On our last day in Cagayan de Oro, we had lunch in Spicy Elements located at the fifth level of SM CDO Downtown Premier. For Bicolano cuisine lovers, this restaurant’s appeal may be more than just nostalgia. Bicolano food is notable for flaming hot flavors in their dishes. We were enticed with Laing con Lechon on the menu and were in the mood to pair it with Salmon Head Sinigang sa Miso. Hence, after going through several restaurants in the mall, we chose this to be our last stop before our flight back to Manila.
Review of Spicy Elements Grill, Steaks, and Bar (SM CDO Downtown Premier, Cagayan de Oro)
The atmosphere is both a party and family-friendly. The colorful space is big and open, filled with a low-key crowd all there to do one thing: savor spicy food elements and get full experience of the heat. The bad part? Literally, there’s heavy and persistent smoke that comes out from the kitchen almost every time a dish is served to customers’ tables. We were seated just beside the kitchen (counter area), hence we were the first unlucky ones to inhale all that smoky glory. I have rhinitis so the smoke badly triggered nasal congestion. It felt miserable and made me uncomfortable.
Laing con Lechon (PhP 199) consisted of a toothsome medley of creamy, and tasty dried taro (gabi) leaves simmered slowly in coconut milk and hearty chunks of lechon. The meat was so tender you barely need to chew. We ate this with rice but it’s just good by itself. To give laing an even bolder, spicier flavor, breaking the green chili and adding it to each mouthful will be sublime.
Salmon Head Sinigang sa Miso (PhP 255) kept us warm, full, and happy. Sinigang is a type of sour soup in clear broth. It’s perfect to cut through the super rich taste of coconut from laing, which makes it more satisfying because of the contrast. The salmon had a subtle fishy yet sweet inside, and the vegetables were cooked fresh and crisp. Overall, we ended the meal on a positive note. This combination of flavors in this dish was reliably good!
Price for Value:
From appetizers to mains, there’s something for everyone at Spicy Elements. Their straightforward and well-prepared Bicaolano fare are great picks for any meal. Prices are pretty reasonable; the food tasted fine and were served in generous amount. Service could be faster and more watchful though, and the environs could be further improved, especially the air conditioning and ventilation to keep all the smoke out.