Brixton Village contest winner quits market

chef in restaurant
‘Budgie’ Montoya

Ferdinand “Budgie” Montoya, who won a contest to open his restaurant Sarap Baon in Brixton Village, is closing it because of Covid lockdowns and mounting costs.

“With the [Covid] closure and the end of the rent moratorium being at the same time … I think you can put two and two together,” he told the Eater London online newsletter.

“Brixton Market have a business to run, they wanted to keep us there, but ultimately it wasn’t responsible or possible to keep it going.”

Montoya opened a pop-up bistro, Sarap, serving his trademark Filipino food in Mayfair last October.

“VAT is going up, costs are going up – the price of oil has literally doubled – and I’ve always struggled before this with pricing Filipino cuisine and dealing with people’s preconceptions of what they think they should be paying for it.

“It looks like they’ll have to go up. I’ve already gone through the pain of losing one restaurant, and I don’t want to do that again,” he told Eater London.

Montoya was winner of the “experienced” category, in a Brixton Village competition.

Amateur winner Adejoké ‘Joké’ Bakare and her West African concept restaurant Chishuru are still at 9 Market Row.

When the award winners were announced in April 2019, Brixton Village said: “We aim to grow Brixton Kitchen into an umbrella resource through which the market can support culinary innovation, encourage homegrown talent and create invaluable experiences for both locals and visitors alike.”

Claire Ptak of Violet Cakes, one of the judges, said: “Budgie has proven that he knows how to run a business through his successful pop-ups, which have gathered an amazing following.

“We’re really looking forward to supporting his vision and helping him grow his business into a stand-alone destination here in Brixton Village.”

Our review of Sarap