Known for aromatic and delicious dishes, Filipino food and restaurants have captured the hearts of millions across the globe. In London, these five restaurants are championing the Philippines through classic and new Filipino dishes that you’ll love!
Located in the heart of Brixton, Sarap BAon (pronounced Sa-rap Ba-on), offers a modern twist on comfort food, giving Londoners a glimpse into the street food culture in the Philippines. Whether you go for the ‘Pulutan’ small plates or the ‘Lechon’, you can’t go wrong with the easy-to-eat food that Sarap BAon offers.
Enjoy a cold beer and a 'Bistek’ Tartare Pulutan (£6), a raw bavette steak dressed with calamansi & soy sauce, or enjoy the popular Fried Chicken Sinigang rice bowl (£12). Also try the classic Filipino Lechon slow-roasted pork belly (£8.50 to £45), stuffed with lemongrass, garlic, chilli, and ginger. Whether you come alone or with a large group, the Lechon menu will satisfy every hungry stomach.
Chef Ferdinand ‘Budgie’ Montoya was born in Mindanao, Philippines, grew up in Australia, but eventually moved to London less than a decade ago. After a stint as head chef of Foley’s in London and the success of Sarap supper club, he opened a Sarap BAon in 2020. As a way to celebrate his mother’s cooking and to reconnect to Filipino culture, Budgie takes pride in creating dishes that will remind any Filipino of home.
Turo Turo (pronounced Tu-ru Tu-ro), opened in 2018 by chef Rex De Guzman, is an award-winning Filipino restaurant inspired by the street food and fast food culture in the Philippines. Serving a selection of quick and easy to pick dishes, Turo Turo has won not only the popularity of locals but critics, winning several awards.
Feast on their 4-hour Braised Pork Tocino Bao (£8.95), a pineapple soy-glazed pork belly bao, and then move onto their award-winning Charred Aubergine Salad (£10.75). Also try the Prawn ‘Pancit Palabok’ Noodles (£12.95), topped with shrimp sauce, prawns, smoked mackerel, boiled egg, crispy shallots, chicken crackling, and spring onions.
Before Turo Turo, Chef Rex De Guzman has worked under numerous Michelin Star chefs, as well as working at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant. Rex is not only a chef but an aspiring entrepreneur, pursuing multiple Filipino food ventures throughout London. Running his first pop-up restaurant at just 21 years old, Chef Rex is ambitious in building a Filipino food empire and hopes to champion Filipino cuisine in the UK.
Tucked away on the corner of Earl’s Court Road is Lutong Pinoy, a family-run business open since 1996 serving home-style Filipino food to anyone in London looking for comfort outside their own homes. The restaurant offers Kamayan meals, a buffet, as well as an á la carte menu, representing the various regions of the Philippine Islands.
Meat lovers should try the Beef Kare Kare (£9.25), a peanut stew with cooked beef and vegetables, or the Kalderetang Kambing (£11), a traditional goat stew cooked in tomato sauce. Seafood enthusiasts should look no further than the Daing Na Bangus (£5.95 or £10.25), a marinated fried milkfish dish served with dipping sauce. Or for our veggie lovers, the Ginataan Gulay (£7.95), an eggplant dish simmering in coconut milk.
Opened by Rowena Romulo, the granddaughter of former President of the UN General Assembly General Carlos P. Romulo, Romulo Café London has quickly become one of the finest Filipino restaurants in London, serving family recipes that have been passed down for generations. Their food maintains the same authentic character found in Filipino cuisine, but also provides a twist of unique flavours and ingredients.
Try the Gambas al Ajillo tapas (£9.50), in which prawns are sautéed in olive oil, parsley, tomatoes, green chilies, and served with pan de sal crostini. Taken from the family recipe book, Tito Greg's Beef & Oxtail Kare-Kare (£17) is another Filipino festive favourite. Or try the “Romulo Style” Truffled Chicken Adobo (£14.50), a chicken dish cooked in soy sauce, garlic and cane vinegar, served with bok choy and sweet potato, and finished with black truffle.
Trained under Michelin star chef Michel Roux Jr, Romulo's Executive Chef Jeremy Villanueva has worked at well-known restaurants such as Le Gavroche, Brasserie Roux, and Le Boudin Blanc. Villanueva honors the Romulo heritage by reproducing family recipes using the best ingredients, but also lets his voice be heard with new techniques, producing a special fine-dining Filipino experience.
Rapsa@ 100 Hoxton is located in the trendy Hixton area, and just like the neighborhood, the restaurant bar’s atmosphere is lively and intimate. Accompanied with the inviting ambience is the elevated Filipino fusion food. From their eccentric small plates to ‘Boodle Fight’ menu, everyone can imbibe in the modern Filipino food culture.
The dish you’ll see on most people’s tables is the Slow Roasted Lechon (£12), or the Ginataan Coconut Pumpkin Curry (£9). Other dishes such as the Pan Fried Butterfly Mackerel served with Padron Peppers (£12), or the Oxtail Kare Kare Croquettes (£13) offer unique Mediterranean interpretations of Filipino favorites. Encapsulating the Filipino experience is the Maja Blanca dessert (£7), a corn coconut pudding served with sweet berries and popcorn.
After racking up invaluable experience at Yotam Ottolenghi’s NOPI in West London, Chef Francis Puyat took to his roots and opened RAPSA as an extension to 100 Hoxton to share his Filipino fusion across London. Celebrating the Philippines while also bringing an innovative perspective to the table, Chef Francis is able to create an accessible menu with simple yet exquisite dishes to its trendy customer base.
If you want to learn even more about Filipino food, you can catch Budgie of Sarap BAon, Rex of Turo Turo, as well as other Filipino cuisine experts on the Rassa course of Filipino cooking, commencing in February of 2022. For more information, click here.