Lolo and Lola November pop up dinner series

It was pointed out that Lolo and Lola have only done four pop up dinners since their humble beginnings and it dawned on me that I had been to three of them. I would stop hogging but it is so good; I am not willing to give up my seat!You really need to get yourselves to one of these events if you’re lucky and fast enough, December is already sold out and the next one is in February (now that is sold out also!) . Each month has a different theme and November’s dinner focused on one of the main islands of the Philippines- Luzon.Lolo and Lola November pop up dinner ($65.00pp).

It was hard to choose a favourite from the menu (apparently not so hard for some, TimmyC loved the crepes), everything was so different but at the same time everything was so delicious.
This is more of a food porn post as I have not seen any of the dishes repeated in subsequent dinners.
Tinapay ensaymada bun served with liver spread.Check out how fluffy that bun is and how beautifully whipped that butter turned out.
Lumpiang sariwa savoury crepe of sauteed vegetables served with soy-caramel peanut sauce.
Kinilaw Filipino ceviche: melange of seafood in spiced calamansi dressing.
Half time drinks: the taste reminded me of banana lollies.
Habhab “Lucban” noodle dish with chicken, vegetables and spiced vinegar. We were encouraged to eat this with our fingers, needless to say it got messy really fast.
Bicol Express tender pork belly and butterflied prawn in chilli-coconut sauce.
Caldereta grilled beef sirloin and vegetables served with rich “caldereta” sauce.
Ice scramble streetside ice blended treat topped with powdered milk and chocolate sauce.
Sapin-sapin purple yam frozen parfait, jackfruit leche flan, pandan sponge, toasted coconut and coconut “latik” caramel sauce.
Jay and Kim have always been wonderful hosts and they take great pride in their cooking. It has been so amazing to be exposed to the delicious flavours from their origins.
Good luck trying to get into their next dinner. I might see you there.
😉

 

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

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:

The Fish Can re-post

* I just saw a more recent photo of their menu board and prices went up a little but all individual baos are still under $5.00

I’m re-writing this post with a bit more detail after I rushed to blog the original post within the hour that The Fish Can finally opened their doors.
The Fish Can has only been opened for two weeks but have had many positive reviews from people in Canberra who have been craving a good bao at a decent price. The first thing you need to know is the menu so here it is:I love how there are a combination of things including sweet and savoury and everything is under 5 bucks! They had another menu on the other side which is more of a ‘fish and chip’ side but today I’m concentrating on the more important issue: BAOS! But here it is just in case you were curious.  *photo from a friend who doesn’t want to be named.

The thing you need to know before you start to wonder why I only tried three baos is that this is what I saw when I got to Westside that day (see photo below). My heart sank and I headed to Miss Van’s to drown my sorrows in a bowl of pho (and I also may or may not have had a banh mi). While I was slurping away, I looked up from my bowl and noticed that The Fish Can had just opened their doors (so to speak) and I almost immediately dropped my chop sticks. So this was my second lunch and yes I am now a Hobbit.
Porkster braised free-range Murray Valley gilt belly, served with crushed Szechuan peanuts, house relish and cilantro (left $4.10). I was a bit disappointed at the size of the filling to bun ratio but I’m hoping that it was because it one of the first few baos served and they improve with some feed back. The pork itself was tender but it needs some sort of sauce so it isn’t just some dry ingredients in a bun. I would love to see a sliced pork belly with kewpie mayo and some lettuce (like Ippudo).

Not so Crab tempura soft-shell crab, lemon, cabbage slaw, Szechuan aioli and crushed peanuts (right $4.60). More filling, more exciting and more colourful. This was definitely my preference out of the two, the crab was crispy and so was the slaw, there was a nice aioli in there and there was flavour in every bite.
A close up of the ‘porkster’: delicious layers of fat and meat but I didn’t like the pickle so I picked it off. The thick short cut means that you don’t get some meat with every bite and there isn’t much else in the bun, it needs a little extra something…Lots of contrasting crunchy textures with the soft bao.Mars bao handmade bao with Mars bar core ($2.90). I didn’t expect a closed bao but if you think about it, a melted chocolate bar had to stay contained somehow. It might not look appetising but it definitely hit the sweet spot. You could taste the caramel, chocolate and nougat despite it being all melted, I just wish the bao itself had a tad bit more sweetness to it. My first preference was the sweet bao fries but they weren’t available that day, they will definitely be popular with the Asian crowd having been served with condensed milk.My friend tried the Chican bao all natural fried chicken breast, Szechuan aioli, crushed peanuts and cilantro ($4.10). He really really enjoyed it and went back a few days after and ordered more. The chicken looked really moist and the fillings were more generous, I wish I ordered this one too. Next time! Look at that juicy chicken patty. *drool*The savoury baos themselves were soft but could have been served a little warmer than they were, but then again it could have been a ‘we just opened and sorting out the kinks’ situation. In any case I am still super keen to head back, eventually try one of everything and get my hands on some sweet bao fries! The people serving inside were super friendly and the wait wasn’t long at all.

