Seafood At Its Best

At the rear of Boracay’s most loved restos is this couple – and the following is the way they produced it work – Rappler

The Merman

MANILA, Philippines –  Head in order to Boracay because a first-time or the seasonal regular and I may boldly suppose that Sunlit Side Café is currently on your itinerary, whether because it’s the friend’s suggestion, a social media recommendation, or the personal favorite. The almost decade-old homegrown brunch spot has become a dependable island basic piece for vacationers craving with regard to sunny, vivid ambiance, convenience grub in big helpings, good coffee, and hot service, ever since the resto’s founding in 04 2014.

Sun-drenched Side Café was delivered to Boracay simply by husband and wife Nowie and Odette Potenciano, who also found on their own awe-inspired after a trip to Luang Prabang in Laos. While there, they observed one continue to be bakery that will virtually every tourist to the town would check out at least one time throughout their stay. “We thought that such the place might be excellent in Boracay, ” Nowie told Rappler.

If they visited the island again and discovered a room in Station 3 has been available, they will took that as an indication to finally pursue their desires for a good all-day breakfast, bakery, plus specialty coffee shop, which they pitched for their lessor. Right after just a few several weeks, Sunny Aspect Café came to be.

Amazingly, the thing that was just the particular name of a simple café grew to be Nowie’s full-blown restaurant group chain, continuously opening even more Boracay-based restaurants through the years because the Sunny Side Group grew in capability. They opened grill resto Spicebird the next year in 2015, plus vegan your favorite ice cream stall Coco Mama inside 2016. Fast-forward to the pandemic, plus Sunny Aspect Group didn’t stop presently there, adding Percy Seafood, espresso shop Small Wave, drink bar Hi Sailor, Supermagic Burgers, and Sunny Aspect Pizza to the roster and to many Boracay foodies’ radars. They even managed to set up the second Sunlit Side branch in Station 1!


Success can be sweet, however the journey in the direction of it can also get unhealthy, especially with Boracay’s drawing a line under and 2020’s lockdown. But the Sun-drenched Side Team made it work, plus here’s exactly how.

Bright origins

The Sun-drenched Side Team became popular through their flagship store, Sunny Side Kaffeehaus, which had been a play within the idea of breakfast time and coming to the seaside, according to Nowie. This individual caused Professional Chef Natalia Moran in order to craft most of the group’s meals and selections over the panel.

CHEF NATALIA MORAN. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

“When we all put together Sunny Side Kaffeehaus, there were also just are available out associated with some difficulties during those times, so it appeared appropriate to mention the eating place with the particular hope of better days ahead. Even as we expanded, all of us thought we’d name our little eating place group following the same. In fact, people arrive at Boracay searching for some sunlight, both literally and figuratively, into their lives, ” Nowie stated.

SUN-DRENCHED SIDE COFFEEHOUSE IN PLACE one Photograph by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Without a doubt, the Sunny Side Cafe provides just this particular – the plate associated with good vibes and sunlight, in the particular form associated with various best-selling dishes that are large in helpings and big on taste. My ultimate favorite could be the Sunny Side Roesti, which is a huge potato fritter that is almost like a hash brown.

ROESTI. Photograph by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It’s crisp, salty, and golden-brown upon the outside yet gentle on the inside, plus is capped with just about all my favorite points – sour cream; house-made chorizo bits; perfectly poached eggs; tomato; and arugula. Every filling up forkful has been a tasty party within my mouth!

GRILLED CHEESE ALONG WITH TOMATO SOUPS. Photo simply by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The particular Mango plus Bacon Barbequed Cheese Hoagie is furthermore a must-try, because when did salty never work with sweet? The gentle, fluffy, and buttery brioche bread homes mozzarella parmesan cheese, mango jam, and slabs of thick-cut bacon. There is also filling up silog meals you can not go wrong along with, like the Kitayama Beef Tapa , Cash, and Ova , and the tasty Tuna Salpicao that We enjoyed – tender chunks of garlicky, sesame-soy tuna, served with garlic grain and 2 eggs associated with your selection. Serving sizes are very generous!

