Lutong Pinoy: where I washed my holiday blues away

Early this month I had a massive case of post-holiday blues. I suffered a really bad case of desynchronosis and lost my appetite. I craved me some sleep but I couldn’t get my eyes to close and I craved heaps of food but my body seemed to reject everything. Mostly though I craved and missed a bit of home but I was far too deep into the daily grind again. 
Perhaps this was why my first actual proper meal since the holiday was aptly inspired by the Philippines. The Supper Club ladies and I decided that we had to have Filo food even though there aren’t a lot of Filo restaurants in town. I’ve only been to two: Port of Manila in Hammersmith (reviewed here, they’re apparently relocating) and Josephine’s on Charlotte Street (which I thought was overpriced and average). K, who’s expecting her first child *insert heaps of congratumalations here*, had a massive craving for Filipino sausages and said Lutong Pinoy in Earl’s Court had the best in town. Never wanting to cross a pregnant lady and her cravings, we all agreed to trek it there for lunch service.
We started with two orders of chicharon bulaklak (£6). For those who do not know, these are fried pork intestines. Don’t say ‘Ewww, how gross!’ just yet! The profile is crunchy, salty, moreish and perfect with a good pairing of beer or cider. It’s deceptively light, but go in moderation as you wouldn’t want to know how much cholesterol is packed in these bite-sized bad boys. You should also get acquainted with the chicken version (which I had loads of in Manila). LP’s version was a bit too light for my liking. I wish it had a bit of crunch too.
We had longganisa (£6.25) - Filipino pork sausages. You get different flavour profiles of longganisa depending on the region they come from; I like the super garlicky ones from Vigan/Lucban best. LP’s ones are of the sweet kind. They’re fatty and juicy and addicting! K had her longganisa + garlic rice + egg plate and we got a full order to share too. I think you get 7 pieces per bowl. Bargain!

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.

That purple ice cream? You need it in your life.

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.

10 Kenway Rd, London SW5 0RR | +44(0)20 7244 0007
Ave spend pp: £20

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