Savage: 10 delicious dishes that prove Chef Josh Boutwood’s newest restaurant is like no other (GMA News Online)

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last April 20, 2018)

You know a restaurant is like no other when you see a stack of chopped oak wood neatly lined in its façade; not to mention the unique name that you wouldn’t normally associate in a food establishment.

Without a doubt, Savage is a one-of-a-kind concept. Where else can you find an open-fire kitchen right in the heart of Metro Manila?

“Savage came out of the desire to challenge myself,” shared Chef Josh Boutwood who has been the corporate chef of The Bistro Group since 2012. “We’ve been thinking we want to scale back to pre-industrial era where there’s no gas or electric in cooking. That’s where we came up with this concept.”

Diners would have to pass through a narrow staircase with murals of human evolution painted on its walls before reaching the actual dining area, which can accommodate up to 60 people.

Its concrete floors, open ceiling, lighting fixtures featuring Edison bulbs, create quite a mood. You’ll find a lot of conversation starters over lunch or dinner whether you’re facing the bar area, the painted walls, or the open kitchen where you’ll find the customized grill. It’s where all the action happens.

Except for the bread that they bake in the oven, practically everything in Savage is cooked over the grill — even the salad greens. Most of the items on the menu are cooked over oak wood, which creates a completely different flavor profile.

“I would say without exaggeration, 30 percent of the flavor or the final flavor of the dish itself comes from the smoke of the wood,” revealed the chef. Currently, they import the wood from Ukraine, but they plan to incorporate local varieties like santol and coffee tree into the mix.

Don’t expect any specific cuisine in this restaurant, as it focuses more on the style of cooking than the food background. According to Chef Boutwood, “We define ourselves as purely pre-industrial cuisine. We only define that by the method of cooking, we don’t define it by the flavor. We can play around with whatever flavor we feel fit to do and it still fits within the confines of pre-industrial cooking.”

Its menu is bespoke, carefully curated, and although it doesn’t feature local wild boar—yet, here’s what you should treat your palates to.

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