Budgie Montoya to launch Filipino street food brand

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Credit: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
Credit: Nic Crilly-Hargrave

Related tags Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya Filipino cuisine London Street food Market Halls

Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya is to launch a Filipino street food concept next month within Market Halls Oxford Circus in London.

Called Apoy, the new brand will specialise in barbecue skewers grilled over charcoal and served with steamed rice, atchara (pickled green papaya), and a choice of dipping sauces.

Meat, fish and vegan skewers will be available with options including pinoy pork; inasal chicken; garlic and salted egg prawns; and oyster mushroom ‘isaw’.

A small selection of snacks and sides, including Montoya’s ‘signature’ fried chicken skins, will also be available.

The announcement of Apoy marks a shift in direction for Montoya, who had been preparing to launch a crowdfund​ in order to open a permanent home for his Filipino fine dining concept Sarap Bistro in Soho’s Kingly Court​.

However, Restaurant​ has been told that those plans have effectively been shelved, although Montoya does still hope to open a permanent Sarap restaurant in central London at some point.

“I have always loved being able to cook and share the food that I have grown up with, and Apoy feels like an exciting new direction,” he says.

“Street food is such an important part of Filipino culture and I hope I can do justice to something that’s enjoyed across the country.”

Montoya established the Sarap Bistro concept over the course a year-long residency at rotating restaurant 10 Heddon Street in Mayfair​ that came to an end in December.

It was itself an evolution of the original Sarap brand​, which he first established as a supper club in 2017.

The chef, whose CV includes stints at Tom Sellers’ Restaurant Story and modern Asian restaurant Foley’s in Fitzrovia, launched Sarap as a permanent venture in Brixton Village in January 2020​ after triumphing in the ‘experienced’ category of the Brixton Kitchen competition.

He subsequently rebranded the restaurant as Sarap BAon, which took its cue from the Filipino mega mall food courts and served a fast-casual menu of street food dishes including lechon, rolled and roasted pig’s belly; and fried chicken sinigang.

Montoya previously told Restaurant​ that he hoped to eventually establish a collection of Sarap BAon sites across the capital. However, the Brixton site closed in April last year​ with the chef citing the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic as the reason behind the decision.

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