14 Castilla Street, Quezon City
Open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Some say that the modern world has no room for traditions. After all, why should we rely on old ways if we can easily learn something new with just a few taps on our keyboards? But 1950 Restaurant in Quezon City is out to prove that the old and the new can perfectly blend together.
This small and cozy restaurant takes its name from the year the Santaromana ancestral house was completed. It is dubbed as the Big House by the Santaromanas and served as the center of family gatherings and Sunday lunches. It was this familial vibe that attracted the owners of 1950 Restaurant to put up their newest venture here.
The restaurant’s owners made sure to retain the home’s original structure and even kept some of the old furniture, like the glass-topped wooden table and rattan dining chairs that can be found at the center of the restaurant. The interiors are also bright and cheery, thanks to the restaurant’s reliance on huge bay windows for natural light. In fact, the only thing that reminds you you’re at a restaurant are the fancy crystal chandeliers, but that depends on what part of town you’re from. Either way, it’s a beautiful space.
But what really makes this restaurant stand out is its new take on classic, home-cooked fare. The team behind the menu, composed of Cyma’s Robby Goco and Akulturado Vancouver’s Chester Villas, drew inspiration from the Santaromana family’s travels, favorites, and family specialties, but also made sure to put their own unique twist on them. As Chef Robby puts it, they wanted to present something familiar and new at the same time.
Take their Sinigang na Lechon (P375). Their version of this Filipino classic ditches the tamarind broth for one made with caramelized pineapple. The result is a soup that’s both sweet and sour, a perfect base for the fatty lechon that comes with it.
There are numerous versions of adobo out there, and the Adobo Classics (P350) acknowledges that. Each order features four kinds of adobo and presents them tapas-style: there's the garlicky Adobong Tagalog, the creamy Adobo sa Gata, the spicy Pork Belly Adobo sa Dilaw, and Adobong Itlog, which is the lightest among the four and serves as a palate cleanser.
You cannot miss out on theBaked Hipon and Laing (P280) with toasted coconut cream and taro. Its richness is tempered by the garlic roasted shrimp, which is stuffed with salty tinapa and fish roe.
But if you’re looking for something new, make sure to look beyond the restaurant’s Filipino offerings. There’s the melt-in-your-mouth Beef Cheeks Bourguignon (P470), tender chunks of beef stewed in a red-wine sauce and topped over a mound of creamy mashed potatoes. Are you a fan of seafood? You can either go for the Japanese-Inspired Shellfish Curry (P650) and stuff yourself with servings of clams, mussels, and scallops swimming in a coconut-cream curry plated over quinoa, or the Lobster Bisque (P600), a rich and creamy soup made with roasted Maine lobsters. If you want to fully indulge, they have roasted Bone Marrow (P380), which is topped with a sweet onion jam and portobello mushrooms.
They also have rice bowls available on their menu, for those looking for something a bit simpler yet still filling. Their Bagnet Sisig (P300) is a standout with crispy bits of bagnet in a rich umami soy sauce, while the Tori Kuwayaki (P250) comes with crunchy Japanese fried chicken coated in a sweet and sticky sauce on top of rice.
For desserts, 1950 Restaurant draws inspiration from both Filipino favorites and Western-style sweets. Make sure to sample their fluffy and cheesy Toasted Ensaymada (P280). It can be dipped in bittersweet hot chocolate or eaten alongside candied bacon for a sweet and salty treat.
You can wash down your meal with any one of their signature cocktails, like the Aperol Spritz (P350), a bitter aperitif that’s made sweet and light thanks to oranges and a shot of vodka, or the 1950 Cocktail (P300), a sweet concoction made with strawberries, lime juice, and gin. They also have craft beer on the menu, specially brewed by the Calle Brewery in Vigan. You can also take your pick from the restaurant’s extensive wine collection, which is displayed in a glass case right at the center of the restaurant.
1950 Restaurant celebrates all things new as well as all things traditional. Everything is a balance between old and new, from the restaurant’s welcoming interiors to its unique take on classic dishes. This home-turned-restaurant is proof that embracing modernity doesn’t mean throwing everything old out of the window.
Photos by Jericho San Miguel