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Why this Italian restaurant in Boracay has such succulent steaks

By Tanya Lara Published Mar 10, 2021 7:21 am

For an island that started with chori burger, the dining scene has come an incredibly long way.

There’s something about being on the beach that opens one to new dishes—and new dining concepts that Boracay has always been a hotbed for.

The island has produced all kinds of restaurants, from holes in the wall to unique bistros and cafes—some of them becoming a success in Manila.

One thing that was missing on White Beach for the longest time was a posh steakhouse—until late 2018 when Discovery Shores Boracay (DSB) opened its Italian restaurant Forno Osteria, located at the ground level of the Signature Suites wing of the resort.

The restaurant was first introduced when the island reopened after being shut down for six months for rehabilitation. Then it closed again in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Josper-grilled rib-eye steak at Forno Osteria in Discovery Shores Boracay. 
Spaghetti with squid-ink handmade pasta, mussels, shrimp and clams.

Forno had a soft reopening last March 5 and will begin offering its full menu on March 19, with dinner service only on Fridays and Saturdays, 6 to 10 p.m., until Boracay’s tourism normalizes.

Forno Osteria, which literally means “oven” for “forno” and “Italian restaurant serving wine and good food” for “osteria,” specializes in freshly baked pizzas, pastas and grilled steaks. The restaurant’s open kitchen features two industrial ovens—a Josper grill and a pizza brick oven.

Chefs love the Josper grill. I mean, seriously love it! They talk about it so proudly—like equestrians talk about the bloodline of their pricey horses or a pet dog that’s just finished obedience school.

The Josper grill originated in Barcelona in 1969 and is called the perfect marriage between innovation and technology as it has successfully combined the functions of a grill and an oven—the age-old art of grilling over charcoal and the conveniences of controlled cooking temperatures of an oven.

Carni pizza.
Hand-tossed dough. Forno is open to hotel guests and the public for dinner every Friday and Saturday.

The grill can easily reach temperatures of 350 degrees or higher, which marks the meat beautifully while the charcoal used in cooking adds to the smokiness in the flavor of the meat.

“I think we’re the only property in Boracay with a Josper grill,” DSB chef Ghell Bagwan told lifestyle journalists and influencers. “It’s one of the most sought-after equipment by chefs because it seals in the flavor of the meat.”

Indeed it does! The tomahawk steak he served was so flavorful, tender and smoky. You only really needed sea salt to bring out its full flavor—but just in case, they made a tasty truffle hollandaise sauce and Forno’s house sauce.

On the side of the tomahawk were haricots, baby carrots and smashed marble potatoes.

Discovery Shores Boracay chef Ghell Bagwan with tomahawk steaks. Photo by Tanya Lara
Vongole linguini.

We all tried to exercise restraint—to no avail!—with the preceding plates they brought out before the steak: ricotta caprese salad; a Tuscan onion soup that was sweet from caramelization; spaghetti Nero with handmade squid-ink pasta, shrimp, mussels and ricotta cheese; and grouper with salmoriglio sauce.

Forno serves a range of Italian comfort food from antipasti to soups, risottos, pastas, pizzas and dulci selections, which are all are handmade using the freshest of ingredients, while its steak, seafood and meat dishes are grilled and cooked to achieve the perfect texture and flavor of the dish.

For wine pairings, Forno has a menu of Italian wines that go well with its dishes like the charcuterie platter or mushroom ravioli.

Best seats in the house. Non-guests can enjoy DSB’s facilities with Discovery Pass. Photo by Tanya Lara

Forno’s signature desserts are the classic tiramisu and Sicilian cannoli served with chocolate ricotta filling, candied citrus, and spiced syrup.

DSB is also offering Discover Pass for those not staying at the resort. They can hang out, dine and use the facilities for P1,500 with P1,000 consumable (click here for more info). Its Happy Summer Room throws in additional inclusions like massage for two when booking the junior suite, and one-bedroom suite (click here for more info).

Discovery Shores Boracay is at Station 1. Call +63277208888, +6336288 9699, +63 917 625 8507. Visit DSB’s website.