Well, the thing with things said in jest is that sometimes they do come true. So it was that, on a windy gray early evening, Newman and i alighted from the tube and started walking along Kensington High Street in search of Romulo Cafe.
It turned out to be located at the farther, more commonplace side; looking like a converted shop house unit from the outside (see above). Right beside it was a store selling fresh fruits, and besides that was a casual Middle Eastern cafe.
The interiors proved to be cozy and accommodating, and give off a smart casual vibe. Black and white photos of illustrious Gen. Carlos P. Romulo adorned the walls. (For those who are not familiar with who he was, check out his biography)
On to the menu! After much hew and hawwing, we placed our orders. First up was Chef Lorenzo’s Pork Sisig, described on the menu as "Chopped seared pork belly topped with fried egg with pickled apples and caramelized shallots". (GBP7.50)
On first glance, i thought they gave us the wrong order. This definitely looked worlds apart from the usual sisig found in various parts of the Philippines - sizzling on a plate, garnished with chopped onions, with calamansi (Philippine lime) on the side ready to be sprinkled.
This dish looked like 'fried egg with feeble vegetables'. Turns out the pork belly (not the usual ears and cheeks, haha!) was found underneath. And despite my misgivings, we both found it to be a good appetizer.
Next was one of the new items on the menu - The General's Combo Platter, composed of "pork barbeque, chicken inasal [marinated in sauce], tinapa [smoked fish with red eggs and tomatoes] roll, camaron rebosado [fried buttered prawn with mayo dip], and patotim [duck in a steam bun with lettuce]with atchara [preserved papaya]." (GBP17.50)
Now, this was great value for money! The BBQ and chicken were on point, the fried prawns delicious, the smoked fish rolls flavourful. Best eaten with a cup (or two) of plain rice, as real Pinoys do :-D Newman and i got pretty full.
As for the duck, ah this was the one lowlight of our meal. The duck meat itself was pretty good (not dry), but the bread bun was mysteriously frozen. As in frozen rock solid. It was Newman who discovered it, and we both puzzled about it for some moments before deciding to bring to the staff's attention.
They claimed it was not resto practice to freeze buns, then thaw and steam them upon order. (So perhaps the buns are delivered by an outside supplier?) They took the bun (the evidence!) away. No satisfactory explanation was given.
Last was one of their new desserts - Maja Blanca, described as "coconut milk pudding with corn, topped with mangoes and parmesan chips, and served with cheese (queso) ice cream." (GBP7.00)
Looks pretty, no? It proved to be a refreshing dish, and not too heavy on the stomach.
For drinks, i ordered the Cha-jito ("Havana Anejo rum, sweet and spiced tea, mint, coriander, ginger & lime"), a bit steep at GBP8.50. Sourish taste at first, but it grows on you.
After some questioning, we elicited from the friendly staff that one of Gen. Romulo's descendants resided in London; and this was how the idea of putting up a branch came about. So far, they have been open for around 4 months now; and judging from our visit, the response was pretty good.
Cheers to Filipino food in London!
Romulo Café London, 343 Kensington High Street, London W8 6NW
020 3141 6390 | firstname.lastname@example.org |
Monday to Saturday: 12pm to 12am
Sunday: 12pm to 11:30pm
Between 3:00 to 5:30pm, we serve bar food/snacks, salads and desserts