Restaurant Spotlight: Sunshine KitchenOctober 16, 2018
- Mikka WeeWords
Joining the throng of restaurants along the Fort Strip (popularly known for its active night life) is Sunshine Kitchen, which only opened last February 28. According to Tanya Chua, managing partner and the brains behind the menu, Sunshine Kitchen is a casual dining place that serves Western Comfort Food. In her opinion, there’s a lack of quality Western cuisine in the Metro, and she wanted to add another go-to place for people looking for great food coupled with a pleasant ambiance.
Upon entering, you’ll be greeted by a New York-inspired interior. Tanya describes it as having a “rustic bistro feel” with its wooden tables, decorative lights, and brick walls.
Sunshine Kitchen also boasts of an open kitchen where diners can survey the cooking area of the restaurant. “Our open kitchen, which was actually meant to be the focal point of the restaurant, is also quite unique because it allows people to peek in and take a look at their food being prepared. This allows them to observe and wonder about [the process],” she explains.
Tanya says that the inspiration behind Sunshine Kitchen is rooted in a personal hobby of hers. “I really love to cook and entertain guests, and I would always have parties at home. And of course, just like others who are culinary enthusiasts, I’ve always wanted my own restaurant.” Aside from being managing partner of other restaurants (Simply Thai and Thai at Silk), Tanya’s tried her hand at catering as well.
“We’re not limited to one type of cuisine,” she says. “We also have that New York meat-packing district feel, so I think that should make us stand out [from other restaurants in the area]. We have a great wine selection, cocktails using premium liquor, unique craft beers, and a few imported ones, too! All at affordable prices.”
We had Sunshine’s Green Salad as a starter, which had mixed greens, nuts, a tangy-sweet champagne vinaigrette, and sharp Gorgonzola cheese. “The basic components of the champagne vinaigrette are quite simple,” Tanya explains. “We use quality olive oil, lime juice, champagne vinegar, a bit of sugar, and in my opinion, the most important ingredients: sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.”
Our next course was Marinated Whiting with garlic, lemon juice, white vinegar, and olive oil. The fish was cooked in a very curious way, reminiscent of ceviche or kilawin. “Acid cooks the food being marinated in it. It also preserves the food. This is our take on ceviche,” Tanya tells me. “It’s really delicious eaten with bread,” she adds.
Another interesting dish that was served to us was the Angulas, which is the Spanish name for young eels, also known as “elver” eels. Tanya tells us that first-time angulas eaters are usually quite squeamish since they look like worms, but adventurous eaters really love them. She also tells us that angulas go great with garlic and chili-infused oil (a very Spanish way of cooking them), and the addition of pasta makes for a more complex alio olio.
The Porkichoos Sandwich can be ordered upon request. Tanya says that she’s been meaning to add sandwiches to the Sunshine Kitchen menu, in order to remain true to their Western Comfort Food profile. “The sandwich is hearty, filling, and flavorful. It’s our first sandwich because we already have the ingredients on hand. Besides—cheese, pork, and pork skin? Who could say no to that?”
The Pizza al Nero contains squid ink, cream sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and some Grana Padana cheese. “I wanted our pizzas to be unique, especially since squid ink is becoming popular,” says Tanya. “This is our opposite take on the Pizza Bianca. Instead of it making it white, we made it black by using squid.”
Our final dish was Sunshine Kitchen’s 6-Hour Slow-Roasted Porchetta, which came with rice pilaf, herb salsa, and green beans. “Other porchettas are usually cooked until they’re just right—pink and sometimes quite tough. Ours soaks up all the flavors of the different herbs and spices while being cooked. The fat becomes somewhat melted, and gives the pork a more intense flavor.”
The porchetta also came with a number of condiments, so I asked Tanya her personal recommendation on how to eat the porchetta. “The vinaigrette suits Filipino tastes because we love to eat our pork with the sawsawan of vinegar, soy sauce, calamansi, and chili, so this is our Western take on it. The roast garlic and herb salsa is slightly sweet, and complements the pork with a different flavor. Lastly, for those who like creamy gravy, the thicker sauce goes well with the pork, especially when eaten together with the rice pilaf.”
Aside from the 6-Hour Slow-Roasted Porchetta, Tanya tells us that the Creamy Crab, Shrimp, and Artichoke Dip (PHP 320), the Cabanatuan Longganisa Paella (PHP 480), and the Sunshine Pizza (PHP 550), a mix of porchetta, longganisa, ricotta, and arugula, are all bestsellers at Sunshine Kitchen. And if you love seafood, Tanya recommends their Snapper and Clams (PHP 390) in white wine, garlic, and parsley sauce.
I asked Tanya why she chose to call the restaurant Sunshine Kitchen, a name so bright and wholesome that it’s understandable if one mistakes the restaurant for a breakfast place. “First, I wanted a name that connotes nature, the very root of where most of our food comes from. I only plan to use fresh produce, make everything from scratch, and if possible, source everything locally,” she explains.
“Another reason is that I wanted the place to have a name that connoted happy vibes. And lastly, I have a daughter who is the ‘little miss sunshine’ of my life. Hence, Sunshine Kitchen.”
2/F Fort Pointe Bldg 1,
The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City
(0928) 821 26 25
Store Hours: Sundays-Wednesdays from 11:00am-2:00pm; 6:00pm-10:30pm, TH-Sat from 11:00am-2:00 pm; 6:00pm–2:o0am)
Follow Sunshine Kitchen on Facebook and Twitter