Food

MAMA'S KUBO

Mama's Kubo, Finchley Road, London

Mama’s Kubo is an authentic Filipino restaurant on Finchley Road, run by husband and wife team Rommel Bustarde and Claudine Bleza. Rommel used to be a key figure in Busaba Eathai and, along with Claudine, has created one hell of a restaurant with Mama’s Kubo, complete with a menu of unpretentious and satisfying dishes. Don’t miss the pancit guisado (stir-fried noodles), sisig (sizzling spiced diced pork) or biko sticky rice cake. But if you’re in luck, Rommel’s homemade longaniza (cured sweet and garlicky sausages) may be on the menu – he only makes them when he’s in the mood – definitely get them if you can.

RAPSA

Rapsa @ 100 Hoxton, Hoxton Street, London

Rapsa is a Filipino fusion spot with a couple of sites across town (one in Hoxton and one in Archway) as well as two sister sites (The Rambling Pig, a pub, and Sugarlandia, a Tiki bar) and they’ve got another concept (Tin & Fins) in Margate. Yeah, they’ve got a lot going on. They’ve also got killer kinilaw on the menu – a classic dish often referred to as Filipino ceviche – which is what started the whole thing. If you’re sticking around for dessert, make sure you grab the bibingka, which is a coconut rice flour cake baked in banana leaves.

TILAW

Tilaw by Franco, Quadrant Arcade, Romford

While Earl’s Court is known as ‘Little Manila’, Romford seems to be becoming east London’s/Essex’s hub for Filipino communities and cuisines. One of the newest additions to the scene is Tilaw, which stands out amongst the others, with a menu that emphasises the Visayan roots of its owner JJ Franco. Make sure to get the Humba, which is a braised pork dish of tender pieces capped with melt-in-the-mouth fat; it’s sweet with hints of fermented black beans and star anise.

LUTONG PINOY

Lutong Pinoy, Kenway Road, London

Lutong Pinoy has been serving traditional Filipino food since 1996, becoming a well-established member of London’s ‘Little Manila’. If you’re going solo, opt for one of the rice meals – especially their silog dishes, your choice of meat or fish served with fried egg and garlic rice. If you go as a group, try one of their bilao sharing platters for a taste of everything.

ADELA'S CARINDERIA

72 Goldhawk Rd, London W12 8HA

Adela has been serving carinderia – or canteen-style – Filipino food in Shepherd’s Bush since 2018, though she’s recently relocated to a new location inside Shepherd’s Bush Market. There are daily changing dishes, like chicken adobo, adobong pusit and kare-kare, on the counter and you just point at the ones you want, and on the weekends it turns into an all-you-can-eat buffet. Or you could indulge in the all-day Filipino breakfast menu, which features a range of silogs (meat or fish with fried egg and garlic rice) alongside the likes of palabok (noodles with chicharron and egg in shrimp sauce), lumpia, and beef lomi (beef and noodles in a thick soup). And if you want something sweet, Adela has you covered too with halo-halo, cassava cakes, sticky rice cakes and leche flans.

ALLAN'S BAKERY & CAFE

80 Uxbridge Rd, London W12 8LR

This bakery in Shepherd’s Bush is where to come when you want traditional Filipino bakes. The offering includes pandesal, cassava cake, ensaymadas, ube cake, Spanish bread and asado siopao (steamed buns filled with pork), and there’s a small selection of Filipino groceries to shop from too.

FILISHACK

130 Peckham Hill St, London SE15 5JT

After starting out as a street food stall in 2014, the Cacho brothers have grown Filishack into two permanent shops, one in Peckham and one in Elephant & Castle. Filishack is all about fast and fresh food – you choose your base (rice, burrito, fries or salad), fill it with chicken adobo, beef adobo, crispy tofu or chicken insalal (this is the one to go for – the marinated chicken is smokey and full of flavour) and then load it up with salad and sauces.

