Familial Memories of Backyard Barbecue Parties
Chef Tatung turns to familial memories of backyard barbecue parties with the new restaurant Azadore in Quezon City. From classic European cuisine to local favorites, Chef Tatung has created an international grill with homegrown flair.
After the successful launch of his private dining restaurant at home and his first fine dining establishment in BGC, celebrity chef and award-winning author Myke ‘Tatung’ Sarthou wastes no time as he prepares to launch another restaurant in Quezon City called Azadore.
Working with his partners from Pandan Asian Café, including renowned interior designer Ivy Almario, Chef Tatung created the concept for Azadore from his childhood memories of his grandparents hosting family gatherings at home where they grilled amazing food for their families and friends. Hence the name of the restaurant, Azadore, which was a playful spin on the word ‘asador’, which means ‘fire pit or grill’ in South American countries, and the word ‘adore’, which means ‘to love or cherish’ in English.
“Cebuanos love grilling, and everyone loves grilling because of the aroma. We take turns manning the grill,” Chef Tatung recalls. “My grandparent’s house in Cebu was built around the 1950s and one of my fondest memories was seeing everyone gathering to share a meal — not just our family, but the extended family as well.”
A Menu Kissed by Fire
When Chef Tatung and his partners chanced upon the ancestral home along Scout Fernandez Street in Quezon City, he was instantly transported to his childhood in Cebu.
“When we found the old house built in the 1950s, it brought me back to a time when we used to grill a lot in our garden. My grandmother’s dining area was like a church or a place of worship of sorts – like it was sagrado (sacred),” he further recalls.
“I grew up in a family that loves meat and that’s also the core of Azadore,” Chef Tatung shares. “Back in the day when there weren’t a lot of restaurants in our village, each family would have their own signature dish. Titas (aunts) have their special Caldereta, cousins would have fruit salad, and uncles have their own special barbecue marinade. It’s really about all these memories of home-cooked food — not just grilled items, but all the dishes people bring to the gathering. We want the same neighborhood potluck vibe in Azadore. It will surely remind people of the good old days.”
At Azadore, Chef Tatung takes pride in his modern iteration of homegrown classics. The restaurant highlights grilled dishes for sharing like 100% Pure Black Onyx Angus Beef bone-in ribeye and short loin and even a namesake salad with grilled vegetables; but diners can also expect to savor international dishes especially local favorites with Hispanic origin like Paella and Gambas Con Chorizo; American classics like gourmet burgers and sandwiches, hand-made pasta, and sourdough pizza. And being an homage to his Cebuano roots, Chef Tatung has also included some heirloom dishes from his own family like hearty Callos, and two dishes named after the homeowners’ grandparents: Lola Pura’s Lengua a la Sevilliana, and Lola Trinidad’s Molo Soup.
While the menu has a lot of comfort food best enjoyed with loved ones, this family restaurant also offers upscale casual dining choices like gourmet sandwiches with grilled meats, specialty sourdough crust pizzas, handmade pasta, and even oysters (both fresh and baked).
A Restaurant Built on Memories
Converting a nearly 80-year-old home into a 300-seater restaurant is a challenge in itself, but with the help of Ivy Almario, Chef Tatung and his team were able to infuse their style into the home without taking away its classic charm.
“It’s not every day one has the chance to get their hands on a mid-century modern house that has been untouched,” shares co-owner and interior designer Ivy Almario. “A virgin one so to speak, with all design elements intact, albeit on the forlorn side through years of indifferent tenancy, which is still a blessing because the architectural bones were left unaltered.”
“We preserved the original footprint of the house, so the layout is practically the same. It’s a respectful approach to renovation,” the multi-awarded chef and author explains. “We used a lot of the original materials to maintain the old flooring — blemishes and all. But of course, we gave it a modern spin. You do not have to entirely let go of the past just to make it look modern. Azadore is proof that you can bring things to the current or next generation without forgetting our roots. It’s a restaurant that celebrates and connects us to our roots, our family traditions. It takes us back to the time when eating together as a family was a cherished regular occasion.”
Homey Yet Classy Vibe
Stepping into Azadore is like stepping inside an art-inspired home in the 1950’s with a “homey yet classy vibe,” according to Chef Tatung.
“The concept of the restaurant is reminiscent of the 1950’s – the post-American era,” he says. “When Ivy saw the house, she was really inspired and excited to work on the renovation. This is the most collaborative and creative partnership I’ve ever had in my life with anyone.”
As the project progressed, their design concept evolved, but the central idea remained: Azadore must feel homey, convivial, classy, and family-oriented.
“The first vision was to extend the roof line forward to add al fresco seating and use the dynamic inverted tripod supports to hold the new roof in place,” she continues. “On the inside, it is imperative to retain the original granolithic floors and original flooring in the rooms including the wood handrails, thread, and risers on the stairs. Retaining the footprint of the kitchen was done to honor our promise to the family – our landlords – for them to remember as much of their family home as possible.”
Currently, Azadore has an indoor seating capacity of 113 and the Breezeway Terrace (al fresco area) for 180 people. This makes the restaurant the ideal location for large gatherings like family or school reunions, milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings, as well as events like product launches and seminars. What used to be the bedrooms were transformed into private dining rooms perfect for a more intimate set-up.
“The huge breezeway wall is a first-ever, I believe,” shares Ms. Almario. “The dynamic graphics include the possibility of lighting and cooling being incorporated into it. One of the many firsts in the interior design world, which was specially conceptualized for Azadore for you to adore.”
The house is also filled with design elements reminiscent of the Post-American Era (1950s to 1970s). Almost resembling actual art pieces, these elements were incorporated directly into Azadore’s structure, giving the restaurant a unique and sometimes quirky look that’s not just Instagram-worthy, it’s also representative of its generation.
“The use of elements, such as metal grill work, lively graphics, tons of poster art on the walls, and the playful allusion to mobiles pays homage to the character of institutions designed in the 50s. We tweaked these elements a little bit to give it a more contemporary look without losing its nostalgic charm,” Ms. Almario explains. Through this new project, Chef Tatung hopes to remind the public about the importance of bringing the family together and enjoying each other’s company, especially after years of separation due to the pandemic.
Chef Tatung concludes, “When people dine with us at Azadore, I want them to experience the joy of sharing good food, wonderful stories, and remarkable moments with their loved ones. We want this place to bring people together.”
Azadore is located at 111 Scout Fernandez Street, Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City. The restaurant is open from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 12:00 mn. For inquiries and reservations, contact +63 917 101 0070.