Neri: A food strip by the sea

·3 min read

A food strip in a seaside setting is the latest attraction in town. It is a long strip that covers a North Food Yard and a South Food Yard with a row of full service restaurants in-between. Yes, Il Corso Lifemalls along the South Road Properties is the go-to place for foodies and families, lovers and loafers, the young ones and young once who seek food adventures set up against a background of blue skies and serene waters.

The most recent additions to the restaurants in the food strip are Hussam Middle Eastern Cuisine, Ayame Seaside Tales and Luminous. The dynamic Il Corso team—officer-in-charge general manager/lease manager Judith Sanchez, senior marketing manager George Calles and marketing lead Hanski Garcia—took time to acquaint media friends with these new restos.

Hussam Middle Eastern Cuisine is a dream-come-true for Syrian national Hussam Alfakieh Alkourdi who is a cook at heart (although a finance officer by profession) after having learned the intricacies of cooking from his mother and grandmother as a young boy. He is married to Cebuana nurse Hazel Paloma and has decided to introduce his country’s cuisine to the Cebuanos.

Hussam personally takes charge of the kitchen and whips up Middle Eastern favorites. We loved his Kebabs (he has a very flavorful one-meter version using ground beef), Hummus (a dip of mashed chickpeas mixed with spices), Shish Taouk (cubed chicken over steamed rice covered with flatbread Kubos), the soothing ginger-lemon tea with honey and all else served during our lunch. He has many other exotic offerings which make for more food discoveries. It’s definitely a delightful food adventure over at Hussam... a must-try!


Ayame Seaside Tales is a Japanese restaurant operated by sisters Ingrid Espina Gamboa and Marjorie Espina Coo. Both are seasoned hands in the food business because they are part of the family’s “My Joy” eateries which has several branches in town.

With a Tokyo-trained Japanese chef as consultant, they have come up with an extensive Japanese menu which features classic Japanese dishes with both traditional and modern innovations. They have a well-chosen selection of appetizers, salads, soups, hotpot, Bento boxes, noodles, rice meals and more!

Lunch at Ayame found us enjoying an array of the resto’s specialties. Oh yes, our group loved the melt-in-the-mouth Salmon Sashimi, the mango-infused Cebu Maki; the wide selection of delectable sushis; the Lomi Salmon salad, the deep-fried Agedashi Tofu; the rich Shoyu Tonkutsu Ramen; the Angus Beef Gyoza, the crunchy Ebi Tempura... the list goes on.


Luminous Expresso Industry is a cafe restaurant which had its beginnings in Doha, Qatar. The newly opened Luminous at Il Corso is the first branch in the Philippines and the sixth outlet outside Qatar and Dubai. Aside from offering a variety of great-tasting coffee, the cafe resto serves an all-day breakfast, Italian food and scrumptious desserts.

The dessert list is extensive and we got to taste most of it over coffee with Nida Vega, the admin/procurement manager of Luminous. Among the best-sellers are its Tiramisu, Black Forest Cake, Creme Brûlée, Red Velvet Cake, Panna Cotta, Triple Choco Mousse, and many more.

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