A First Look at Helm, Josh Boutwood's Newest 10-Seater Restaurant

Josh Boutwood's highly anticipated fine-dining, tasting-menu-only restaurant is set to stun in an intimate new space starting August 21.

Most talented chefs are chameleons of sorts. While they may be recognized for their expertise in a particular cuisine or lauded for their defined style of cooking, it is their ability to translate and adapt their honed technique from one culinary effort to the next that sets them apart from their peers.

A range of vast and varied experiences is also often necessary, apart from humility, patience, and innate talent.

Josh Boutwood

With Josh Boutwood's new dining room Helm, his new burger joint debuting at The Grid at Rockwell’s Power Plant Mall, and his day job as the executive corporate chef of the Bistro Group notwithstanding, the man behind Savage and Test Kitchen proves once again that he is one of those chefs who can wear many hats simultaneously and successfully. 


Boutwood opened Savage just four months ago, a restaurant that makes use of elemental cooking techniques such as fire, smoke and ash, exclusively. A juxtaposition if ever there was one, the fact that Helm is located only steps below Savage has amplified just how versatile Boutwood really is and has pronounced the range in his global perspective.

Unlike the rustic and rugged dining room upstairs, Helm’s 10-seater marble counter, elegantly set with linen napkins, handsome wine glasses, and gold flatware, looks into a modern kitchen of the latest chef’s toys and gadgets.

Inside Helm, located at the Arya Residences in Bonifacio Global City

Prominently positioned on the counters that line the space are a sous vide machine, a Pacojet, a convection oven, an electric griddle, and a not-so-big, Big Green Egga kamado-style charcoal grill and smoker. The scene is complemented by Boutwood’s fabulous talent and a menu that in the next four months will focus around local Philippine ingredients.

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A collection of ingredients Boutwood displays on a shelf in his 10-seater restaurant.

In true Boutwood fashion, each plate is easy on the eyes and tasty on the palate. As he personally explains each dishan essential part of the Helm experiencediners discover that the restraint and simplicity which appear to be the defining characteristics of his cuisine may be more colorful and complex than meet the eye.

Flowers are dried; flavors are extracted; and ingredients can be cured, braised, smoked, grilled, rendered, aged, reduced, or emulsified.

Crab fat and Queso Rustico cheese from Malagos with fennel flower


Kitayama wagyu beef tartare topped with an egg yolk emulsion and mustard leaves, and served on a pancake biscuit

Clam soup with pandan and cilantro oil

The compound salty butter served with your warm sourdough bread is not really butter but rendered pork fat that has been cured, chilled, emulsified, then flavored with leeks. The simple marble potato is cooked in a dashi of dried fish and dusted with dried scallop powder. The simple mushroom paste to accompany the grilled strip loin is in fact made of seven different types of mushrooms. And the braised and smoked pork rib is bathed in a rich, reduced jus of pig trotters, with its flavors enhanced by a perfect puddle of chili pineapple gelée. You get the point.


Sourdough and lavash served with a spread of rendered pork fat

Marble potato cooked in dashi of dried fish, paired with sweet potato chips and potato leaf and dusted with scallop powder

Case-smoked oyster paired with pickled banana heart and cucumber and served with beetroot and activated charcoal tuile


Braised pork rib with a sauce made from pig trotters and topped with blue ternate flower and beetroot tops, served with a pineapple gelee

Kitayama striploin, short rib cooked for 48 hours with tamarind jus, and a mushroom paste made from seven different mushrooms

The standout dish is a grilled piece of the most tender local duck you’ll ever taste. Inspired by a recent meal in Iloilo, it is artistically topped with finely-sliced cured duck yolk and slivers of fresh young coconut that has been slightly pickled. Working with a local duck farmer in Laguna, Boutwood explains that the birds are of French descent but are now born and bred in the Philippines.


Grilled duck from a farm in Laguna with lemongrass and ginger sauce, and cured duck egg yolks, and pickled coconuts

Other revelations for this diner include the discovery of how well durian pairs with chocolate, as evidenced in one of his three desserts and how his sumptuous miso toffee that is served sandwiched between two macaron-looking meringues will probably be the next big thing. Yes, salted caramel, your days are numbered.

Chocolate ice cream, durian ice cream, milk skin, burnt milk skin, burnt milk puree, and palm tree sap syrup


Yema with lime, meringue with miso toffee, and chocolate truffle with a pili nut butter center, served with coffee made from a special blend of Philippine coffee beans roasted for Helm

Helm will be open for dinner beginning August 21, Tuesday through Saturday, with seatings at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Multi-course tasting menu only with optional wine and juice pairings available.

The Plaza, Arya Residences, McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City. 0906.234.1900

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About The Author
Alicia Colby Sy
Alicia Colby Sy is the former Executive Editor of Town & Country Philippines.
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