Sarvida is in preview mode on Girard Avenue in Fishtown, testing out the service and flow with friends and family ahead of this Saturday’s official opening. The cozy Filipino restaurant is from Lou Boquila, chef-owner of East Passyunk Avenue’s Perla, which snagged a spot on Eater’s list of 38 essential Philadelphia restaurants. Both are BYOB.
Like Perla, Sarvida shows off chef Boquila’s skills with modern Filipino cooking, offering sophisticated takes on classic dishes. (And also like Perla, Sarvida is named after Boquila’s mom — here her middle name.)
The new restaurant, taking the place of bruncherie Girard at 300 E. Girard Avenue, is small and stylish, with an open kitchen at one end of the dining room and large windows facing Girard and Marlborough Street.
Boquila is making dishes like the lumpiang ubod, a deconstructed spring roll that comes as a bowl of hearts of palm, baby lettuce, and summer squash on mung bean tahini with dollops of peanut-hoisin sauce, served with poori beard. Rip off a piece of the poori and make a sandwich with the vegetables. You can also eat the ukoy, a fritter with tiny whole shrimp and spirals of sweet potato, with your hands. It comes with palm vinegar for dipping.
The shrimp paste sauce the pork belly and cauliflower rest on in the binagoongan is best eaten with a bite of rice. Same with the shrimp paste in the pinakbet, here with eggplant, okra, string beans, squash, and pork belly. Or go for the lechon manok, a flavorful whole roast chicken with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, served with padron peppers and calamansi, a citrus fruit somewhere between a lemon and a lime.
After Sarvida opens September 8, it will serve dinner Wednesday through Sunday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.