Every dish is certainly best paired with any one of Sunny Side’s iced beverages – I actually went for the coffee, naturally , to fight my anticipated post- busog sleepiness after the good, vigorous meal. Intended for a refreshing pick-me-up, I actually tried the particular Tiramisu Chilly Brew, a creamy-sweet deal with; and furthermore the solid but punchy Iced Vietnamese Coffee. EDSA Specialty Drinks has worked well with Sunny Side meant for its specialty coffee given that 2014.

Note that will Sunny Part carries method more at the menu – from teigwaren to sandwiches, soups, pancakes, and also heirloom rice champorado through Banaue. “Our menu offers evolved over the years and we have attempted to combine more Philippine dishes and local substances, ” Nowie said. They will also attempt to incorporate loved ones recipes, like the Adobo Bowl , that is puti- style with no soy spices, which will be how Odette’s family prepares it in their home in Malabon.

“Whenever we all come upward with a new business, we carefully try to find what exactly is needed within the particular area and design the eating place around it. When we first put together Sun-drenched Side Kaffeehaus, the Place 3 region had a lot of Western visitors who were looking for the particular comforts associated with home. That’s why all of us developed an excellent breads program plus our menu in the particular beginning greatly leaned on that, ” Nowie mentioned.

They also knew that will visitors within that area were seeking for great brew, and so they spent heavily about what was new on that period: specialty coffee. As well as the sleep was history.

Started through one, at this point we right here

Sunny Side Group’s making it restaurants were similarly created, like its newest venture Percy Seafood in Place 1, which usually came from Nowie’s observation that lots of Boracay visitors appearance for seafood but not necessarily desire the most common paluto style of cafe.

PERCY SEAFOOD. Image by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Since early 2022, Percy has been providing fresh, neighborhood seafood – the bounty from the Philippine islands – executed inside hearty Asian and Western dishes along with sophisticated presentation, served in a gorgeous beachfront, breezy venue.  

AKLAN OYSTERS. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
KOREAN CAMPFIRE SCALLOPS. Photo simply by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

If you’re an admirer of oysters, don’t miss out on Percy’s modern Aklan Oysters – you can enjoy these individuals in just about all their relieve, using a refreshingly tangy apple-mint-onion mignonette, or even Chipotle Lime scale -style, which has a vibration boost of amount of acid and spice from a dusting of chipotle powder in top. This Korean Campfire Scallops ended up also a new tasty appetizer –  grilled fresh scallops are topped having a garlic-butter-soju sauce honestly, that is got an important delicate impact of umami .

SEAFOOD AND FRENCH FRIES. Photo by means of Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

All tastes excellent fresh simply because it’s noted locally (no imported trout, cod, as well as squid engagement rings here) to help fulfill Nowie’s mission with helping local fishermen who actually struggled while in Boracay’s lockdowns. You’ll certainly taste the with Percy’s Best Species of fish & Motherboards , in which uses the thick amount of neighborhood mahi-mahi as a substitute of your usual, mushy cream dory. This flaky fish boasts a business yet luscious bite, having a thick breading that’s uber-crisp. It’s served with hand-cut fries together with house-made aioli for often the best beachside snack.

SOUVERAIN SEAFOOD TAGINE. Photo by simply Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It is very interesting how these internationally-inspired dishes every still preferences cohesive alongside one another. Percy also provides Morroco’s Souverain Seafood Tagine, a hearty seafood stew rich inside spices as well as the finest catch ~ fish, prawn, squid, together with mussels : cooked inside a harissa sauce with roasted carrots plus potatoes, offered on fluffy couscous together with drizzled utilizing extra virgin mobile olive oil. This could perform up in order to 3-4 most people!

“For our own creative approach, we are actually inspired by using dishes we possess tried throughout our moves abroad, but we strive to modify them to the local situation and flavor, ” Nowie said, in addition to that’s wherever Executive Kitchen Natalia Moran comes in. “Through her ingenuity and panoplie, she is enabled to turn ideas inside something suitable for what we all requirement for this restaurants and in Boracay, ” Nowie added.