APOY

Market Halls Oxford Street, Holles Street, London

Budgie Montoya is showcasing Filipino BBQ with Apoy (which means ‘fire’ in Tagalog) at Market Halls on Oxford Street. The menu is full of the sweet, sour and savoury flavours that make up Filipino cuisine, with pinoy pork, chicken inasal and soy glazed aubergine sitting alongside classics like chicken adobo, lechon, and claypot beef served with rice. You’ll defo want some fried chicken skins to snack on and if you ate at Budgie’s other restaurant Sarap, you’ll know how good the coconut kale is. And don’t miss out on the dipping sauces – options include mang tomas lechon sauce, spicy coconut vinegar, banana ketchup, and soy sauce & calamansi juice,

ALEX DILLING AT HOTEL CAFE ROYAL

We first visited Alex Dilling at Hotel Cafe Royal when it had just opened in the autumn of 2022, and it was clear to see that he was gunning for stars with his take on classical fine dining. Lo and behold, he went straight in to the Michelin Guide the following spring with two shiny stars. Now he’s switching things up ever so slightly, with a new eight-course tasting menu featuring dishes that reference certain points in his life, from his childhood in San Francisco to his experiences working alongside chefs like Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, and his time leading the kitchen at The Greenhouse. That means dishes like white asparagus with textures of smoked eel and a brown butter sauce; and hunter’s chicken, layered with mushroom duxelles, chicken mousse and Alsace bacon and presented to the table like a prime lobster before returning, carved and dressed with Albufera sauce, stuffed morels, spinach ballotine and silky mash. This is a two star restaurant for a reason, well for several reasons, like the use of the very highest quality ingredients, the expert skill in the kitchen from technical cookery to exquisite presentation, and attentive service.

AKIRA BACK

22 Hanover Square, London W1S 1JP

Michelin-starred chef Akira Back operates 25 restaurants around the world, in cities including Bangkok, Las Vegas, SingaporeParis, Dubai, Seoul and Istanbul, and London has been added to the list with his eponymous Akira Back restaurant inside the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair in Hanover Square. As you’d expect from a luxury hotel, the 148-cover restaurant looks the part, with a triple height sky roof and spiral marble staircase bringing the drama. The menu showcases Back’s modern Japanese food, with signatures, like the AB Tuna Pizza with umami aioli and shiso (a must-order) sitting alongside exclusive dishes for London, including Dynamite Lobster with pickled shimeji, turbot with white asparagus and sake butter, and Highland wagyu striploin with yuzu kosho jus. Don’t miss the Jeju domi sea bream, octopus crudo, the Jidori chicken with potato purée, or the moon cake dessert either. And the fun doesn’t stop once you’ve finished your meal as late night cocktail bar ABar Lounge, next to the restaurant, is shaking up inventive cocktails and has a DJ programme running on the weekends.

DONIA

Kingly Ct, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW

Florence Mae Maglanoc and Omar Shah, founders of the Maginhawa group (which includes With ‘dirty ice cream’ brand Mamasons, Filipino bakery Panadera and fusion ramen joint Ramo Ramen), added modern Filipino restaurant Donia to their empire in late 2023. The Kingly Court restaurant blends Filipino flavours and recipes with British produce with dishes like crispy roast pork with liver peppercorn sauce; chicken inasal with a butter emulsion; and prawn & pork dumplings with white crab, lime butter sauce and chilli oil.

KASA AND KIN

52/53 Poland Street, London W1F 7NQ

Get a taste of Manila right here in London at Soho’s Kasa and Kin. The modern Filipino joint comes from the same team behind Kensington’s Romulo Cafe & Restaurant, so you know it’s legit, and it’s got you covered from morning to night as it’s part bakery, part restaurant and bar. Kasa and Kin is known for its spin on popular street food dishes and home-cooked faves, with the likes of ube cream cheese pandesals and ensaymadas on offer at the bakery and confit duck adobo, prawn lumpia, beef kare kare, crispy pata, lamb shank kaldereta, and Filipino BBQ on the restaurant menu.

THE DEVONSHIRE

17 Denman Street, London W1D 7HW

How do you make London’s hottest pub even hotter? Open a rooftop of course. And that’s just what Charlie Carroll, Oisín Rogers and Ashley Palmer-Watts have done at The Devonshire. The third floor is now home to a 40-cover roof terrace, serving the pub’s full menu of food and drink, including pints of the black stuff; Isle of Skye langoustines, Iberico pork ribs and beef chops cooked on the wood ember grill; as well as dishes like lamb hotpot and beef cheek & Guinness suet pudding.

