We sat down with…

Angelo Reston, Founder and Managing Director of Dampa Seafood Grill – a cornerstone of not just cracking seafood feasts that will leave you wanting for more, but also Filipino culinary culture straight from the heart –  to chat about all things Filipino food, Dampa and standing strong in the face of adversity. Here is what he dished…

Tell us your origin story – how did Dampa Grill come to life?

We started our journey in 2014. An idea came to mind of putting up a one-stop seafood place in the heart of Dubai with a vision to create a unique dining experience and provide a value seafood place in the city with a lively and colourful environment that everyone can truly enjoy.

We want our guests not just to come to the restaurant and enjoy the food and experience the culture that we have as Filipinos of sharing the food together with family and friends but also be relaxed and have a good time.

While our food is more like fusion, we try our best to incorporate Filipino culture in it and to be more resonant with other nationalities keeping Filipino touch with it. No cutleries, just gloves and some good food! Directly dumping the mixed seafood on your table.

What is the experience of bringing a dining culture from outside to a diverse city like Dubai?

At first it was honestly nerve-wracking considering the city of Dubai has a lot of high end restaurants and expectations are high but it prove to be fun on the get go. To offer a new and unusual dining experience to foreign audience is really a challenge but we are glad a lot of nationalities embraced the culture.

Obviously Dampa is best enjoyed as a group dining experience. Is that something that comes from dining culture and hospitality from back home?

Yes definitely! We Filipinos always love to eat whether it is with our loved ones, family and friends. With our dining culture in the Philippines, all food comes with different stories that are worth sharing with each other. As they say, Food connects us all, that is why in this spirit we want to showcase to our guests to feel the same way as we are.

dampa seafood grill

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How does it feel to be back on the scene after a tough period away?

It feels good to be back! We definitely missed our guests. We’ve been away for almost 6 months and our focus during that time is to comeback as quick as we can while determining areas where we can improve along the way. It has been a long journey into reopening again. From conceptualising, reconstruction and finalising in all aspects. We wanted everything to be in order prior to opening again, because we owe it to our patrons who are really eager of waiting for us to comeback.

What is great Filipino food to you?

Great food not just Filipino in general – it is the one made with care and passion. You know if the food that you eat was well cared for. Like we experience back then where our grandparents cook food for us when we were kids, every bite is reminiscing of home.

As we all know, all food comes with stories and we at Dampa believe in it. I can describe a great Filipino food as an adventure-filled taste all in one plate. That’s how we eat and we loved it!

Read our review of Dampa Seafood Grill here

Dampa Seafood Grill, Port Saeed, daily, 1pm to 11.30pm, @dampaseafoodgrill

Images: Supplied