G/F The Plaza, Arya Residences, McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City
Open from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Monday to Thursday); 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Friday to Saturday); and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) Calling someone a “savage” to their face could never come to any good. But a cultivated savage? This could refer to having a meal at Chef Josh Boutwood’s pre-industrial restaurant Savage, where caveman-cuisine methods using wood fire, smoke, and ash are the only primitive elements that stand between you and your next meal.
There is nothing electric use: No blenders, sous-vide equipment, pressure cookers, or any other modern bells and whistles when it comes to preparing the food here. “When properly done, one can almost taste the soul of the dish and the love and labor it took to prepare it,” says Chef Josh.
The restaurant’s new menu items are sure to soothe the hunger pangs of any savage appetite or truly #Hangry mortals who come within the relaxed vibe of Savage’s industrial-chic walls.
The Bread & House Butter (P190), with freshly baked sourdough as the only item cooked in the oven, has been at Savage since they’ve opened their doors in April 2018. But to feed your carb cravings, they’ve also added the knäckebröd, a Swedish crispbread peppered with caraway seeds for that distinctive earthy flavor and aroma. Their house-baked bread is served with two kinds of butter: The crowd-favorite nutty, burnt butter with chives and breadcrumbs, and the seaweed kelp butter.
The Stracciatella With Olive Oil and Capers (P490) is a comforting Italian-cheese dish made by shredding and stretching the cheese, hence the name derived from the Italian word “straccia,” meaning “rag” or “shred.” This fresh and creamy cheese with whipped cream folded in with the fried salted capers, cold-pressed olive oil, fresh oregano, and cracked black pepper will shred any inhibitions one might have upon tasting it.
The side-skirt steak is one of the most delectable cuts of beef, with rich and full flavor, and Savage’s take on Side Skirt, Heirloom Tomato, Aged Balsamic (P1,200) is no exception. It’s marinated with punchy horseradish and spices before being put straight on the grill and served with a tomato salad dressed in balsamic vinegar, a lot of chive oil, and in-house chimichurri to give it a refreshing kick.
Chef Josh agrees that the decision to add the Tuna Belly, Royal, Shallots (P890) to the menu stems from the knowledge that this is every inihaw lover’s staple. Each succulent bite of tuna belly is covered with a crunchy crust of cornflakes with dried parsley and pickled onions. For a slightly sweeter taste, the tuna is marinated in classic Royal Tru-Orange, or what is called the Savage Signature Marinade or “M1.” The garlic emulsion on the side, along with a dash of lemon, rounds out the soda’s sweetness and ties it all together.
Before Grilled Octopus, Shiso, Calamansi (P790) was added to the new menu, Savage never had a dish that used local calamansi. This light and stimulating meal uses large octopus for its characteristic flavor and succulent texture. Meanwhile, the creamy soybean miso emulsion with fresh shiso leaf and roasted sesame seeds on the side make for the ideal complement. The best part of this dish might be the crunchy tip of the tentacle, charred and burnt to umami perfection.
Just as memorable is the Grilled Flounder, Garam Masala, Garlic Yoghurt (P670). Its lean flatfish has a mild, sweet taste and firm texture that’s smothered with the restaurant’s house-blend garam masala, a mix of various Indian spices. The tomato oil with curry leaf drizzled on top and the Greek yoghurt with garlic and lime brings an otherwise light seafood dish to new heights with a savage punch of flavor.
The Treacle Tart, Vanilla (P290) is a childhood favorite of Chef Josh when he was growing up in the U.K. And with 80% of this sinful dessert being pure sugar with ginger and breadcrumbs, enjoy each wicked bite and think about the consequences tomorrow. After that, you can treat yourself to the delicate White Chocolate, Ash Meringue, Pineapple (P190). The rich white chocolate lies in a bed of sweet-and-sour pineapple purée, with grilled meringue for another layer of texture. Garnished with Wood Sorrel, a wild herb that tastes like apple skin and a variety of local edible flowers, this unique dessert is as delicious as it is photogenic.
Chef Josh laughs out loud when asked about the restaurant's frequent diners. Someone quips, “The demographic is hungry.” This is exactly what Savage is all about—feeding everyone with no frills, no modern-kitchen magic; just pure, wild culinary skills and fresh ingredients. Savage mode on, indeed.
Photos by Hans Fausto