Jok koong, congee with shrimp, is among the meal options at Darla Cafe, a Saratoga restaurant started by three roommates. (Courtesy Nina Summers)
By Kate Bradshaw
Darla Cafe, a new globally inspired restaurant in Saratoga, began its soft launch on March 16. Behind the endeavor are three friends who decided to go into business together.
Nina Summers, Papatsara Chaipong and Mookie Varunthorn, a group of friends from San Francisco, are the co-owners of the restaurant. They're also roommates.
The duck and waffle dish from Darla Cafe in Saratoga. (Courtesy Nina Summers)
"We think this is our time. It's a good time for us to own something (and) we would like to make it the way we would like," she says.
They've taken on the work of renovating the space, and Summers, who attended art school, says she got to put her painting skills to use mixing the paints for the restaurant.
Their menu draws on Japanese, Thai and Hawaiian cuisine. Among the menu items are jok koong, a congee dish served with shrimp; crispy stuffed French toast, waffles with duck or karaage, loco moco and several eggs Benedict options.
The "Softie Benedict" from Darla Cafe in Saratoga. (Courtesy Nina Summers)
"Our menu is really international," Summers says.
So far, the candied bacon has also been popular. "It's going to be sweet, but at the end, it's going to have some spiciness," she says. "People really love that one."
Currently in its soft-opening phase, the plan is to open the restaurant for dinner service sometime in mid-April, Summers says.
Crispy stuffed French toast from Darla Cafe in Saratoga. (Courtesy Nina Summers)
Darla Cafe, 14572 Big Basin Way, Saratoga; 408-868-9822, Instagram: @darlacafe.