Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Year of Sharing Filipino Food

Binagoongang litson kare-kare
Restaurants offering Filipino dishes have been popping up in recent years, offering exciting versions and twists and reinvigorating interest in local food. These include Crisostomo, Alab, Arroz Ecija, Dekada, Sangkap, 7107 Culture + Cuisine, Locavore, Sarsa, Alamat Filipino Pub and Deli, Neil’s Kitchen and Crisp on the 28th, among others.
Adding to the vibrancy of the local food scene is Salu, the Filipino restaurant of showbiz couple, who turned restaurateurs, Romnick Sarmenta and Harlene Bautista, which opened on June 9, 2016, in the barangay of Sacred Heart in Quezon City, a couple blocks away from the restaurant and bar strip along Tomas Morato Avenue.
The name of the restaurant was derived from the Filipino term salu-salo, meaning “a get-together or gathering over food,” or “a feast being shared,” and this is the atmosphere it desires to conjure — where family and friends get together for food. It starts with the homey atmosphere, which owes to the fact the restaurant was originally an old residence.
The menu is ample, culling classic dishes from different parts of the Philippines, such as the balbakwa from the Visayas and the tiyulang itim from Mindanao. While there are the popular dishes such as the sinigang and adobo, Salu offers a number of dishes of Luzon that are unfamiliar to urban diners, collected from different provinces. It also offers “regional fusions,” two dishes from different areas fused together. One fusion dish is the binagoongang lechon kare-kare, nicknamed BLK. Another is the adobo laing.
Sarmenta and Bautista said they are glad that their restaurant has been received enthusiastically, and it has been a fruitful year. They are proud that they forged tie-ups with organizations such as Hashtag Philippines through Antoinette Taus, through which about 300 children are fed every event with Salu packed lunches that come with love notes from volunteers.
They are particularly proud of their participation at the Madrid Fusion Manila 2016, a major food event.
“We are grateful to be chosen by DoT ARMM (Department of Tourism Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), headed by Ayesha Mangudadatu Dilangalen, to represent their region at the prestigious Madrid Fusion. We have built this brand to be the culinary authority when it comes to all things Filipino. And being chosen to participate in such convention was an affirmation that indeed we somehow are in the right path of meeting our mission,” Bautista said.
During the Madrid Fusion Manila 2016, they prepared pampa, beef kulma, syagul pagi, utak utak and pyanggang, among others.
“Hopefully, on our second year, we can serve more authentic plates and continue to be a portal for all guests to discover all the flavors of this country, especially those that are still undiscovered,” Bautista added.
To celebrate Salu’s first year, they are offering promos and crafting plans.
The restaurant opened their anniversary month with a promo of buy-one-take-one of their BLK. On June 11, they had A Piso for Brazo de Kalabasa, where the first 100 guests got to buy their popular dessert for a peso for every purchase of P500.
Masarap at nakakataba ng puso ang aming unang taon. So we thought, why not give thanks and extend to our customers those blessings that we earned because of their trust through these simple promos. These two dishes, BLK and Brazo de Kalabasa, are our top moving dish and desert on our first year. So it’s fitting to grant a one of a kind treat with buy-one-take-one and a one-peso dessert, as we turn one,” shared Sarmenta.
For their second year, they are unveiling their campaign “#SarapMabuhay,” highlighting the exciting flavors of the country, as well as the abundance of fresh ingredients and the experience of the salu-salo. For the campaign, the couple will go on adventures in search of more dishes to offer at Salu.
They are also offering the new Pilipinas Platter, their version of a group feast, giving customers an opportunity to taste all the specialties from different parts of the Philippines. Also, more Filipino fusion dishes, under Likhang Salu, will be served and made available this June.
On the other hand, their Luto ni Nanay program gives moms opportunities to cook with the chefs of Salu and learn how to prepare special dishes for the family.
Diners are encouraged to come in during this time as the Salu promises more adventures into Filipino cuisine.

Salu is at Scout Torillo corner Scout Fernandez, Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City. For reservations and more information, call 02-282-1512, or contact them through their Facebook fan page.

Brazo de kalabasa
Ginataang puso ng saging
Hipon sa aligi
Sinampalukang hito
Durian cake
Pork ribs
Salu Tinapay
Sinigang na buto-buto
Taho cheesecake
Salu owners Romnick Sarmenta and Harlene Bautista
Article published in The Daily Tribune Life section, page 12, June 22, 2017, volume 17, number 101 

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