At Sammy’s, the (dining) tables have turned

Cainta, Rizal—Dinner parties have replaced going out to restaurants as the latest foodie trend thanks to Metro Manila’s damnable traffic, and while dining in is definitely cheaper, someone has to draw the short straw and do the cooking.

The concept isn’t exactly new. It started in recession-hit cities like London and New York where people, who shared a passion for food, cooking and generally stuffing their faces, would meet up at a friend’s apartment, with the host cooking, and pay for the experience of being wowed by food they wouldn’t have at home. 

Pop ups are in

Since then, “pop-up restaurants” (one that appears for a short time and then disappears just as quickly), advertised on Facebook , Instagram, etc., became a phenomenon that has crossed continents. 

In the Philippines, most Filipino families and friends bond over food. They usually go to malls to find something they like to eat. Some people, however, get tired of the same food over time, so they try looking for new food hangouts, or restaurants on social media. The concept of a home restaurant seems like a logical idea.

Of course, the reality is when you’re inviting strangers into your house and charging them for food, you really do have to deliver — this is the big difference between cooking for friends, and cooking for paying customers. Strangers won’t feel obliged to be polite about your food.  

Not just glorified “lutong-bahay”

Enter, Sammy’s, a home-turned-restaurant at the far end of rustic Rizal. 

Jakarta residents for 17 years,  the establishment’s owners Sammy and Dorothy Isidro returned to the Philippines in early 2019 to settle down. As a child, the restaurant’s namesake, Sammy, was always interested in cooking. Inspired by food the couple tasted during their travels, opening up their own restaurant seemed like the natural next step upon returning.

Sammy developed his culinary talents in between gigs at the Hotel Mulia, a five-star hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he and Dorothy worked as professional singers for over 17 years.

Upon their return to the Philippines, they decided to convert  the elongated patio of Sammy’s ancestral home into an intimate diner that can seat up to 25 people. Thus the idea was was born, Sammy’s Restaurant, where they serve tasty Asian-inspired dishes, as well as serenade guests with a song or two during meals.

Cakes and pastries to go

The couple also set up Sammy’s Cookin’—to provide catering services as well as deliver cakes, pastries and other sweets to foodies around Metro Manila.

This also extends the reach of his cuisine well beyond the vicinity and operating hours of his restaurant.

Eat very little before coming

At their cozy home itself, Sammy’s offers a hearty breakfast menu, featuring the chef’s own favorite picks—Sammy’s Breakfast includes tapa, tocino, longganiza, danggit, garlic fried rice and omelet. Dorothy, has her name on the menu under D’s Breakfast consisting of bacon, ham, sausage, hash brown, pancakes and fried eggs. If you are planning to try out their dinner menu, eat very little beforehand as Sammy whips up an unbelievably tender 5-Hour Pork Belly, accompanied by one of three choices: Sammy’s Sinilog, Bao Bun in Aioli Sauce or Laing and White Rice. Another must-try is the Indonesian “Konro” (Braised Beef Ribs), with nasih puti (Bahasa for white rice). Starters include Chicken Buffalo Wings and Cheesy Nachos.

What makes Sammy’s unique is the dinner entertainment. Sammy’s has its very own singing chef—Sammy, himself, and the ambience turns palpably romantic when Dorothy joins in for a duet. The dining experience is further enhanced by the interiors: a towering wall of glass panes, industrial pipe walls lamps and uniquely designed clocks.

Sammy’s Restaurant is located at 14 Raspberry Bend St., Valley View Executive Subdivision, Phase 3 Cainta, Rizal.

Topics: Sammy’s Restaurant , Sammy Isidro , Dorothy Isidro , Chicken Buffalo Wings and Cheesy Nachos

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