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Bell + Amadeus: Where every dish is a conversation piece 

By: - June 30, 2023

“Choose a corner table please,” I asked my colleague James when he entered Bell + Amadeus on a sleepy Thursday morning. 

But a diner does not enter a restaurant solely for the interior and the furniture. 


In the end, a restaurant is judged by its food. 


For Bell + Amadeus, lay your judgment on the taste and the conversation you made for each dish. 

The request sprung from a habit that I sort of acquired from my Italian-American husband. Mr. Ruffolo once said: “If you want to know the type of people who dines at any restaurant, sit in a spot where you can see who enters the main door. Then, watch.”

I have long since followed this wisdom for 11 years and it has proven to be useful even in non-food related assignments. 

I didn’t think the restaurant would be full because it was a weekday. There were two gentlemen engaged in an intense conversation on the other side of the restaurant and James and I exchanging work and personal updates. The vicinity of 88th Avenue along the usually busy thoroughfare that is Governor Cuenco Avenue was serene as if the entire Cebu population chose to stay home presumably because of the searing heat that this tropical weather affords. 

It did not last that long though. 

By noon, the lunch crowd came pouring in and the place was instantly filled with with conversations on the stock market, the latest KPop fascination of one’s daughter, and the need to order tuna tartare because the tapioca cracker is like no other. 

Chime Bell Osabel and Angelo Amadeus “Chef Bibo” Moreno conceptualized this restaurant as early as 2014 when they first met. But it was only in September 2022  when the idea was brought to fruition. 

The name Bell + Amadeus (read as Bell and Amadeus) was derived from their names and their combined spirit which, according to Chime, works best with one supporting the other and vice versa.

The menu that is now seen in the restaurant is a product of at least eight years of dish development and hosting dinners in their home. Dining at home usually happens  at the garden, an ambiance which they applied when Bell + Amadeus was opened. 

Initially thought to be a pop-up kitchen/restaurant, Chime said the decision to deep-dive into a permanent space was finalized when he saw the area fronting a green patch in 88th Avenue in January 2022. 

From then, it was a frantic nine months of construction and coordination which culminated with the opening of Bell + Amadeus in September 2022. 

“Our intention was to bring people along our culinary journey. We want to elevate the cuisine we experienced in our travels around the globe and have people join us in that journey,” Chime tells CDN Digital. 

That decision did not come with fearless forecasts. 

There was a shred of doubt that “what if people won’t understand what we like them to experience.” 

But almost a year into bringing this kind of progressive dining in the consciousness of the dining public, Bell + Amadeus is seeing a growing number of repeat diners and a promising stream of walk-ins and referrals. 

The restaurant’s polished industrial interiors exude a relaxed professional vibe that is accentuated with comfortable furniture pieces. 

But a diner does not enter a restaurant solely for the interior and the furniture. 

In the end, a restaurant is judged by its food. 

For Bell + Amadeus, lay your judgment on the taste and the conversation you made for each dish. 

I did so with the dishes served before us. 

For starters, we were served with Wild Mushroom Soup and the famous Tuna Tartare with Squid Ink Tapioca Crackers. 

The Wild Mushroom Soup is a splendid presentation of colors and an even more splendid amalgamation of flavors that comes together with its all-natural umami goodness. Pick up your spoon and crush that crusty layer and enjoy! 

There’s a reason why the Tuna Tartare is famous and it is not just because of the tapioca cracker. The flavor gods are in agreement when it comes to this one because one cracker alone is not enough to start it all. Order a second serving and thank me later. 

Chef Bibo is on top in the development of each dish and that requires time, energy, people, and (more) money to invest in the best ingredients. 

Chef Bibo brings with him attention to details and the commitment to never scrimp on ingredients and the result is a menu that features the best dishes developed, tested, and tasted by friends and critics. 

Take for example the Creamy Butternut Squash in Guanciale and Pecorino. It is pasta that is often associated with a heavy meal. But this one I had is light and breezy. If you do not want to eat your vegetables straight out then take it in pasta form instead. This is also good as a light snack if you need a satisfying midday treat. 

Bell + Amadeus

While the Mixed Seafood in Truffle Cream Sauce, Squid Ink Pasta is definitely not the dish to order on a first date, it is the pasta to relish and to share with friends or with a partner who has known your flaws and accepted you nevertheless. There’s a distinct flavor of the Philippine coasts here that will agree with the new slogan put forward by the Department of Tourism. 

Bell + Amadeus’ gems are in its main courses especially with Chicken Confit with Guanciale Cranberry Marmalade, Whisky Demi Glaze, Polenta, and Pine Nuts. That’s a mouthful to read because, truth be told, this dish is a gastronomic burst of flavors in anybody’s mouth. The presentation itself is dramatic but it is the confluence of juicy meat and the soft-creamy texture of polenta leveled up with the sweet marmalade, tangy glaze and pine nuts that sealed the deal. 

Bell + Amadeus

At that point of the meal, the Pan Seared Salmon sitting on a bed with Vermouth Truffle Risotto was more than enough for my stomach to bear but I carried on because who can resist another offering from the sea? 

Another dish to try next is the Madras Curry which uses the Kinsan fish of Chef Bibo’s hometown, Aloguinsan in southern Cebu. 

Do not leave your table without the Ylang-ylang Crème brûlée, Ube Moss, Jackfruit Gel, Black Sesame Ice Cream. Think deconstructed halu-halo served on a plate. The key to fully experiencing this dessert is to take a smidget of each element into your spoon, put it in your mouth, and then literally take a deep breath. Like it or hate it: that’s the decision you have to make after trying this one out.

Bell + Amadeus

For a refreshing finish, the Coconut Panna Cotta with Fruits and Edible Flower, Pistachio Praline and Truffle Ice Cream in Saffron Sauce will do the job. 

Almost a year into its presence in Cebu’s restaurant scene and Chime’s excitement for what’s in store for Bell + Amadeus is stronger than ever.

“Bibo and I are two different elements but combined together, we are a potent force. It has been proven with DIAB (Diet in a Box) and our other businesses together. We never had trouble in making our businesses grow. There’s always something that I can’t do that he can and vice versa,” says Chime. 

Chime says they are preparing an exciting lineup of dishes for their first anniversary come September 2023. What that would be is anybody’s guess but Chime promises that it will still embrace their love for good food and aesthetically-pleasing presentations. 

With an enthusiastic-talented pair driving Bell + Amadeus, expect to dine in a place where stories are never-ending because each dish is a conversation piece. 

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