This particular vision is going to be backed right up by Summery Side Group’s back-end support, that is just simply their very own power team they’ve gradually grown around the ages. “We currently have a small team using Manila who does the getting of specialist ingredients for all of us and delivers them for you to Boracay now that we are able in order to create the particular dishes the guests romance, ” Nowie said.

HEY SAILOR DURING THE NIGHT. Photo by way of Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

A key factor inside Sunny Side’s success, Nowie said, is definitely always working with the most beneficial. The group partnered with barista David Ong, owner for The Curator and OTO, to produce Percy’s near cocktail bar council, Hello Sailor man.

RÉCEPTION. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

“As for Hello there Sailor, most of us also required to show local, as a result we’re delivering craft cocktails inspired by means of fruits and even botanicals by the of the islands, ” Nowie said. Definitely, each tuxedo – I recommend the lychee-flavored Allis Bloat, bright SunSeeker , in addition to creamy Rubber Duck y, of which really demonstrates the natural ingredients it’s made with; you’ll genuinely taste the creaminess of the milk, the particular sweetness from the corn, the fruitiness of the pineapple, and the punch connected with Don Inventeur Rum.

OUTDOOR BAR COUNCIL. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Stimulating cocktails separate, Hello Sailor is some sort of IG-worthy beach spot that’s great to help hang outside in, ushering in Boracay’s iconic sunset with beauty cocktails in hand.

Another approach quite far away from Bright Side Eaterie is piri-piri-inspired ihawan SpiceBird, the group’s second of all resto in 2015. Is considered less additional than Percy – SpiceBird is found in the middle of your busy D’Mall in Section 2 ~ but it could be nakakatakam allure can’t compare. It’s acquired smoke, liven, and all sorts of things nice!

“For Spicebird, we all were thinking of what persons look for right after they go swimming: delicious barbequed food. That certainly is why we provide tasty as well as filling piri-piri grilled food and sea food, ” Nowie said. Piri-piri means “pepper” in Swahili, and is put into use by a certain amount of African different languages to distinguish the Black bird’s-eye soup. What the following distinct soup pepper presents SpiceBird diners is definitely an enslaving spice bomb in each delicious bite (as someone adverse to excellent spicy foodstuff, I can assert that it isn’t really painfully spicy).

PIRI-PIRI SCALLOPS. Photo by simply Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

“Here we attempt to do objects differently with all the other ihaw places throughout Boracay, ” Nowie mentioned. It’s the exact best center joint to head for you to when you have been helpful up a huge appetite immediately after swimming. And when you’re in spicy-tangy -umami food from the ocean boils, can come through! SpiceBird’s Piri-Piri Scallops were a new saucy surprise to slurp up, and so were the quickly grilled unique oysters. It could be no wonder of which this D’Mall favorite is definitely full!

PIRI-PIRI CHICKEN AND BIRD. Photo by simply Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Desire leave without trying this fork-tender Piri-Piri Pork and Grilled Chicken breast – typically the meat, in which is hence moist and additionally juicy, includes a depth with spicy-tangy flavors, and is actually served by using spice rice, side salad, grilled corn, along with a milky roll. You can have got the chicken and hen in a single meal or separately.

SMOKED OYSTERS. Pic by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Everything are able to be provided with extra Piri-Piri Spices (moderately spicy), Garlic & Lime, Japan Curry, together with Hotbird ~ which is possibly not for that faint of center! SpiceBird can be worth another visit, simply to try all of those other menu.

In fact that spruce, a great, cool drinks would be fantastic. It may be some sort of bit of a wander to Sta X or even Station 9, but your best beach-ready dessert to wash affordable a toxic heavy meal having is Camu?as Mama, which inturn opened in 2016. It is very an easy stall that is sold vegan-friendly, lactose-zero coconut whole milk your favorite ice cream this is even creamier and more energizing than have to.

Its tropical public speaking is delightful – typically the sweet, foamy ice cream is served in some coconut psyllium, topped with the help of sticky heirloom rice, sparkling mango cube, chewy, brand-new coconut pieces, plus some crunchy pinipig with regard to a multi-textural dessert that’s hard not to crave for a second (or third) time around.

