There are dozens of restaurants opening these days. There is a wide range of concepts— European, American, Asian— and I’ve noticed a lot of Pinoy concepts, too.
Of all these concepts, I find the most difficult market to penetrate is fine dining, regardless of the type of cuisine. There is only a handful of these types of restaurants that have stood the test of time.
Most diners still like to patronize reasonably priced dining places. When a new place opens, it usually gets packed in the first few months. I call this the experimenting phase. Repeat customers for me, however, are the best and most encouraging indicator of a promising future.
I have seen fine-dining Filipno concepts that served creative and delicious Pinoy dishes but eventually didn’t make it. Either the high prices were the deterrent or Pinoy fusion food just has a hard time succeeding in our country.
There are a few other concepts out there that I’m sure will be a hit.
Recently, the creative mind of Chef Robby Goco gave birth to a hotdog joint at Uptown Mall in BGC serving all kinds of delicious hotdogs. I predict this will be a huge hit. Who doesn’t like a well-made hotdog?
Munchtown Gourmet is now open. Check it out!
Another concept that also works is comfort food. This type of cooking relies not only on taste but also on a whole package of memories—“Life was simpler then, there were hardly any problems.” It could even remind us of our childhood crush.
This is the concept behind Come Forth Kitchen.
Partners Rondelle and Tricia de Leon joined minds with chefs Gigi Almeda and Kat Pascual to open this place, and it has been making waves.
On the menu are dishes these four partners craved as kids. Everything is made from scratch, including the breads and pastries. It is interesting to observe that simple dishes are served differently, with a creative twist to them.
Among the dishes I sampled, the must-try is the Tinapa Caesar Salad. The greens are tossed in a light Caesar dressing with delicious, flaked tinapa. Very refreshing, healthy and guilt-free.
Their nachos are made from kamote chips and come with all sorts of toppings. Buttermilk pancakes are thick and light, topped with chunks of slab bacon. Yum!
The Malunggay Basil Pesto is topped with chicken and shaved parmesan and made with what looked like huge cannelloni pasta. Also worth a try.
I also enjoyed the 40-clove Boneless Chicken. The combination of creamed chicken and mashed potato never fails. I loved this, along with the charcoal-grilled burger with bacon.
For dessert, I enjoyed the Strawberry Brulee.
Parents have a strong influence when comfort food is concerned. Rondelle’s mom Aying occasionally gives diners serving dishes she had growing up in Bulacan, like sinigang na baka sa bayabas, fresh halabos na sugpo or freshly harvested giant crabs. Not only simple and memorable but also out of this world. I see a mother’s influence on her son in this case.
Come Forth Kitchen (tel. 4637655) is at 120 Jupiter St., Makati.