s o u v

The younger sib­ling of Cyma has the same Gre­cian DNA, but with a cut­ting-edge culi­nary out­look and a fo­cus on an even more fes­tive menu.

Let’s Eat - - WHAT'S INSIDE -

Ilove see­ing a restau­rant in full swing. Given the sheer den­sity of the es­tab­lish­ments in the BGC, the seem­ingly end­less choices avail­able, and the daily in­for­ma­tion over­load all about food from all our in­dis­pens­able on­line in­flu­ences, it’s very dif­fi­cult to make a de­ci­sion on where to eat. That’s ex­actly the rea­son why I’m amazed at how much peo­ple have taken to Robby Goco’s new it­er­a­tion of his Cyma chain of restau­rants, Souv. The three-month old restau­rant in the BGC is al­ways full, even dur­ing off-peak hours. It’s not a new con­cept, per se. The chef ’s made sure that at least a dozen of Cyma’s best­selling dishes are avail­able in Souv, but the am­biance of the place, while still very Greek, feels so much more vi­brant; there’s a tin­gle when you en­ter, an an­tic­i­pa­tion of sud­denly dis­cov­er­ing some­thing new about some­thing fa­mil­iar. It’s like fall­ing in love again with an old flame. And what could be more thrilling than that, re­ally?

The late great Anasta­cio de Alba is rec­og­nized by lo­cal culi­nary his­to­ri­ans as the chef who re­ally in­tro­duced and de­moc­ra­tized au­then­tic Spanish cui­sine in the Philip­pines. I’m cer­tain that decades from now, Robby Goco will be sim­i­larly rec­og­nized for pop­u­lar­iz­ing Greek food in the coun­try. There’s his­tory hap­pen­ing, that’s for sure. Who would have imag­ined, fif­teen years ago, that the cui­sine of a coun­try, seem­ingly so dis­tant and dif­fer­ent from our own, would be so warmly em­braced? I’m cer­tain not even Robby him­self an­tic­i­pated this phe­nom­e­non. For sure, he had inkling: there are par­al­lels be­tween Greeks and Filipinos, af­ter all. Both are very family-ori­ented, with cel­e­bra­tions built around re­unions and home cook­ing. Both na­tions love cook­ing over red-hot coals, and the in­trin­sic the­atrics that grilling brings. Food is Life.

That so many of us love the food at both Cyma and Souv is a given. But let me clue you in on a cou­ple of se­crets that may just make you love those restau­rants even more. First, none of these restau­rants, now num­ber­ing eight and count­ing,

has a com­mis­sary. Every in­gre­di­ent of every sin­gle dish is prepped in-house at the start of every sin­gle day of ser­vice. Fresh­ness is ab­so­lute and non-ne­go­tiable. It should be ba­sic, but in an unimag­in­ably fast-paced restau­rant set­ting, it fairly bog­gles the mind, this ded­i­ca­tion to slow cook­ing. Sec­ond, look around, and look at the faces of the man­agers of the Cyma restau­rants closely. Chances are, they will look fa­mil­iar. You see, there’s no glass ceil­ing in this chain. A for­mer dish­washer even­tu­ally be­comes a restau­rant man­ager in a new branch. It’s not un­com­mon at all. So it begs the ques­tion, and their chef pa­tron proudly smiles as he gives me the an­swer: “I’m hap­pi­est when I pro­duce jobs. It’s even more ful­fill­ing than pro­duc­ing great food. That’s the rea­son why I work so hard to open more restau­rants. At the end of the day, It’s all about the peo­ple.” Opa, Chef! Opa!

“WHO WOULD HAVE IMAG­INED THAT THE CUI­SINE OF GREECE, A COUN­TRY SO DIS­TANT AND DIF­FER­ENT FROM OUR OWN, WOULD BE SO WARMLY EM­BRACED BY FILIPINOS?”

1 Zuchinni Kroketes

2 Av­o­cado Greek Sum­mer Salad

3 Chef Robby Goco

4 Souv In­te­ri­ors

5 Roasted Lamb, Chicken,

and Pork Plat­ter

6 Greek Frozen Yo­gurt Selec­toin 02

04 Souv is lo­cated at G/F, Net Park Build­ing, 5th Av­enue, BGC, Taguig. Two seat­ings avail­able dur­ing din­ner ser­vice: 09494819621

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