Are you ready to get your bao on?

Venue: The Fish Can (Next to The One)

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

Opening hours: **updated apparently they are not opened Thursday any more?**

Friday – Saturday 11:30am- 9:00pm

Sunday 11:30am – 4:00pm
The Fish Can Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Westside Acton Park

Even though I went to Westside Acton Park for two things specifically (see Miss Van’s and La Crepe blog posts here), I was surprised to see so many other eateries there.

There’s O’So smoothie, Damn Fine Roasters (Canberra’s first drive thru coffee shop, you just honk your horn and someone will be with you shortly), The One (I look forward to their chicken wings!), Miss Van’s, La Crepe (which might be closed for a few weeks) and Habibz (authentic Middle Eastern BBQ). Also up the top of the shipping containers is Aviary, Canberra’s first rooftop bar, I haven’t been up there yet because the one time I tried they were closed for health and safety reasons.

If you haven’t checked out Westside Acton Park yet they have a Pop Up Market this Saturday!

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La crepe – Westside

Of course while we were waiting for our food from Miss Van’s, my friend’s and I couldn’t help but be enticed by the delicious smells coming from La Crêpe the next shipping container over. There’s nothing much more to really write than they smell amazing, Nutella was made to be on crepes and they even do ‘take aways’ so there is no excuse not to get one… Or two.

Here is their menu, crepes range from $5.00 – $9.00. Which one would you have picked?The guy noticed me taking photos and struck a pose. My friend was talking to him and he was super friendly and had helpful advise for when we head to Paris.It takes skill to get a crepe that thin. My friend made her husband wait as she went to get a second one to take away. How cute is the packaging! It looked much easier to eat than on the plate.A photo of my crepe before it got quickly devoured.Friendly service and it didn’t take that long for us to get our crepes even though we were impatiently drooling.

Venue: La Crepe

Address: Westside Acton Park, Barrine Drive, Acton 2601

Opening hours: hopefully similar times to Miss Van’s?

***This place is now closed *** 😦

Miss Van’s Street Food – Westside

We weren’t exactly starving but I was still keen on dragging my friends to Westside Acton Park and trying out Miss Van’s Street food which I had been waiting for weeks to open. I had been stalking their menu in anticipation of their opening and found it was a small but had precise flavours of Vietnam. I was hoping since that the menu is so refined that all the dishes that they prepare would be good.

Have you been to Westside Acton park yet?What would you choose from their menu?Beef Noodle Soup | Pho Our pho stock is cooked for a minimum of 24 hours following a closely guarded family recipe! We use only fresh noodles. All pho bowls are served with lime, thai basil, beanshoots, coriander and shallot, add your own sriracha, Miss Van’s chilli and garlic oil, fresh chilli and hoi sin. 

Rare beef noodle soup (pho tai) rare sliced marinated flank steak ($11.00). I had a spoonful of my friend’s soup and the broth was not oily or sweet but full off flavour with a slight chilli kick. I thought it was unusual that the beef wasn’t the thinly sliced stuff you get from an Asian grocer but rather more hand cut with additional beef chunks, despite the thicker cuts the beef was really tender. I probably would have ordered this if I didn’t have a big breakfast out and going straight to an afternoon tea, it would have also been a little harder to eat a noodle soup on low hipster seats.Check out the generous portions of beef!Vietnamese sandwich | Banh Mi our sandwich rolls are made on a signature Viet/French baguette, all banh mi served with whole egg ago, lightly pickled carrot, radish, coriander, soy sauce and chilli sauce. 

Chicken roll (banh mi ga) shredded chicken, confit shallot, house made pate ($7.00). I really liked the bread roll that they used, it had a crunchy exterior with a nice soft interior. Mmmm… My friend gave me all his coriander (yum!) so my view on this banh mi is a little biased. I’m not one for pate but I had it the way it was intended and it was really nice as it gave it an extra kick of salty goodness. When  I was ordering, they asked me if I wanted their homemade chilli that they said was hot, I asked for a little and it gave it a nice extra level of flavour. There was a tiny bit of gristle on the chicken but it didn’t ruin the bun as a whole.My friends ordered the pork roll.Soya bean milk homemade, infused with pandan leaf, lightly sweetened with palm sugar ($5.00). A subtle sweet drink with a hint of pandan after taste.Specials mini pork spring rolls ($5.00). Nice and hot crunchy spring rolls that are easy to share, too bad the specials menu are constantly being changed. 

I enjoyed the food that we shared from Miss Van’s, although the seating is a little harder to eat noodle soup. The food didn’t take that long to come and there are plenty of condiments for those who like their food nice and spicy.

Venue: Miss Van’s Street Food

Address: Westside Acton Park, Barrine Drive, Acton 2601

Opening times during Winter:

Wednesday – Saturday 12pm – late
Sunday 10am – 6pm

 

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