I asked my very good friend and Filipino native, Carlos, to join me for dinner as I figured he would take me through some of his culinary experiences with the food. As we walked into this bright restaurant (formerly the Rosebud) we were immediately greeted by co-owner Les Sabilano who Carlos knows of course, as it's just a small world here in TO. Les explained that his concept is to introduce Filipino food to the mainstream. The word "Lamesa" means "table", which is the epicentre of the Filipino home and that is the feeling they wanted to bring into the restaurant. When I think of what Filipino food represents to me, it would be a family style dining experience with rice, tropical fruits, greasy stir fries with noodles and spam. It is a complete misnomer as Filipino food is an amalgamation of various cultures with derivatives from Chinese, Spanish, Malaysian and American cuisine. Shows really what I know! We selected the $35 prix fixe tasting menu as we believed this would give us the variety we were looking for and put our journey in the hands of the talented Chef Rudy Boquila.
|corn and coconut soup|
|pancit (l) and halo halo (r)|
Our mains were plated next -a juicy beef short rib that falls off the bone placed atop a pineapple carrot puree and olive tapenade which adds this sour/sweet element to the dish. My favourite main was the pork belly adobo: a confit of pork belly served with soy, vinegar and a smear of black garlic puree. The belly was crispy and so flavourful and was complimented well with the sides on the plate.
|short rib (l) pork belly (r)|
We were so full at this point and so satisfied. Carlos commented that this was a novel place where it adapts the traditions from the Philippines and innovates them through plating, deconstructing flavours and elevating simple dishes. Finally our desserts came - we got a few of them. We had a house made soft cheese cake which looked like a scoop of soft ice cream and it was heavenly. Even Carlos, who is not a fan of cheesecake, licked his spoons. We also had their jackfruit creme brûlée and it was sweet and light. We were also given a trio of house made sorbets - young coconut, jackfruit and pineapple. Finally, there was a home made rice cookie and my very favourite, the turon, a purple yam stuffed empanada. mmmmMMM! There were so many firsts for me in terms of dishes, new names, everything. I can't wait to go back again!
Lamesa Filipino Kitchen,
669 Queen St. W. (Queen and Bathurst)