Sarap Filipino Barbeque and Lechon, which has been trading at Coffee Is My Cup Of Tea in Dalston this winter, will take on a new central London residency in the new year. The current pop-up will end on 22 December 2018.
Ferdinand — ‘Budgie’ — Montoya, the chef-founder of Sarap will arrive at The Sun and 13 Cantons on Beak Street in Soho from January, where he and the Sarap team will be in situ for three months. It is a venue that has served other pop-up ventures well, with Darjeeling Express and soon-to-be Chef’s Table star, Asma Khan, the most well-known past resident at the pub.
Montoya told Eater that Sarap will maintain the current format of small and large sharing plates, and add some extra dessert options. “We now have the luxury of all day access to a kitchen which will allow us to be more creative and adventurous with our food offerings,” he said. “Our lunch menu will revolve around rice plates incorporating some of our regular dishes such as the best-selling lechon liempo and in-house pickles.”
The lechon — Filipino slow-roasted pork belly — with thin, brittle crackling is the dish Montoya wants to push more than any other. The slow cooking at a low temperature ensures that the pig skin does not puff up in the way it does (more often than not) in the British roasted version. It is served with a mound of pickled carrot and daikon, coconut vinegar seasoned with bird’s eye chilli; and a version of the Filipino “all purpose” barbecue sauce — a pork liver, all spice berry, vinegar, and sugar condiment, which serves as the perfect foil to the pork itself.
Elsewhere on the menu, there’s Filipino fried chicken, grilled pork skewers, and kinilaw — citrus-marinated market fish, with alliums and chilli, similar to ceviche.
Montoya, formerly the Head Chef of Foley’s Restaurant in Fitzrovia, started Sarap as a monthly supper club “as a means to reconnect with his roots.” Montoya says he now “aims to create an identity for Filipino cuisine in London — drawing inspiration from the rich flavours and culinary techniques of the 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines along with his experiences working in the likes of Restaurant Story, Soho House and Flat 3.”
Sarap at The Sun & 13 Cantons on Great Pulteney Street starts on 15 January 2019 — running until the 14 April. Open Tuesday — Saturday for both lunch and dinner services. Montoya will offer a special lunch time express menu during the week.