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Sarap Filipino Bistro: ‘Budgie’ Montoya to open second site in centre of town following Brixton success

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 26/10/2021 David Ellis
Sarap_Lechon-Credit_ Thomas Alexander.jpg © Thomas Alexander Sarap_Lechon-Credit_ Thomas Alexander.jpg

Hit Filipino restaurant Sarap BAon is to get a sister site as founder Ferdinand “Budgie” Montoya takes over 10 Heddon Street, the site formally occupied by Fallow.

Montoya will open Sarap Filipino Bistro in its new home, which is just off Regent Street, with a soft launch running for two days across November 17 and 18. It will then open in full from Tuesday November 23, opening for lunch and supper every day apart from Mondays, when it will be shut.

The new opening will look to continue the success of Brixton-based BAon, which managed to weather the pandemic despite only opening in late January 2020. Like its Brixton sister, the new Sarap will serve a modern riff on traditional Filipino flavours, which Montoya sums up with his tagline, “authentic flavours delivered proudly inauthentically”.

However, the offering will be slightly more formal, operating as a full sit-down site, with room for approximately 40, and an estimated spend-per-head of £35.

Dishes will include rellenong crispy pata, a twice-cooked pork trotter stuffed with rice; ensaladang talong, a kind of salad combining smoked aubergines, tomatoes and a salted duck egg; grilled monkfish with sweet and sour red pepper sauce, known as escabeche; and ginisang monggo, or squash stuffed with mung beans and spinach.

Elegant: the ensaladang talong, a kind of salad of aubergines and tomatoes (Thomas Alexander) © Provided by Evening Standard Elegant: the ensaladang talong, a kind of salad of aubergines and tomatoes (Thomas Alexander)

The restaurant’s hero dish, however, will be Lechon, the Spanish word for suckling pig. The dish, already a favourite in BAon, is a speciality in the Philippines: Montoya and his team will slow cook the pig, which will be stuffed with truffled adobo rice and lemongrass. It will serve up to six, but must be ordered two days in advance. There will also be a brand new pudding, a four-layer chocolate cake called tsokolate, and a choice of cocktails and Brixton beers.

“I’m so excited to be opening Sarap Filipino Bistro at 10 Heddon Street, it’s a fantastic site with a great track record in launching some great restaurants,” said Montoya of the announcement. “I want to build on our work at Sarap BAon Brixton of championing Filipino cuisine and showcase our cuisine in a modern and progressive light. This is not about elevation, this is about representation!”

For Montoya, the residency marks something of a return to his roots; Sarap originally developed as a series of supperclubs before he took it to Soho’s The Sun & 13 Cantons, which has a reputation for fostering rising talent. Most famously, Asma Khan first found her success there with an an early incarnation of Darjeeling Express. 10 Heddon Street, meanwhile, is known as a site for long-running residencies; before Fallow it was home to hit pasta restaurant Manteca.

Sarap Filipino Bistro will open at 10 Heddon Street, W1, on November 23 (soft launch November 17 and 18). For more information, visit saraplondon.com

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