A Devon market town is laying claim to a regional first, with the opening of a takeaway serving traditional Filipino food.
Entrepreneur Ariel Nepomuceno says that his fast-food venture in Tavistock is the first-of-a-kind for the South West and one of only a handful to offer the South East Asian cuisine in the UK.
And, in an East-meets-Westcountry twist, the newly-launched takeaway is sharing premises with an established bakery venture, Frank Breads on the town's Market Street. The cafe sells pasties and traditional fare between the hours of nine until five, when Mr Nepomuceno fires up his tacho – a kind of skillet – to trade until after midnight.
The chef has his own restaurant in the Philippines, but since moving to Devon, had worked as a care home assistant. With a number of people of Filipino origin living and working locally, the takeaway anticipates being particularly busy on Sunday evenings with customers looking for a taste of home. But Mr Nepomuceno hopes that his distinctive cuisine will also whet the appetite of West Devon residents seeking something new.
"I'm proud of my cooking style," he said "and want to introduce people to the healthy Filipino lifestyle and food – I use lots of fresh vegetables and don't cook with oil – a big difference from other takeaway restaurants. Before I opened, if you wanted to try Filipino food, the nearest place would be London."
House speciality are the Philippines national dish – chicken adobo, a spicy stew called beef kalderata and prawns infused with coconut milk and ginger.
Mr Nepomuceno was invited to take on the Frank Breads kitchens by proprietor Bob Koshti, who owns a number of small businesses around the Westcountry, including a discount hardware store which is also in Tavistock.
Mr Koshti, who opened Frank Breads two years ago, said: "You have to think differently to make money in this climate and I wanted to utilise every hour, as the pasties are "done" by five o'clock.
"The overheads are basically the same and it made sense to look for a business to join forces with to utilise this dead time and reduce costs while keeping the quality the same. If the formula works well, we'll look to duplicating the system."
Mr Koshti added that he is currently negotiating over a commercial property in Bridgwater, with a view to opening a traditional cafe and breakfast bar that would operated during daytime hours and similarly offer Filipino food in the evenings.