels have been tempered for the dim sum. The intensity of the Fujian Negroni (Kamm & Sons, Aperol, lapsang souchong tea, and infused Amaro) and the refreshing Hanami (rye whisky, gin, umeshu, yuzu, shiso, ginger beer, and chrysanthemum) are standouts among the signature cocktails.

Maximal Concepts Chinese executive group chef Lee Man Sing

Any surprises? Mu hints, “We will have two or three dishes specifically for Cebu very soon.”

Mott 32 benchmarks Nustar’s grand vision to bring the best of the world to Cebu and the best of the Philippines to the world — one more delicious reason to explore our own country.

Nustar GM Paolo Campillo

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Mott 32 Cebu is in Nustar Resort and Casino, South Road Properties, Cebu. Stay at Fili, the authentic, homegrown five-star hotel inside Nustar. Cebu Pacific flies 15 times daily from Manila to Cebu.