Filipino Pop Up dinner series by Lolo and Lola

Yes! You read that right, Lolo and Lola are doing a pop up dinner series every month and I was lucky enough to attend their inaugural dinner last Thursday as their guest.

I haven’t been to Westside at night and I was happy to see that Lolo and Lola had a marquee set up with warm lighting, cute assigned seating and a menu that made me very excited.I am loving the penmanship.Adobo in four different ways pork, chicken, mushroom and snake beans. When I was browsing the menu, my eyes lit up when I saw adobo and in FOUR WAYS! It was hard to choose a favourite but being a big meat-eater I loved the pork and chicken, although the mushrooms were definitely a close second. If you have never eaten adobo, you need to change that immediately.Sinigang confit of salmon in hot tamarind broth with okra, radish and cherry tomatoes. This was unlike anything I had eaten before. The broth had strong sour notes which really made the tomatoes and radish taste very sweet, while the salmon seemed really rich and fatty without a strong fishy taste. As we ate the salmon, the broth became almost creamy and contrasting flavours weren’t as sharp.Inasal grilled chicken maryland marinated in garlic, lemongrass and vinegar with vegetable atchar salad. I could happily eat this for the rest of my life. The chicken was succulent with a fantastic marinade, while the punchy pickled vegetables kept it all refreshing. A real perfect balance of flavours displaying real skills from the kitchen.Kare-Kare Filipino stew of fork tender beef cheefs, honeycomb tripe and vegetables in annatto peanut sauce. The scaredy cat in me gave away most of my tripe but the happy girl who was enjoying everything so far kept a little bit to try, it had a really unexpected texture as it was super soft and reminded me of bone marrow. The description did not lie, this was definitely tender beef! Unsurprisingly, Lolo and Lola’s stews are always amazing.Check out how tender that meat is.Filipino fruit juice as a little refreshment between courses.Lechon slow roasted pork belly served with garlic liver sauce and petite pomelo salad. Lechon is definitely a must have dish when you have a Filipino event. The pork had a perfect crunchy crackle, the meat was succulent and it was a generous serve that defeated me towards the end. Having pieces of pomelo gave the dish a refreshing touch.Salabat brewed ginger tea with honey. This reminded me of a Chinese tong sui and took me back to my childhood and home cooking.  The tea was perfect on a cold winter’s night. As you sipped the tea, you could feel the tingle of a ginger ‘burn’ on your tongue and down your throat.Bibingka souffle interpretation of the classic coconut rice cake served with salted egg creme anglaise. Luckily we all had a different stomach for desserts and we had no trouble finishing this. I don’t love salted egg but the anglaise had just enough that you could tell it was salted egg without being overwhelming and I almost licked my shot glass clean. The souffle itself had a fluffy delicate texture that was a perfect end to a stunning dinner.

I can honestly say that I loved every dish. Kim from Lolo and Lola was describing how Filipino food is unpretentious and it really was just fantastic food with fresh ingredients and well-balanced flavours.

Since the first pop up dinner sold out in 1 hour and September booked out also, keep your eyes on their Facebook page for their upcoming dinners and get in quick!

Venue: Lolo and Lola

Address: Westside Acton Park, Container 20, 3 Barrine Dr, Acton ACT 2601

Facebook: Lolo and Lola by Waterhouse Bakers

Phone: 0412 929 780

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Playing Tourist and Pork Belly Adobo with Filipino Garlic Rice — shenANNAgans

This is really to serve as a reminder for me to make this, but hopefully it inspires you too! shenANNAgans is so talented, go check out her blog.

Pork Belly Adobo with Filipino Garlic Rice takes hours to cook and the smell of it stays in the house for days, it is a very fatty, high-calorie dish and certainly not something you eat every day, but it is TOTALLY worth the indulgence!!! Working in the hospitality industry is sometimes like traveling the world, it seems to attract adventurers…

via Playing Tourist and Pork Belly Adobo with Filipino Garlic Rice — shenANNAgans

Lolo and Lola

There are not many reasons why I would get up early on the weekend but Lolo and Lola‘s opening day is a pretty good one. I’ve been waiting for months for their addition into the shipping container community at the Westside village but it wasn’t just the excitement of them finally opening that got me out of bed, it was also because they are notorious of running out of food due their popular demand. So I found it fitting that we went earlier rather than later.Michelle from HerCanberra met me at Westside 1 hour after Lolo and Lola’s grand opening and they were already being swamped by keen customers. We were quick to order and because we didn’t know what to get, we decided to get one of everything just to be sure that we didn’t miss out. And our early morning start paid off because we didn’t miss out and we happen to order the last box of ensaymada #sorrynotsorry Since we were invited to their opening, they were nice enough to give our order complimentary.

