In June this summer, my friend Sara took me along as her +1 to the oríGenes Festival Gastronómico. At €195 a person, the paying guests were the least exciting aspect of the event. Perhaps there is a direct correlation between how financially secure a person is to how interesting they are? Whatever the reason, I found myself wanting to talk to the people serving at the event rather than my fellow ticket holders.
Like Mathou, French but slipping effortlessly between Spanish and English. Falling into her Instagram feed led me to Savia. A zero-waste, sustainable restaurant rumoured to be loosely based on Silo restaurant in London, with Tomás Abellán involved. As a demographic, the servers were primarily young, female and international.
Though I don’t know any of this when I eat there with my girlfriends. I do sense that the silver-haired young man who walks in and changes the energy of the wait staff is lucrative to the business somehow but only later does the penny drop that it’s Tomás Abellán. Son of Carles Abellán, and restaurateur in his own right at Casa Luz and Bar Alegría.
Savia restaurant opens onto the street and is flanked by a patio on the kitchen end. Across from the open kitchen, a blackboard made to look like a page out of a chef’s notebook. Plants throughout. Exceedingly good taste applied uniformly to walls, cutlery and furniture.
The menu is 80% plant-based. There is one fish dish on, line-caught and priced accordingly at 27€. Most of the plants are at the beginning and after working my way through the menu the beginning is my favourite place to be. There is a plate of torn figs, with crusty rusks of black olive – transferring flavour but changing the texture – all on a pool of fermented almond sauce. That sauce and the sauces in general at Savia are superlative. A chunky salad of the last of the season’s tomatoes, yielding an aromatic in a salsa echoing curry flavours is beautiful.
Our order for 1 serving of chicken meatball gets muddled and we end up with 3 orders. The Pescatarian at the table is unable to eat it, we ask for it to be wrapped up to go. The blueprint of the restaurant, no waste, no plastic immediately becomes apparent.
“We can’t do that.” the server tells us “we don’t have any packaging in the restaurant.”
“What? Not even an old yoghurt pot?” I ask?
After some good-natured needling, he gives us one of the kitchen’s own Tupperware’s with the request that we return it. (As I write this now I wonder if that Tupperware made it’s way back?)
Savia joins a slew of new openings that seem intent on doing things differently and pushing plants right up front.