This place is run by Steve and Eya, an Aussie-Phil couple spending the last 12 years traveling and working themselves through South East Asia. They have been working at upscale international hotels, running restaurants in Sydney and been in this business for about 28 years.
When Steve told me this, I understood the menu better. I must admit I didn't know much about Australian cooking, but even if they have what they call the "Traditional Aussie Pub grub" on the menu, there is so much else to offer the guests. The menu consists of food and inspiration from Italian, Mexican, Greek, Indian, UK, Thai, Vietnamese, Pinoy, Chinese, French and other countries - including Norwegian salmon.
At Ayala, most of the restaurants are limited to one type of cuisine. You have BBQ places, Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese etc. At Canvas, they offer everything. That's sometimes a scary business for a chef to try, but Canvas has succeeded. The long experience and still innovative style has made this a place you could bring a large group of people, who all will be quite satisfied. They call it "Canvas" because an artist's work is always done on the canvas, and their work is done on a plate.
If you're in a hurry, try the Express meal for 250 incl ice tea. Choose from Vegetable burger, bbq calamari, chicken&potato curry pie, braised osso bucco with mashed potato, nasi goreng with peanut satay pork, wok/fried soy and honey beef.
They have soups and salads, appetizers, australian sausages, beef garlic lemongrass, lamb mint rosemary, pork adabo. Tapas selection any 2 for 270, any 4 for 499, any 6 for 699.
Among the "Pub Grub", you can find The original aussie beef with mash, peas, red wine sauce, wedges and salad 265. Or roast lamb, mint jelly and salad foccacia 280. BBQ chicken, baby back pork ribs, and one of my favorites; braised lamb shanks with vegetable couscous or mash potato and veggies 695. If you live out of town, you could call and tell them to prepare a few of these to take home.
Aussie steaks are served with veggies, potatoes of the day and your choice, choice of red wine, mushroom ragout, creamy pepper sauce or grain mustard sauce. 350 gram Aussie T-bone steal with roast garlic 795. 220 gram Tenderloin 1150.
Pasta and risotto are offered for 195-325. Choose the size as entree or main course.
Seafood plate with beer battered fish, grilled rock lobster, whole crispy fried garlic prawns, bbq calamari, seared marlin and garlic encrusted salmon with plain rice 695.
Garlic and herb crusted Salmon with lemon juice and pepper sauce on risotto rice/mashed potatoes and vegetables 455.
Menu seems very balanced, you could choose a heavy meat dish, or some lighter seafood blessed with herbs, vegetables and spices from all over Asia. Steve tells me he is trying to import real Aussie specialties like kangaroo and crocodile meat etc - but it's not so easy getting these through customs!
I am a wine lover, and Canvas offers about 18 different ones, ranging from 625-1600. Sparkling, white, rose or red from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile or France. You can also order by glass from 135 peso. Not many places offer decent wine at Ayala, and at this price the offer is most welcome. They also offer Aperitif, liqueurs, spirits, drinks. SML priced at 65. Heineken, Victoria bitter VB Crown lager Corona, Gilbeys. Coffee, espresso, cappuccino. 65-95. Fresh juices and shakes are also available.
The dessert menu is tempting; a lot is fruit based. Mango vanilla rice pudding with raisins, 160. Cheesecake, poached pear, baked apple, sticky date and toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce, aussie lamington squares with strawberry puree and cream, italian gelato(ice cream), chocolate mud cake.
All prices are incl of VAT, and there is no service charge. Don't forget to tip though, the staff is attentive and the service is good - so let's try to keep them here! Canvas has a mix of tourists, locals and expats, and sitting there a couple of hours I notice that there are a good number of regulars.
Restaurant seats 60-70 persons, no smoking inside but they have a couple of tables and a bar outside where you can smoke. I like the thing they did with the outside bar, it's a nice place to relax watching people pass by.
The interiour is cool and minimalistic, typical industrial look Sydney cafe, with an open kitchen solution. On the walls you can see a lot of pictures made by local Cebu artists. If you see a piece you like, you can buy it and bring home! This way they are changing the gallery regularly, and you're supporting the local artists.
All major credit cards vaccepted, and they offer free wi-fi.
Drop by and say hi from Lars@ycebu!