Mar 13, 2018

It hasn’t been two years since Toyo Eatery placed its roots at the quaint creative space of The Alley at Karrivin Plaza along Chino Roces Extension. Since the beginning, Toyo has easily become one of Manila’s top favorite restaurants. Now, the restaurant under the helm of renowned chef Jordy Navarra is getting recognized outside the Philippines as well.

Before the awarding ceremony on Mar. 27 in Macau, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants grants Toyo the 2018 Miele One to Watch award. Originally called the Breakthrough award, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants gives this award to young promising restaurants. The early announcement gives the international food community and critics to get to know the restaurant better.

Chef Jordy Navarra

According to writer and critic Clinton Palanca, Navarra is also the first Filipino chef to be recognized for Philippine cuisine. “After this year, it’ll be almost impossible to say that Filipino food isn’t getting due attention on the global stage,” Palanca writes.

The resounding collective mission of our team in Toyo is to reassess, rediscover, and find a deeper understanding of Filipino culture through food. It’s an idea that has been present since Toyo’s planning stages, which remains relevant to our work, now more than ever. Closing in on just our second year, down to the month, being awarded by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants as the 2018 Miele One to Watch was an award we never saw coming. Being granted this by such a respected authority is incredible and terrifying altogether. One of the reasons we’re called Toyo is because of a Filipino saying that goes “May toyo sa utak,” whose literal translation is soy sauce in the brain; a thing that’s said to crazy people. Whoever thought then that this small Filipino restaurant in Manila, run by crazy kids, could make it somewhere? We certainly didn’t. But we sure are thankful to those that saw something in us. So we’d like to send out our heartfelt thanks for the outpour of support from friends here and around the world. 💕 It’s an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as the greats of Asia’s 50 Best. As we are just closing in on our second year, we still have much to learn and more to do. What better place to do that then amongst so many people we look up to? 🇵🇭🇵🇭🇵🇭

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There is something familiar yet surprising about the food at Toyo. But where does that exactly spring from?

“It’s not about recreating dishes. You can be Filipino in terms of how it feels, how it tastes, what you use, and how you use it,” Navarra told us in 2016. “We want to layer a lot of different flavors using the same ingredients. In finding a complexity of taste with the least amount of ingredients, we come up with different permutations on how to extract flavor by not adding more.”

Toyo’s take on BBQ

“I think a lot of people will not get it,” said Palanca, “but enough people will for it to succeed, at least initially. We’ll have to wait and see.” Maybe the wait is over and this award is just proof that Navarra’s intentions are well-received.

Oysters from Aklan with cucumbers, in lime and basi vinaigrette.

Grilled belly and loin of bangus with Silog.

When Palanca asked Navarra how this award will change the direction of the restaurant, the chef answered that it will not. Instead, they will continue to keep doing what they’re doing. I guess that means they’ll only continue moving forward and challenging our beloved cuisine.

Read more:
Reintroducing Filipino fare
Panaderya Toyo’s pan de sal is possibly the best you’ll ever have
Richie Manapat goes back to the basics of bread with sourdough

TAGS: asia's 50 best restaurants award Chef Jordy Navarra food philippine cuisine restaurant Toyo Eatery