Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants has announced Toyo Eatery in Manila as the 2018 recipient of the Miele One To Watch Award. Selected by the organisers of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, in collaboration with its regional experts, the award is presented to a restaurant that is outside the Asia’s 50 Best list but is identified as the rising star of the region.
Toyo Eatery’s owner-chef Jordy Navarra will formally accept the award at the sixth annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, on 27 March, in Macao.
The name Toyo derives from the Filipino word for ‘soy sauce’ and reflects Navarra’s philosophy: Toyo Eatery’s menu draws inspiration from everyday local ingredients and incorporates refined techniques and intricate layers. Navarra and his wife, May, who oversees the restaurant floor, are committed to celebrating local culture and interpreting Filipino culinary traditions in a modern context. Each dish is designed to convey a unique Philippine flavour or represent a traditional cooking method while the furniture, dinnerware and accessories are crafted by local artists and designers.
Navarra’s pride in his heritage is evident in Toyo Eatery’s menu. He created one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, ‘Garden Vegetables,’ based on a traditional folk song that lists 18 local vegetable varieties. In a nod to nostalgia, his upbringing and the terroir of the Philippines, Navarra’s dish features all 18 ingredients in various forms, whether charred, sautéed, crushed or pureed.
“From the start, our mission at Toyo Eatery has been to reassess, rediscover, and find a deeper understanding of Filipino culture through food,” explains Navarra. “As Toyo Eatery approaches its second anniversary, this award is the gift we never saw coming. Being granted this award by such a respected authority is an amazing honour. We are thankful to those who appreciate and ack owledge what we do. Toyo is still in its infancy and we still have much to do, but we’re inspired to learn from the chefs whose restaurants are included in the list of Asia’s 50 Best.”
Navarra began his career at Heston Blumenthal’s legendary restaurant The Fat Duck , where he developed his technical skills and progressive approach. He returned to Asia to work at Bo Innovation in Hong Kong before landing in Manila, where he launched Black Sheep in 2014. He and May opened Toyo Eatery in 2016, offering diners a choice between a three or 1 1-course set menu as well as à la carte options.