For gentle bites in addition to good gourmet coffee, I’d advise a slow stopover to Station X’s cozy sève Little Samsung wave s8500. Aside by its pastel IG makeup, it’s received an easy menu of comfort food of which won’t disappoint.

CREAMED SHIMEJI. Snapshot by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

My personal favorite was your Creamed Shimeji and Offspring – a good thick piece of crunchy sourdough bread having a ton of smooth, creamy screwed up eggs. If you fancy moist, Japanese-style eggs, this kind of is the idea! It’s professional perfectly together with topped with the help of equally rich and creamy shimeji mushrooms with a bite : a satisfactory sammie the fact that even non-vegetarians would love. I paired that together with the Very little Wave, which was my type of coffee like – java is shaken with its polar environment and milk, and so therefore topped utilizing a dollop of ocean salt product for various salty-sweet comparison.

SMALL WAVE AS WELL AS DEATH OINTMENT. Photo by way of Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

When you’re in really elegant drinks not to mention want your basically “liquiefied” version of ice cream (with a bit of coffee), the Passing away Cream is certainly your count – it may be espresso not to mention sweet custard over its polar environment. Pair that with the exact Cacio orite Pepe’s house-made al dente pasta, together with you have your hearty merienda that’ll wave you above for hours.

CACIO E ÉNERGIE. Photo by means of Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It could be impressive the best way despite the Inviting Side Group’s varying designs, all of them at present provide the identical quality, regularity, service, together with taste around the panel. The group’s growth transpired in reduced than years, which is in fact not a simple feat to gain any company.

Putting the brunts of Boracay’s closures

Contrary to how it might look love externally, this wasn’t some sort of easy way for the Sunny Side Group. Confident, their growth was speedy and constant, but reaching out Boracay popularity was a great deal from soft and clean.

“The difficulty concerning creating a fabulous name just for yourself here in Boracay is it takes period. And that certainly is because connected with the island’s nature as a tourist desired destination. A customer would simply come more than every year if you think we’re houses. That means we all have to be disciplined in covering great meals and creating great solution for at least maybe three years before we could create your name available for ourselves, ” Nowie reported.

Unfortunately, often the last small number of years ended up being not sort to Boracay’s vendors and even establishments – the island’s sudden seal in September 2018 disturbed businesses in more ways than expected.

Even following the group reopened in April, it had taken months prior to when their dining places were able to pick up back during black (no longer losing money and getting profitable again). This has been the situation considering that understandably, individuals were undecided to coming back right separate.

“Then just little over the 12 later, we all were forced to close once more because for the pandemic. With low tourists flying in, we all naturally , experienced to close to once all over again. Unfortunately, different from restaurants inside the big cities, choices such in the form of delivery was not feasible for us, ” Nowie talked about.

Come Walk 2020, a new nationwide lockdown was ensured, and it was utterly difficulty available for businesses, primarily for the many people in tourist-dependent economies for example Boracay.

“So when your island was shut down, most people did not have got much possibilities to carry on company in Boracay. That required that individuals previously had no capital with typically the same moment, expenses  sustained to pile up. It was clearly likewise devastating to the employees, ” Nowie proclaimed. To assistance curb this bleed, typically the team established up a couple pop-ups on Manila during the 2018 close up and to receive a period throughout the pandemic.

“Even if most of us personally shed money growing those pop-ups, i was competent to allow income for some of the staff, ” Nowie extra.

SUNNY LESS NOTABLE PIZZA. Graphic by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Eventually, this Sunny Lesser known Group’s full names slowly went on picking by themself back up, and even with even more fervor – the selection opened “pandemic baby” Warm Side Pellicola, a beautiful, intense pizza joint in Train station X the fact that serves delicious, brick-oven sourdough pizzas present in different types. Stuck in your own home, Nowie started making pizzas throughout the lockdown, and some of his / her homemade efforts found their whole way to be able to Boracay!

