New Restaurant Alert: SOUV By Cyma at Net Park, Bonifacio Global City
Greek food, every day of the week.
SOUV By Cyma
G/F Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) “The word 'souv',” says chef Robby Goco, “comes from souvlaki. That’s big chunks of meat, whether pork or lamb or turkey or chicken cooked on a spit over open fire. Like a rotisserie. It’s the most unpretentious way of cooking—everybody will always come back to a proper roast.”
While some may think the best restaurants are the ones you save for a special occasion, Chef Robby begs to differ: “I want people to eat at my restaurant on an everyday basis,” he declares. “I'm not here to open a resto and tell you to eat at my restaurant once a month or once a week. No, I’m targeting people to eat here every day. So I removed all the layers and I just came out with the most unpretentious, super-straightforward no-frills menu.”
It may seem like a lofty goal for others, but Chef Robby isn’t like everyone else. For one, he already has Cyma—almost synonymous to Greek food in Manila—under his belt. He also opened Green Pastures soon after, but a trip to Greece inspired his return to the cuisine.
“I came back to Greece a month ago and my last visit before that was seven years ago,” chef Robby shares. “They were very traditional and they [can be] purists but during my last visit a month ago I noticed ‘wow they're already evolving.’ They’re now using ingredients that were not available 10 years ago. I guess they got bored with whatever they’re eating because it’s a modern take on everything.”
This modern take on Greek cuisine is what Chef Robby brings to the table at SOUV. It’s a youthful and playful take on the traditional, something that extends beyond the menu to the space itself. Blue and white, of course, are still present, but there’s more color too from plates shipped all the way from Greece to traditional Greek dishes and techniques hand-lettered on the wall. Even the pop-design inspired menu is full of youthful energy. “I want customers to see color and prepare themselves for food that’s just as colorful,” says Chef Robby.
There are plenty of choices on their lunch menu (available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) so you’re guaranteed a different experience every day of the week. You can choose from three different roast meats—chicken, pork, or lamb—and a vegetarian option too. Then, you can choose to have your meal in three different ways: as a wrap with whole wheat or traditional pita, as a salad on top of kale and romaine, or as a bowl with quinoa and brown rice.
Treat yourself and head straight for the Lamb (P565/wrap, P595/salad, P595/bowl) which is served with harissa yogurt, pickled cucumbers, pickled radish, pickled red onions, sprouts, and mizithra. The lamb is incredibly tender, like the best pulled pork, and with none of the gamey flavor. Whether you have it as a wrap, salad, or bowl, you’re guaranteed a meal that’ll taste light but is surprisingly filling, with the tart pickled vegetables adding bright spots of flavor.
The intense flavors don’t let up even in their pasta. The Avgotaracho or Greek Tuna Roe (P410/small, P630/large) doesn’t taste like your usual pasta dish but you’ll welcome the savory brininess of the roe, tempered by peppery arugula. Don’t be fooled by the "small" label because it’s large enough to share between two people.
Sticky Chicken Wings
The Sticky Chicken Wings (P495) are probably the tastiest chicken wings you’ll ever taste. There’s a lot of enjoyable things going on here: sticky-sweet, definitely, from the honey, but there’s also an earthy spiciness from oregano and a strong zest from lemon and harissa yogurt. It could get quite intense, but the pickled onions are a refreshing break for your palate, so you can dig right in again.
But if there’s one dish that’s a guaranteed scene-stealer, it’s the Lovraki (P1,300) or a whole grilled lapu-lapu served with clams. You’ll be surprised to learn that the rich sauce has no cream or eggs: Only lemon and extra virgin olive oil that’s been emulsified. The result has a creamy texture that goes well with the char of the fish but doesn’t get too cloying, for a refreshingly light dish.
Frozen Greek Yogurt in EVOO & Sea Salt and Carrot Orange Jam
Drop by before closing time and grab this off-menu item: Ends
Don’t leave without having dessert—SOUV’s Frozen Greek Yogurt (P150) is served in to-go cups so there’s no excuse. Don’t think salt belongs in desserts? Their EVOO & Sea Salt will quickly convert you. The salt brightens the sweet-tart yogurt and adds an enjoyable crunch too. You might end up adding more (each table at SOUV comes with their special salt and lime salt, so go right ahead).
Greek is still a cuisine that many find intimidating, but Chef Robby plans on changing that. “There was a time people didn’t know about nori or togarashi,” he says. “Now it’s everywhere.” He sees the same happening for Greek food, and with SOUV’s no-frills everyday Greek dishes, it looks like he’s one step closer to that dream.
Photos by Ian Santos