TERRAZZA FOCACCIA AT ALLEGRA

The Stratford Hotel London, 20 International Way, London E20 1FD

Allegra in Stratford is home to a huge, 11,290 sq ft rooftop terrace and garden complete with wraparound views of the city. This year Head Chef Patrick Powell is running a focaccia and sundae menu across the summer, so you can tuck into the likes of porchetta with green sauce & pickled onion and stracciatella & grilled veggie sandwiches, plus some guest chef specials; banoffee, peach melba and lemon meringue sundaes; and vermouth-based cocktails.

CLARIDGE'S RESTAURANT

Claridge's, Brook Street, London

The Claridge’s Restaurant Terrace, on street level but tucked away from the main drag, is open for its first season. You can drop by for champagne and caviar or settle in for blood orange Garibaldis and dishes from the specially curated seasonal dining menu, including Montgomery gourgéres with pickled walnuts, Claridge’s Fried Chicken with a citrus créme fraîche, lobster cocktail and sauce vierge crumpets, English asparagus with hazelnut and truffle vinaigrette, Severn & Wye smoked salmon with sour cream and soda bread, and Eton mess and strawberries.

CLOTH

44 Cloth Fair, London EC1A 7JQ

Set in a Grade II-listed building (and nestled next to some of the oldest residential buildings in London), Cloth is all about seasonal food and an approachable list of excellent, affordable wines. The wine bar and restaurant is the result of a collaboration between two wine importers, Joe Haynes and Ben Butterworth, and a chef, Tom Hurst (whose impressive CV includes Brawn, The Marksman, Levan, Salon, Larry’s and, most recently, Lasdun). Expect seasonal dishes that celebrate the best of British produce, as well as a great value set menu on offer at lunch, priced at £25 for two courses and £29 for three. As for the wine, half of the list comprises bottles from Joe and Ben’s own import and supply businesses – including grower champagnes, new-wave Bordeaux and German wines. The other half is made up of wines from suppliers who champion small, independent, and sustainable producers (such as Emile Wines, The Winery, Fingal Rock, Carte Blanche, Winemakers Club and Raeburn). Plus, there are always by-the-glass options and £5 corkage on Mondays. Cheers to that.

ROE

5 Park Drive, London

Roe is the latest opening from Will Murray, Jack Croft and James Robson, the trio behind Fallow and FOWL. It’s located out in Canary Wharf, close to where Hawksmoor is, at the bottom of a tall circular residential tower. It’s a huge space, seating around 300 inside, and more on the riverside terrace. Similar to Fallow, Roe is all about local, seasonal ingredients, with a zero-waste sustainable ethos. The menu is split into Snacks; Small Plates; Skewers; Flatbreads; Large Plates; Steaks; Sides; and Feasts, which are for two or more. Don’t miss the maitake mushroom Cornish pasty served with an amazing walnut ketchup; the Cornish scallop flatbread with bacon butter; the cuttlefish fried brioche with sesame and chill jam; the breaded mushrooms with garlic mayonnaise; the Wildfarmed sourdough with smoked roe; and the blooming onion with picked onion powder and garlic mayo. And with caramelised banana parfait, made to look exactly like a plain peeled banana, served with peanut and toasted vanilla sauce, on the dessert list, you’ll wanna leave room for pudding too.

HANNAH

Southbank Riverside, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 7PB

Tucked away inside the County Hall building on the Southbank is one of the best omakase restaurants in town. At Hannah, Chef Daisuke take inspiration from the kaiseki style of service and he blends both Japanese and British cooking techniques and ingredients to create a very spesh omakase experience. Seasonality is everything at Hannah so the menu changes often (as do the flowers inside the restaurant and on the plates) but you can expect expertly crafted and plated dishes like seared A5 wagyu with foie gras; sea bream shabu shabu; smoked trout with tozazu jelly; otoro with seaweed soy sauce; ramen noodles with chicken & Iberico ham stock and grilled chicken; grilled lobster with umami butter; ten sushi chirashi bowl; and tonka bean and cherry blossom ice cream.

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