90's Matinee Idol Romnick Sarmenta and His Wife Harlene Bautista Open a Restaurant in Quezon City That Serves Different Filipino Dishes

It has been a long time since we’ve heard from Romnick and Harlene. This charming couple started with their own careers in showbiz.

Harlene started acting since she was a child and was part of the 80’s entertainment show, “That’s Entertainment,” and married 90’s idol Romnick Sarmenta.

They were blessed with five children, which inspired them never to stop achieving their dreams. Now, they are opening their own restaurant in Quezon City -“Salu”.

The name Salu was derived from the Filipino term, “salu-salo” which means, ‘a large gathering of people.’ The restaurant aims to serve uncommon Filipino dishes, inspired by different specialties from Luzon to Mindanao.

Harlene said, “Sanay na tayo sa kare-kare, sanay na tayo sa mga sinigang at adobo at talagang mahal nating lahat. Pero ngayon dito sa Salu, gusto namin ipakilala ang ilang mga putahe mula sa Luzon na hindi tayo masyadong familiar. Tulad na lang ng Hardinera.”

Hardinera is made of ground pork place on an oval-shaped pan, commonly used for making leche flan, and then steamed until cooked. Some of the dishes served in Salu is the Visayan meal called, Balbacua, which is slow cooked meat in the soup, and Mindanao’s specialty, Tiyula Itum or blackened beef soup.

With the help of chef Janjie Ocoma, they traveled around the Philippines to learn how to make the dishes. Harlene explained, “Hindi po kami eksperto, pero ang masasabi ko we have the best team pagdating sa kitchen. Everyday may bago kaming dinedevelop na pagkain.”

Being a restaurant specializing in Filipino food, they included a “tusok-tusok” station where it serves fishballs, kikiam, kwek-kwek, squidballs and cheese sticks. The famous Filipino favorites like unripe mango, santol and singkamas were on sticks and placed on jars together with bagoong.

 Harlene wanted to introduce Filipino street foods to foreigners who will dine at Salu. They’ve also added twists on all-time Filipino favorites like the ‘Kare-kare’, instead of the usual ox tail, they use pork as the main ingredient.

Salu can be found along Scout Torillo corner Scout Fernandez at Quezon City. Although most celebrities venture into the food business, the key to success is to be different from others. Offer something new to stand out. Dishes served at Salu will no doubt make headlines again.

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