Taste the dream
It has always been a dream for Cris and Nik Barancik to open a Portuguese restaurant so they could share their passion for the cuisine with everyone. With that, it’s only fitting to name their restaurant as such, o’sonho pronounced as “o-son-yo” which means “the dream” in Portuguese tongue.
“We chose that name because for us, opening this restaurant is a dream in so many ways. We have always aspired to open a Portuguese restaurant since we’re such big fans of their cuisine.
Whenever we travel, we’re constantly looking for the best Portuguese restos in the area and then when we come back here, we’re like, how come we don’t have Portuguese restaurants in the Philippines?” Cris tells.
Apart from that, the couple are big fans of eating out, all the qualities that they believe a good restaurant should have, they tried to put together in O’sonho; friendly service, reasonable prices, and good food.
“We wanted people to have a place where they can enjoy a nice atmosphere, very classy setting, and good gourmet food without spending too much. That’s also why we picked the name O’sonho, we want our customers to share the dream with us,” Cris quips.
Both Cris and Nik didn’t have formal training in culinary arts or restaurant management, but people would always see them hanging around the kitchen or serving and minding their guests.
“We believe that in the restaurant business, it’s good to talk to people and find out what they think about the food, their opinions, so we can always improve the dishes for them. If we don’t come here, we’ll never know. So we really make it a point to be here all the time,” Cris adds.
Consequently, all their hard work is paying off because since O’sonho opened two months ago, the feedbacks from their customers have been relatively good. A lot of foodies are even blogging about them, giving them praises and constructive criticisms.
But what makes Portuguese dishes distinct from other Mediterranean cuisines? According to Cris, Portuguese is closely similar with the Spanish cuisine in terms of being big in sea food, spices, garlic, and olive oil. However, Portuguese dishes are richer and more filling; its spices are more apparent and full-flavored.
Take for instance their Peri Peri Chicken marinated in peri, peri sauce; the crisp-skinned roast chicken is very tender while the herb, garlic, olive oil trio in their peri-peri sauce balances out the hotness of the chilies. As what Cris said, “It explodes in your mouth in a way that truly represents Portuguese cuisine.”
For fish lovers, their Bachalau de O’sonho is something to be reckoned with; it is made of salt cod fish – a fish that’s so salty, it needs to be soaked in water for a whole day to be edible – slow cooked with tomatoes, chickpeas, potatoes, carrots, herbs, and olive oil. It should be eaten with cheese and focaccia bread to temper the Bachalau’s overpowering flavor.
Although O’sonho specializes in traditional Portuguese cooking they also offer fusion dishes from different kinds of cuisine. Take for instance their Sisig Chorizo, they took the Filipino’s favorite sisig and added a Portuguese flair by adding chorizos and cooking it in olive oil. The crunchy sisig bits combined with the diced chorizos create a playful crunch in the mouth that’s surprisingly appetizing.
However, putting up a Portuguese restaurant was quite a challenge for the Barancik’s especially because Filipinos are not very aware of Portuguese cuisine.
“The biggest challenge is educating people about the cuisine because Filipinos, only like what they know. If you put up an Italian, Asian or, Spanish restaurant, sure ball na yan but with Portuguese you either have to be very adventurous or you have travelled in different countries to know what Portuguese cuisine is. There are people who come here and tell us, ‘you know I never realized Portuguese food is really good.’ So it’s all about getting people to know about it and getting them to at least try. I’m very confident that once they try it, they’d fall in love with it too,” Cris said smiling.
O’sonho is located at 20 Jupiter St., Bel Air, Makati City.