Rustic Meets Modern in this Cozy Tagaytay Restaurant
Sartin's interiors look every inch as appetizing as its menu
People always eat with their eyes first. How a dish looks influences our appetite, as we'd be hesitant to try food that looks like unpalatable. Chefs are aware of this, but only a few understand that the environment could also enhance the dining experience as much as the food's quality.
Sartin, the latest restaurant concept from the Josiah's Group, adhered to this philosophy. As the Summit Ridge Hotel's F&B provider, the restaurant had to appeal to a diverse set of people ranging from hotel guests to walk-in visitors. The owners knew that one way to hook diners in would be through visually stimulating interiors. "When your restaurant's interiors look comfortable and appealing, people will be drawn inside," says executive chef Jasper Versoza.
The restaurant aims to inspire nostalgia among its guests and make them feel like they're at home enjoying their mom's cooking. The owners, however, stopped short of having a traditional Filipino theme, opting for a "rustic and modern" aesthetic. "We didn't want people to have the impression that we're just a traditional Filipino restaurant," says Chef Jasper. "Sartin has to appeal to the younger generation as well, since they care more about the ambiance and atmosphere of a restaurant."
More than attracting diners, Chef Jasper believes a restaurant's interior design must reflect the cuisine it serves. The Sartin menu is comprised of Ilokano, Kapampangan and Negrense recipes such as lechong ulo ng baboy, carne frita, escabeche, fried itik and valenciana—exotic flavors complemented by a space rich in textures and color.
The pitched ceiling, clad with richly colored wood planks, lends a homey ambiance to the place. Contrasting the warmth of the wood are shades of blue reminiscent of the cool Tagaytay air and the inspiration behind the theme—enamel kitchenware, or sartin as they're locally called. The theme was an idea of Chef Jasper's mother and President of Josiah's Group, Jet Versoza, who grew up eating from sartin plates in the province.
The eye-catching ceiling sets the cozy tone and is echoed throughout the interiors, most notably in the booth partitions. The teal color makes it pop out from the warm tones, imbuing the place with a hint of playfulness that should appeal to younger folks. The pattern mimics the pitched ceiling and serves as the restaurant's "branding," even finding its way into the walls and place mats.
With a variety of diners expected—mostly families or large groups—numerous seating options are found within the 280-square meter space.
The interiors are divided into three areas: the dining area in the middle where the tables are, small nooks with couches, and a coffee bar. Most of the furniture are custom-made, especially the metal dining chairs whose surfaces are painted to look like wood.
A corner of the restaurant stands out with its pristine white surfaces—the buffet area.
The bright color scheme is a jarring yet refreshing departure from the heavy colors and textures that dominate the restaurant, and designates it as an area of importance. A marble island for the buffet offerings stands at the center, surrounded by shelves and counters holding plates, utensils, or trinkets such as sartin cups.
The abundance of sartin kitchenware are only some of the elements that introduce a homey vibe to the restaurant.
Customized coffee tables in between couches call to mind wooden chests (baul) you'd usually find in your lola's house, and covers for split-type air-con units are designed to look like cabinet doors. Even the floor tiles are reminiscent of those found in ancestral houses, though sporting a sleeker look.
Having these quaint elements in a minimalist setting rouse the nostalgia that Sartin wants its diners to experience.
"People tend to enjoy their meal more if they're in a relaxed setting," says Chef Jasper. It's difficult to argue with that statement, especially in a restaurant that does its best to remind you of the comforts of home.
Sartin is located at Summit Ridge Hotel, Gen. Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City. For more information, you may call (02) 240-6816 local 7118. You can also follow them on Facebook.
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