Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya of Sarap BAon, the modern Filipino restaurant he opened in Brixton last year, will open a new “bistro” at 10 Heddon Street in Mayfair next month.

The site was most recently home to Fallow, but also gave Chris Leach of Manteca the chance to pilot his “British” pasta and homemade meat restaurant in 2019, a restaurant that later became hugely successful on Great Marlborough Street before announcing his own move to Shoreditch in September. The Evening Standard first announced Montoya’s takeover, which comes on November 23rd.

Sarap, which means “delicious” in Tagalog, is a brand Montoya that was introduced as a monthly dinner club before opening a pop-up in Dalston in 2018, and later taking it into central London – at the pub Sun and 13 Cantons on Beak Street in Soho. His career and success have increased since then, first through the Brixton opening and this latest opportunity on Heddon Street.

“I’m so excited to open Sarap Filipino Bistro on 10 Heddon Street, it’s a great place with a great track record in launching some great restaurants,” Montoya said in a statement. “I want to build on our work at Sarap BAon Brixton to champion Filipino cuisine and present our cuisine in a modern and progressive light. This is not about elevation, this is about representation!”

“With Filipino soul and a London heart,” the menu will show Montoya’s interpretation of Filipino tastes, the chef hopes. His philosophy? “Authentic flavors proudly delivered spurious.”

Montoya started Sara “as a means of reconnecting to her roots,” after working as a chef at Foley’s in Fitzrovia, as well as cooking at Michelin-starred Bermondsey restaurant Story and the Soho House group. In 2018, Montoya said he then wanted to “create an identity for Filipino cuisine in London – inspired by the rich flavors and culinary techniques of the 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines” along with his experience of working across a series of London restaurants.

Arriving at Heddon Street is perhaps the purest expression to date for this destination. While the restaurant will revolve around lechon, the crispy, melting tender pork that Montoya has become so famous for, here it will be served whole and along with truffle adobo pork rice, which the young pig has been stuffed with. It must be booked 48 hours in advance and is designed to be split between four and six, at £ 48 per person.

But elsewhere there will be a new selection of dishes, including ensaladang talong: smoked aubergines, tomatoes, salted duck eggs; escabeche of grilled monkfish, sweet and sour red pepper sauce, pickled peppers; rellenong crispy pata: twice cooked adobo pork rice stuffed trotter; and chocolate: a four-layer chocolate cake designed to “showcase the many different cocoa available in the Philippines.”

Stuffed crispy pata: Twice boiled adobo pork rice stuffed trotter at Sarap Bistro on Heddon Street

Rellenong crispy pata: Twice boiled adobo pork rice stuffed trotter
Thomas Alexander

The idea to reduce the risk to the operator and landlord on Heddon Street 10 came into place after the unexpected failure of Magpie from the owners of Hackney’s Pidgin and King’s Cross sandwich shop Sons and Daughters in 2019. As such, Sarap Filipino Bistro will be in situ in “up to a year “, initially, a spokesman told Eater London.

Wherever Montoya and his lechon end up next time, Londoners are likely to wait.

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