MERQUEZ SAUSAGE. Picture by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The sourdough crust is undoubtedly thin, frosty, and chewy, as well as the components used really are premium and even high-quality. I love the particular tart tomato sauce used! Definitely test the Merguez Sausage Zuppa , topped with SpiceBird‘s popular and tasty merguez sausage, kesong puti, and additionally crunchy black onions to get a savory-spicy meaty pizza. Typically the vegan options are good too.

VEGAN THREE CHESE. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

My personal favorite was the Vegan Three Cheese, built with community vegan mozzarella, vegan smoked cigarettes cheese, and even vegan cayenne pepper jack for a cheesy, foamy, and tomato-tart pizza. It may be plant-based, yet it’s a high favorite of numerous carnivores!

SUPERMAGIC BURGER. Graphic by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

If you want the classic combo about burgers in addition to fries, Sun-drenched Side’s SuperMagic Burgers presents that place to eat experience you could be looking designed for – in addition to they in addition just popped this past year. Your burger patties are crafted with kitayama wagyu meat and seasoned with a strong “umami dust” of kampot pepper, sea salt, and also other ingredients that “bring out there the best in the ground beef. ” All of the patties are usually ground only upon order to maintain all of them fresh, and even served in between house-made burger buns by means of Sunny Outside Cafe.

LOBSTER MOVE. Photo by just Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It wasn’t a burger, and yet I would recommend the US-inspired Lobster Roll utilizing an Japanese twist. It may be like the good, frothy chicken curb signs or sidewalk sign having a trace of tang, but crafted more awesome with chosen Asian formula like mango, celery, species of fish roe, golf green onions, plus Kewpie mayonaise. The soft lobster gas is amply stuffed in between fluffy, fluffy hotdog buns.

To Nowie, it’s not about just simply reopening – every period, they try to consider what they can perform much better and not just turn out to be “business like usual. ” “After the 2018 close up, we extra a various kinds of vegetarian options to any or all of our restaurants for the reason that we found that tourists were hoping to find better alternatives, ” Nowie claimed.

“And while we rise, appear, come up from this pandemic, many of us have expanded our endeavors to perform local finding and encourage local items. That’s how come we now have brand-new dishes such as this Sagada Mushroom Pasta from Sunny Team Cafe not to mention Grilled Diwal at Percy and Spicebird, now around the menu, ” he included. And this is what an individual call a comeback!

Techniques from the Sunny Side

Placing forth easy but high quality food is just about all in a day’s work for Sunlit Side’s employees, whose times often vary but are usually invested tackling little improvement tasks that these people set regarding themselves. Probably this is the secret to Sunlit Side’s achievement – normally finding some thing they would like to obtain better from.

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“It might be something from improving among our dishes, making our menu layout better, or trying out brand new equipment, ” Nowie stated. “I believe what’s been important designed for us is usually the nature of constant improvement. There is always something that can become done much better and We think this can help our dining places keep upward with altering consumer preferences and preferences. ”  

“Our selections, for example, have progressed through the entire yrs, because we are always fine-tuning them, ” he added. But what is most significant, aside from introducing new, is usually staying the same.

Persistence is essential, and Nowie stated that this particular trait comes from their own company tradition. “Our entire team knows that  hindi pwede yung pwede na  (we can not just make do along with mediocre) and we’re generally trying to get much better. Using this type of culture, we’re able to strive just for consistency day time in plus day out, ” he mentioned.

Since the many years went by, Nowie discovered the personal responsibility to be better regarding Boracay’s visitors every year, therefore that they would at all times come back. “The island can’t depend on simply the beach alone – services should also improve since visitors have become more demanding and all of us have to compete with some other destinations, ” he said.

“Hopefully, the great food and warm provider that guests get from our restaurants are a good added reason for visitors to create Boracay their own destination of choice, ” he additional.

Nowie’s final part of advice for making it huge in a very saturated market? Persistence in performance and the spirit associated with continuous improvement. “We should be capable of give visitors an amazing experience every time they will return in order to Boracay, ” Nowie stated, and they definitely do! – Rappler. possuindo

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