K also requested sinigang na baboy (£6.95). This is pork and veg cooked and served in a clear, tangy broth. Usually the sourness comes from tamarind or bilimbi but there are ready-made powder mixes available too (available in Asian shops). I thought LP’s sinagang was a bit bare; when the server placed it on the table my first thought was ‘Dude, where’s my pork?!’ This didn’t move me that much, but to be fair I was never a fan of sinigang anyway.
Pinakbet (£6) is a traditional Filo vegetable dish made with squash, bittermelon, okra, aubergine, beans and some sort of protein cooked in fish sauce or fish paste. LP’s offering was a bit too salty for my taste buds, but the veggies were cooked nicely.
Laing (£5.50), dried taro leaves in coconut milk, is my favourite Filo dish of all time. This is usually served with a bit of the taro root, pork pieces and finely chopped bird’s eye. When I saw it on the menu I knew I had to have it. LP’s version had a bit more coconut milk than what I’m used to and it was a bit more creamy. That said, it was still really comforting and yummy enough to bring a smile on my face.
I couldn’t decide what else to have so I asked for another dish I find comforting, Filipino beef steak (£6.75). This dish is made of thinly sliced sirloin cooked in soy sauce, lemon juice and steak onions. The beef was gorgeously tender – almost of melt-in-your mouth quality – but the sauce lacked a bit of tang for me. It still made me happy eating it.
We also had orders of adobong pusit (£6.50) and chicken afritada (£6.50) but I didn’t try those so I can’t say much. I was full to the brim after but when K said ‘halo-halo’ my stomach automatically made room. Unfortunately they didn’t have any so we ended up having orders of turon and ice cream (£3). It took forever to arrive, though.
A lot has been said about the Filipino cuisine but I don’t think there’s a general consensus about what it’s like. – I find it rather difficult to explain it to other people too. I do think it’s the super delicious poster child of fusion cuisine but I also believe our culinary landscape is explorable as is.
Admittedly, Lutong Pinoy isn’t the best Filo restaurant I’ve been to. We’ve had some hits and misses from the stuff we ordered but I like it enough to go back and try other options on the menu. The servers were very nice and accommodating (Filo hospitality at its best!) and I’m sure they are always on the lookout to refine their food. And the price is actually decent! It’s good enough a place to visit when you’re craving for a bit of home.