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Fresh flavors find a new home in Makati |

Modern Living

Fresh flavors find a new home in Makati

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Food connoisseurs will have more reasons to frequent the quaint neighborhoods and districts in Makati with the opening of three new upscale restaurants owned and operated by some of the most innovative young entrepreneurs in the country: Erwan Heussaff, Stephen Ku, JP Hernandez, Joel Poniente and Raymond Magdaluyo.

Three new restaurant concepts from the group were especially handpicked by leading real-estate developer Robinsons Land Corporation, in partnership with Security Land Corporation, for the mixed-use ground floor retail strip of Signa Designer Residences, a luxury high-rise condominiums in Salcedo Village. These are Sprout, Sabao and Bait’s.

Sprout will ride on the global health-consciousness wave that has swept the country. “The idea is to take restaurant food and offer it in the convenient casual format,” explains Erwan Heussaff. “It’s touted as the first quick, to-go self-service restaurant that serves fresh, healthy fare in Manila.”

“The market for healthy food has grown dramatically,” adds Stephen Ku, who is in charge of marketing and operations. “Consumers have become increasingly concerned about their health and the quality of food they eat, but because not everyone has the luxury of time to plan and prepare food. Sprout aims to take care of that.” 

Another novel concept is Sabao, a non-traditional sit-down restaurant that will serve Filipino soups taken to a whole new level. “Filipino soups are flavorful but tend to be overcooked. Sabao will offer soups with flavorful broth but fresh-looking meat and vegetables,” explains Heussaff.

The idea for Sabao was derivative of the current ramen bar boom. Hernandez mentions that this edgy take on soup will likely attract Asian expats and visitors from Singapore or Hong Kong. “It may take longer for Filipino customers to acquire the taste though. An open mind is a must. This is not going to be the soup we grew up with,” he warns.

Bait’s was born out of the young restaurateurs’ displeasure in finding a restaurant that specializes in seafood such as Lobster Houses of New England, Clam Bakes of Seattle and Crab Shacks abroad. Realizing it was yet another opportunity waiting to be seized, the self-proclaimed gastronauts vowed to put together the first seafood shack in the country that offers fresh, live seafood prepared and cooked the way it should be.

At Bait’s, product and execution will be at the forefront. The group envisions Bait’s to resemble the traditional New England-meets-hip-San Francisco atmosphere. A portion of the main dining area will be partitioned off at night to become Lazyjack’s at Bait’s — a specialty bar where craft beers and cocktails will be served to the after-office crowd.

With the group’s infectious energy and amazing synergy, the success of their new endeavors will come as no surprise. They consider working with Robinsons Luxuria as a huge factor in ensuring that everything from planning to execution is going well.

“They recognize our vision. They are a partner in building our brand,” enthuses Heussaff.

Poniente reveals another reason why their search for a location to house their flagship restaurants ended at Signa Designer Residences. “We prefer unique locations more than mainstream areas as jump-off points for our flagship restaurants,” he says. With the residential condo development’s luxe vibe and world-class design, Signa Residences proved to be a perfect match to the groups’ novel dining concepts.

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