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Tatung Sarthou’s new neighborhood restaurant is for families with taste

A MID-CENTURY HOME in Quezon City is the site of a new restaurant, Azadore, by award-winning chef and author Myke “Tatung” Sarthou.

The restaurant had a soft opening in March, and is currently the chef’s biggest restaurant, with a seating capacity of about 110 indoors and another 200 outdoors. During a tasting on May 24, frankly, we kept our expectations quite low as the restaurant was billed as a place for family dining, spots not usually known for culinary excellence (but let’s be honest, are always the best places to satisfy baser cravings).

Well, perhaps some families really have better taste, because we encountered a Pork Tomahawk cooked sous-vide for four hours, resulting in pork with a texture as creamy as its mushroom sauce. This was accompanied by Paella Mixta with chicken, shrimp, clam, and chorizo (quite comforting), Smoked Pork Barbecue Ribs (which we will write home about; the salad, maybe not) and a Three-mushroom Truffle Penne. All these combined had the effect of transporting one to a Sunday lunch attended by all the members of a clan, with all its accompanying joy and noise.

The connection was easy to make. While the name comes from the Spanish for “grill,” the spirit comes from neighborhood barbecues. “We just chanced upon this property last year,” said Mr. Sarthou in an interview. “The houses here reminded me of my grandparents’ house,” he said about the Scouts-area street they occupy, dotted with these homes from the 1950s. “Communities where your entire neighborhood is your extended family.” One might notice then, that their menu is a hodge-podge of cuisines, calling to mind neighborhood potlucks where every home had a different specialty. “I wanted to relive that experience here,” said Mr. Sarthou.

He counts that he now has five restaurants — Lore, Pandan, Azadore, his private dining concept in Rizal, and NYC (New York Cubao, a Filipino-style diner in Robinsons Magnolia). In Gateway 2, a wing under construction at the Araneta family’s Gateway mall in Cubao, he plans to build a Filipino-style deli.

“I manage expectations by being very straightforward,” he said while explaining the challenges of expansion, noting: “[We] do the best we can, every time.

“There are always risks involved,” he notes in pursuing expansion, including financial and reputational risks, but, “it’s about taking calculated risks that allow you to grow…. If you cease growing, you begin to fall. You just have to keep moving forward.”

Azadore is located at 111 Scout Fernandez Street, Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City. The restaurant is open from Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to midnight. For inquiries and reservations, contact 0917-101-0070. — Joseph L. Garcia

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