It may have been all over the news recently, not least because Meghan Markle adores its national dish, but one restaurant that’s been flying the flag in the UK for Filipino cuisine for the last three years is Romulo Café in Kensington.
With the brand itself celebrating its 10th anniversary this year (there are three siblings in Manila), now is the perfect time to head to west London and sample some kare-kare, sisig and Ms Markle’s favourite, chicken adobo.
Showcasing a variety of private spaces alongside the main restaurant, including the elegant and cosy Library, in September 2018 Romulo Café also became the very first Filipino restaurant in the UK to be granted a licence for civil marriages and civil partnerships.
Executive chef Jeremy Villanueva, whose impressive CV includes the likes of Le Gavroche under Michel Roux Jr, Brasserie Roux and Le Boudin Blanc in Mayfair, is faithful to the Romulo family’s heirloom recipes but has full license to innovate.
Thus since arriving at Romulo Café last year, he’s been busy complementing beloved signatures such as Dingley Dell Pork Belly Adobo (Adobong Baboy) and Chilli King Prawns (Sugpo Sa Aligue) with his own inspired creations, from Blue Swimmer Crab Meat Soufflé (Rellenong Alimango) to Slow Cooked Lamb Empanada (Lamb Kaldereta Empanada).
Whilst it’s hard to pick standouts from such dazzling fare, it has to be said that Jeremy’s Rib of Braised Grass-Fed Beef Sliders – slow-cooked British beef served on homemade traditional Filipino bread, caramelised honey chilli onion glaze and Queso de Bola cheese – takes some beating!
A riot of colour with their vibrant ingredients – sweet potato and ube (purple yam) among them – and sprinkled with pretty yellow and purple edible flowers, Romulo Café’s dishes truly are a ray of sunshine.
A carefully curated selection of Old and New World wines is available to complement the tastes and flavours of the food. Filipino-inspired cocktails, including Amor de Familia (Don Papa rum, lime, strawberries, pomegranate & egg white served on the rocks) and Pacquiao’s Last Punch (spiced Rum, lemon, pineapple, ginger and absinthe) add glamour and a touch of whimsy to the experience.
For those who are new to the delights of Filipino cuisine, Romulo Café offers the best introduction to the vibrant flavours of the Philippines in a romantic cosy setting starting with authentic and traditional beverages like Filipino Lemonade made with Calamansi juice.
Alongside this perfect tipple are other delicious concoctions and cocktails with a modern twist like Smokey & Stormy which blends Woodford Reserve, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur and Grand Marnier served in a whisky flask with the added theatrical flair of a smoking glass.
343 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London W8 6NW