Take Romulo Café. An institution in family-style Filipino food,
it landed in South Kensington in 2016 as one of London's first
Filipino fine-dining restaurants. The interiors look like they
could be a dining room in the Romulo family estate in Manila, and
fit perfectly into Kensington's glitzy restaurant scene - all
baroque flourishes and haughty family oil portraits. Here, you'll
dine between the glamorous titas and titos of London (so behave).
The menu is rich and diverse, with distinctly Western touches
meeting old-school classics: think scottish salmon tamarind
sinigang, and a heady truffled pork belly adobo.
Then, there's the family-owned, UK-based Maginhawa Group, named
after a well-known dining destination in Metro Manila; an area that
houses some of the most daring and creative independently owned
bars and restaurants in the Philippines' capital. We have Maginhawa
to thank for London eateries Bintang, Mamasons, Panadera and, most
recently, Ramo Ramen (a playful Japanese-Filipino noodle joint),
where traditional cuisine is fused with other culinary styles, with
both panache and respect.
Like many other Filipino immigrants, I've found these
restaurants and their familiar tastes a welcome source of reprieve
when missing home, especially during the pandemic. When I sit down
with that bowl of sinigang on a rainy day, I'm instantly
transported to my family dining room, awash with familiar scents
and flavours, and reminded of the people who represent home.
Eight London Filipino restaurants to try