Jordy Navarra (pictured) with JP Cruz
Homemade banana catsup with Tortang Talong
2316 Chino Roces Ave, Makati, 1231 Metro Manila
+63 917 720 8630
Why go: Opened in 2016, Toyo Eatery is the brainchild of Filipino chef Jordy Navarra, founded on a philosophy of re-discovery of national identity through the country’s products, cuisine and culture. The restaurant makes its debut onto the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list this year after being selected as the Miele One To Watch in 2018.
About the chef: Navarra trained at Heston Blumenthal’s iconic restaurant The Fat Duck in England, where he picked up the British chef’s advanced technical skills and progressive mentality. He later worked at Bo Innovation in Hong Kong before moving back to his home country, where he launched Black Sheep in 2014, already with a focus on modern Filipino fare. With his wife May running front of house, he opened Toyo Eatery two years later.
Behind the name: ‘Toyo’ is the Filipino word for soy sauce, a simple condiment created through a complex production system. The restaurant plays with elements of the local language and heritage, resulting in dishes that are steeped in the country’s identity, but modern in flavour and presentation.
On the menu: Often using traditional cooking methods, Navarra has created tasting menus ranging from three to 11 dishes, and the restaurant also offers à la carte options. Among the flavoursome creations are the ‘Three-cut pork BBQ silog’ – a modern version of a popular street food, made at Toyo using three cuts of pork cooked over charcoal and finished in pork bone broth – and a dessert duo of charred cassava cake and chocolate bonbons filled with fish-sauce salted caramel.
The ambience: Toyo Eatery’s dining room features a large open kitchen and wooden tables, some of which are communal. The furnishing and dinnerware are, of course, made by local artists, and the work of Manila photographers is displayed on the walls. The atmosphere is buzzing, with diners sometimes taking the time to enjoy one of the inventive cocktails at the bar before making their way to the table for the main event.
Images: Miguel Nacianceno, Sonny Thakur