Text & Photography | Emily Lee
“How did you find out about this place?” asked the German chef from Hong Kong, with a hint of anxiety on his face. It was as if the place were a hidden treasure yet to be discovered by Indiana Jones.
PauPatri Restaurant is considered one of the best-kept secrets on Boracay. Many people have never heard of it. Others never seem to be able to find it. The remaining lucky few, who have actually made it for a visit, safeguard it like a jealous 4 year old keeping his teddy bear from the prying fingers of other kids.
Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea. This place is elusive. It is also good. So good that it has already gathered a loyal following from around the world. Our German friend, whom we met earlier in the restaurant, has been visiting since the place’s opening last year.
Conceived and developed by Jun and Maricar Sacapaño, PauPatri Restaurant caught me by complete surprise. Veterans in the industry with decades of culinary experience, Jun and Maricar managed to create a place that is as unpretentious as it is elegant, as original as it is cozy. PauPatri’s charm lies in its casual chic wooden architecture, open kitchen, rustic design, original art pieces, fresh ingredients, and, oh, a bunch of enthusiastic, barefoot guests (shoes must be taken off before entry).
Our small group arrived without the slightest hint of what was to come. Battling simultaneously with the stormy weather and an unexpectedly pathetic hotel experience on previous days, we were not exactly in the best possible mood, to put it mildly. So when our van pulled off at PauPatri and revealed its beautiful architecture amidst serene natural surroundings, the group let out a collective sigh of relief. Finally, our local guide had managed to deliver under pressure.
Jun and Maricar greeted us inside the restaurant. The large open kitchen took center stage and soon everyone was gathering around to watch some fine chopping and dicing action performed by the two chefs. It’s amazing how a live food demonstration added to the group’s enjoyment.
To our delight, the couple decided to eschew their conventional menu and created impromptu dishes for our lunch. Fresh giant prawns, organic eggplants and tomatoes, local fish and chicken joined forces with a long list of exotic ingredients in order to create our own special bespoke meal. It was the kind of food that you can eat all day long and feel happy about. And did I mention that we had our own deluxe wooden hut atop a beautiful pond for a private dining experience? Heavenly indeed.
Add a surprisingly affordable price and PauPatri lived up to its best-kept secret status. But hurry though, as I suspect the secret won’t be kept for too much longer.
Barangay Balabag, Boracay Island, 5608 Malay, Aklan
Phone: +63 36 288 2477
The Philippines’ largest carrier, Cebu Pacific Air offers the most flight schedule and route options between Hong Kong and the Philippines for as low as HKD 248. From Manila or Cebu, guests can take the fastest connecting flights to Kalibo or Caticlan. For bookings, visit www.cebupacificair.com or call +852-397-33800. The latest seat sales may also be found on Cebu Pacific Air official Facebook Fan Page or @CebuPacificAir on Twitter.
For more information on Boracay, please check out our guides to the island: