An up-and-coming Thai restaurant has managed to compress morning, afternoon, and nighttime in a single 200-square-meter space in SM Aura. All in one time zone.
This is the evolving concept of Greyhound Café, SM Aura’s newest food venue that traces its roots to a popular Thai restaurant chain known to have “the hottest seats in Bangkok.”
Vicente Raphael del Rosario IV, president of Viva International Food & Restaurants Inc. (Viva Foods), describes Greyhound’s Philippine foray as modern and familiar.
“For the first store that we opened, the theme is sort of as you walk through the store it’s Bangkok by day. And then there’s another portion where the bar area is, it’s Bangkok by night. And there’s a portion also at the far end, it’s a courtyard. The feel is like outdoor supposedly,” Del Rosario tells Lifestyle Asia.
The restaurant, which opened on February 6, only began construction in the last quarter of 2021.
Marketing manager Ace Azarraga said everything from the aesthetics to the logistics had the seal of approval from Thailand.
“All the design specifications are coming from Thailand. The mother company…wanted the look and feel and the experience of the outlet to be the same in every country. So if you go to Hong Kong, Malaysia, London, it’s the same experience,” Azarraga explains.
He sees the atmosphere as “dynamic,” offering customers different choices to suit their preferences.
“It’s three groups. So the first, the feel is more daytime Thai restaurant. The second part is more nightlife. There’s a bar, there’s neon lights, if you go in the middle part. And the last part is more of a courtyard feel because there’s plants all over the area,” Azaragga describes.
The marketing manager recommends the vibrant personality to head to the nightlife area, and for the quiet, more romantic type, he suggests the courtyard segment.
Greyhound has a total of 174 items on its menu, including 104 food offerings and 74 beverages.
Bestsellers include the Pad Thai, Greyhound Famous Fried Chicken Wings, Salmon Sashimi, and the Light Tom Yum.
Azaragga said Viva Foods wanted different Asian choices here in the Philippines, handpicking especially popular restaurants from certain Asian countries. First, Japan’s Botejyu, and now, Greyhound.
“We don’t just give the traditional type of Thai food. But we put some twist on it. It’s kind of a fusion. We put Asian and French touches on all of our food,” Azarraga explains.
Viva Foods—which includes other brands such as Botejyu, Paper Moon, Pepi Cubano, and Wing Zone—is expected to open more Greyhound branches in the future.
“We want to be able to cater to everybody as Viva Food is very inclusive. But it caters to everybody from younger families to groups of friends who just want to enjoy something different,” Del Rosario invites.
The Viva Foods chief said that all the dishes in Greyhound, regardless of origin including Japanese or Vietnamese, ultimately have a distinct taste with a Thai flair.
“Coming to the store, each time you go it would be a different experience. You could go any time of day. You could go have your breakfast, you can have your merienda. And each time it would be new,” Del Rosario concludes.
Photos by Greyhound Café