It’s always fascinating to find out what a chef likes to eat on his days-off. After spending countless hours
in the kitchen, checking on every detail so that the food served his guests tastes the way he wants it to,
what does he look for in his own meal?
For instance, for actor Bradley Cooper who convincingly portrayed a chef in the 2015 movie “Burnt”, it was a burger at Burger King. Closer to home, Chef JP Anglo of Sarsa Kitchen & Bar also longs for familiar flavors, and it’s a toss-up between Japanese food, Chinese cuisine, Mexican fare, and a well-made Eggs Benedict.The chef enjoys his time away from the kitchen by indulging at his favorite restaurants in the city, then paying safely and conveniently with his Mastercard.
“On Monday, my day off, I like going to Izakaya Kikufuji. I like eating there by myself because I want to just enjoy myself and the meal,” shares the chef.
The Japanese restaurant in Makati’s Little Tokyo (2277 Chino Roces, Pasong Tamo, Legaspi Village) serves fresh sashimi and affordable bento sets. Anglo makes it a point to head there after the lunch rush hour, but just before it closes for the afternoon “because the chefs come out and we get to have a chitchat.”
“I’m a creature of habit and I like to go to the same places. I don’t like having a ‘miss’ meal during my days off, so I stick to my favorites: five kinds of sashimi and the Agedashi Tofu,” he said. Izakaya Kikufuji is also a favorite of Anglo for sentimental reasons–it’s where he and his girlfriend had their first date. “On date nights, we sit at the same table most of the time if it’s available.”
Despite his hectic schedule that includes checking up on all the Sarsa branches (UP Town Center, SM Megamall, Legaspi Village in Makati, SM Mall of Asia, Fort Bonifacio, and Rockwell), he always makes time for his other passions, such as catching some swells in La Union or Siargao. He also keeps fit by heading to the gym and doing Crossfit.
“On cheat days, I like going to Mendokoro Ramenba (G/F V Corporate Center, Soliman St., Salcedo Village). “My favorite there is the Shoyu Ramen with extra tamago (egg), extra nori flakes, extra spring onions and extra bamboo shoots.”
Chinese food in ample portions is a fail-safe choice for Anglo and his family.
“We always go to Chinese restaurants because my Dad loves it and you can never go wrong with Chinese food. In Makati, we like to go to Hai Shin Lou (810 Arnaiz Ave., San Lorenzo, Makati and 4/F Alphaland Makati, Ayala Ave. Extension). “I normally order the beef with broccoli, salted fish fried rice, hot and sour soup, salt and pepper squid. I like to order the classics because it’s comfort food,” Anglo said.
South of the metro, another favorite of the chef is La Chinesca (248C Aguirre St., BF Homes, Paranaque). Owned by chef Bruce Ricketts, the compact Mexican restaurant serves fresh tacos with fillings like with beef intestines, or beef shoulder and ox tongue.
“Everything is so good because you can really taste the love from the family there who makes it,” Anglo said. “They’re very passionate about their product and their business that it translates to the flavors of their food. It’s worth the drive and it’s worth falling in line for a space in this 20-seater restaurant.”
When he gets a craving for Eggs Benedict, the chef heads to Wildflour that, he said, has the “best baguette or bread in Manila.” The popular bakery and restaurant chain has branches in Makati (Legaspi Village, Salcedo Village, Rockwell), Fort Bonifacio, Greenhills, and Podium Mall in Ortigas. “I’m a very simple guy. I like to get the smoked salmon with poached egg on top of their toast,” Anglo said. He recently posted on his Instagram a picture of steamed chicken feet that he captioned “midnight snack.”
His penchant for strong, simple flavors can also be found at Sarsa which he describes as a contemporary regional Filipino restaurant. “I say contemporary because there are twists and turns to the dish, but the essence of Filipino regional cuisine remains intact.” For example, their inasal (grilled chicken) is spicy inasal while their tortang talong (stuffed fried eggplant) has sardines and kesong puti (goat cheese) instead of ground meat.
“When we opened Sarsa four years ago, my goal was to introduce in Manila the inasal I love and grew up with. Every single day I think about how we can move it forward so now we have spicy inasal and sweet gata inasal.”
Anglo has said several times before that he isn’t out to “reinvent the wheel.” Instead he wants to enhance it. “If it’s kare-kare, it should still be kare-kare. You know, you don’t reinvent kare-kare because it already works but you can make it better perhaps by cooking the beef until it’s softer, and choosing good quality beef.”
This holiday season when balikbayan are raring to celebrate an authentic Filipino Christmas, Anglo suggests using MasterCard to order some of the bestsellers at Sarsa like Sizzling Kansi, Sizzling Bulalo, Isaw (intestines), Inasal, and Batchoy (noodle soup).
“The holidays call for reunions and celebrations. Whether it’s with family or friends, getting together over a meal allows us to connect with those who mean the most to us.” says the chef and foodie. Let Mastercard help make those celebrations more convenient, enjoyable and rewarding. Knowing that your Mastercard is accepted in over 44 million locations, you’ll have a lot of dining choices locally or abroad. Plus, with so many perks and privileges, you get even more than just great bonding moments and delicious dishes when you use your Mastercard.
For Anglo, Mastercard makes it easy to enjoy good food with the people that matter.