This is the view that you would continue to see for the rest of the day. The line to Lolo and Lola never really stops.Pancite Palabok rice noodle with prawns, tofu, smoked fish and chicharon in a garlic-annatto sauce ($10.00). I was surprised about the heavy seafood flavour in this dish, it turns out that the sauce/thick soup’s stock is made from prawn heads boiled away for 8 hours. This dish will not be for everyone because of its strong seafood flavours; I didn’t mind it but I much preferred the rice.Pork and mushroom adobo with garlic rice and petite atchara salad ($12.00). I really enjoyed this dish; the pork was tender and the sauce went really well with the rice. I’ve never eaten a non-chicken wing adobo but this reminded me of delicious tamarind pork belly that my Mum makes. I like the addition of the salad, because it breaks up the heavy rice/pork combination. My handy tip: try to avoid crunching on the peppercorns.“Filo” style chicken BBQ with garlic rice and petite atchara salad ($12.00). Stop what you’re doing and eat this immediately if not sooner. I was surprised that I found this my favourite dish as I did have my heart set on adobo. The chicken is so succulent and full of flavour, it made me make my ‘eyes widen with a big grin’ face because it was so tasty yet unexpected.Classic ice scramble Filopino streetside treat made with creamy blended ice topped with powdered milk and chocolate sauce ($6.00). I’d be the first to admit that this sounds like a crazy combination, but that was why I was here, to experience another culture through their food. As soon as I took my first spoonful I knew exactly what everything reminded me of. The pink thick creamy blended ice tasted like musk sticks, the texture of the powdered milk reminded me of undissolved blobs of milo in milk and even though I don’t like musk sticks, I was strangely addicted to the texture of the powdered milk with blended ice. Yes, definitely hard and weird to explain without you trying it, so if you’re game, definitely order it.Ube cake slice ($7.00). This sold out just before midday. I ate mouthfuls of cake between eating our brunch, which would have put many people off but I liked having a bite of sweetness between my mouthfuls of garlic rice. It was like a soft sponge cake with delicious butter cream frosting.Classic ensaymada ($20.00 per box of 9 or $3.00 a piece). This sold out by 10:30am which is ridiculous considering Lolo and Lola only opened their doors at 9:00am. The combination sounds strange but it works as a ‘sweet’. Think of a sweet bun (like Bread Top type of bread) that has been proofed for 8-12 hours, which then turns into a fluffy bread texture, topped with butter cream and cheese (yes you read that right). Michelle gave me a tip to warm them up a little before consuming and I am loving it.I’m a huge fan of cross section photos and this is what the ensaymada looks like on the inside.The menu may change daily so I’m not sure what they will serve today but their ‘cake’ will be classic sans rival. If you see mango sans rival on the sign, msg me and I will drop what I’m doing and head straight there.It was very popular opening morning and so there was a small wait after ordering to get the food, worth it though.

Venue: Lolo and Lola

Address: Westside Acton Park, 3 Barrine Drive, Acton, ACT 2601

Opening hours: for now are:

Fun filled weekend- Pasko sa Canberra 

Pasko sa Canberra must be the best kept secret amongst the Filopino community. It is an event proudly hosted by the Filopino community of the ACT in cooperation with the Philippine embassy, to allow people to experience Philippine Christmas in Canberra. This was the first year I’ve heard about it and I grabbed a friend to come with me even though we did not know what really to expect.

There was lechon (roasted suckling pig), halo halo and banana cue as far as the eye could see. My friend and I were wondering where this festival had been all our lives! The first stop had to be for lechon and some rice ($13.00?). I found the closest stall and ordered a ‘large box’, after being left behind and ignored for a bit after paying, I finally got some suckling pig with a little bit of rice; the meat was rather fatty with lots of bones but I still liked it. What we enjoyed the most was the small dabble of sauce from the braised pork dish, maybe I should have ordered that with rice instead. Next year we’ll have a better understanding of what to get.Sriracha chicken wings with rice ($8.00) from Kusina. We really should have stopped eating rice with everything but we couldn’t help ourselves. These chicken wings were more sweet that chilli hot and we really enjoyed this.Adobo and longanisa with yes… More rice ($15.00?). We were done snacking, if I was going to eat anything from a Filopino festival, it would have to be adobo and I finally found it in the far back corner of the festival. If you didn’t bite down on a peppercorn, it has a lovely salty garlicky sauce with succulent chicken pieces. I really want to do make this before the end of the year. My friend chose the longanisa sausage which reminded me of a sweeter version of Chinese sausage. Both were really tasty and I’m glad that we found such unique dishes that were so tasty amongst so many choices.Marinated pork shoulder skewer our sweet BBQ sauce of banana ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar and other secret stuff cooked over coals on our custom BBQ ($4.00) plus garlic rice ($1.00) and paw paw salad ($1.00) from Gee and Jem. We only ate the top third of the skewer as the rest of the meat was too fatty and chewy, which was a shame because the parts that we could eat were awesome! Yes, when I saw the option of garlic rice I couldn’t say no, it had a fabulous aroma and a beautiful crunchy texture.

I leave my friend alone for 5 minutes and she comes back with a banana cue and some sort of dough stick covered in sugar. We didn’t really like the banana cue (I thought it needed condensed milk, but I think everything could do with a little condensed milk) and the dough stick reminded me of a sweet version of Chinese youtiao.

Classic sans rival ($10.00) from Lolo and Lola. I was really disappointed that they had sold out of the mango sans rival (actually they had almost sold out of everything) but I happily bought the classic version which is layers of buttercream, meringue and chopped cashews. I cannot wait for their shipping container to be opened at Westside pop up village!
My friend and I had lots of fun and we are super keen to return to future events. I really enjoy Filopino food but I feel I need to take someone who knows more about it than I do otherwise I’ll keep eating just adobo and rice.