Eating at this new restaurant in New Manila will take you back to the good old days

Published February 1, 2020, 1:58 PM

by MB Lifestyle

By Kristelle Bechayda | Images by Noel Pabalate

When you’re living in a bustling city, it’s hard, if not impossible, to look for a quiet place to eat good food. It’s even more challenging if one wishes to dine somewhere that feels like home.

Along Castilla Street in the quaint community of New Manila, a newly restored ancestral house doesn’t only offer a peaceful place for its restaurant-goers, but also a classic menu that will remind them of their childhood.

Housed in a two-story American contemporary residence formerly owned by the Santaromana family, 1950 Restaurant is built on the concept of providing hearty home staples. Factor in the charming interior of the ancestral house (fondly called the Big House on its heyday), and the experience is like visiting a relative who has prepared a feast to celebrate a joyful occasion.

It is akin to being transported back in time. Some of the original furniture were retained, including a long table that can sit as many as 10 people. There’s a grand piano on the second floor, and bookshelves still packed full of the patriarch’s treasured books. The tables and chairs, along with the light fixtures and the chandelier, were customized to achieve the 1950s vibe the restaurant is aiming for.

“We feel the need for something homey and cozy,” says Kristin Singson Meehan, one of the business partners. When they were told the new restaurant needed to be located in an ancestral house, they searched for a suitable location. They found the “one” in the Santoromana residence with its sprawling outdoor space for parking and its well-preserved interiors that can accommodate up to 90 customers.

Just recently, the restaurant was soft-launched to the public and, so far, its classic dishes have been warmly received just as much as the environment in which they are served. Faithful to the concept, the restaurant’s menu highlights classic Filipino dishes, with some all-time favorites from Western and Japanese cuisines as well.

Chefs Chester Vellas and Roby Goco

Taking charge of the kitchen are chefs Roby Goco (Green Pastures and Souv by Cyma), Chester Vellas (Akulturado, Four Seasons Hotel, Minami Restaurant, and Luz Kitchen), and Jon Jon Balaganay (Hotel Luna, Vitalis Villas, Vitalis White Sands, and Le Monet Hotel). They helped put together the menu and even went as far as sharing their grandmothers’ recipes.

1950 Restaurant adapted the Baked Hipon and Laing, Sinigang na Lechon, and Lamb Ribs Caldereta from Chef Chester’s grandmother. Meanwhile, from Chef Roby’s grandmother came the Caesar Salad and Prime Rib Au Jus recipes.

“[It’s] like you went to a house of a relative who really cooks well. That’s the feel of the place. These are still familiar flavors but done in a more progressive way,” says Chef Roby of the menu. “But it’s not complicated. It’s very straightforward.”

Bagnet Sisig
Baked Hipon and Laing
Duck Confit Arroz Caldo

It comes as no surprise the Filipino dishes are the favorites, including the Adobo Classics namely Bangus Belly Adobo sa Gata, Chicken Adobong Tagalog, and Pork Belly Adobo sa Dilaw. The restaurant’s Kansai Style Sukiyaki is also a must-try, along with the Lobster Bisque and Grilled Octopus.

For dessert, Chef Chester recommends the Elderflower Cheese Puff, which is infused with marinated berries and vanilla ice cream, Bavarian Cake with its milk crumbs, strawberry ice cream, and peanut brittle, White Chocolate Blondie that’s filled with baked chunky chocolate chip cookies, vanilla ice cream, and creamy milk, and the Molten Chocolate Cake, composed of chocolate soil, caramel popcorn, and vanilla ice cream. Alcoholic drinks are also available, and you can have your pick among the selection of wines and beers, but you must try the mocktails, too.

Molten Chocolate Cake

1950 Restaurant started out with a small menu that will be extended later based on the customers’ preferences. A Secret Menu is being planned, and the chefs hope to add lechon de lechepaella, and burgers to the lineup soon.

“We want it to be a place where people would go back to because we have the classic dishes,” says Meehan. “We wanted to wait for another six months before deciding what to add [on the menu]. We plan on changing the items every now and then, but most of the favorites would remain.”

(+639) 06 201 3191 | 14 Castilla St., Quezon City | Facebook: @1950resto