Yesterday I had to opportunity to dine at Lolo and Lola for their 6th Filipino pop-up dinner. Seats to the pop-up dinners are usually all booked out weeks and even months before. But I was lucky enough to grab a seat because there was a cancellation, two days prior to the dinner.
So shall we begin?
Each pop-up dinner has a different theme, and the theme for the 6th popup dinner was streetfood. Streetfood is usually the best kind of food because they are usually available for everyone
The dinner begins with a Pan De Sal, a type of Filipino bread roll, which is served with a side of coconut jam. The coconut jam tastes exactly like Malaysian ‘kaya’ but without the flavour of pandan. While the other people would cut the bread roll in half, I just simply ripped off pieces of bread and dipped them into the coconut jam.
The first dish was Tokwa’t Baboy, which is a simple fried tofu, grilled pigs ear salad with a spiced soy-vinegar dressing. As the tofu is fried, the crispy exterior allows the tofu to soak up the spiced dressing. The pigs ear had a gelatinous texture and a hint of smokiness from the grilling. If you haven’t tried pigs ear before you might freak out a bit because of the texture. Sandwiched between the two gelatinous layers is a thin layer of crunchy cartilage. Many Asians love these textures including myself.
The next dish was highly anticipated between my foodie friends. This dish was Inihaw Na Manok, which is grilled chicken skewers marinated in a banana barbecue sauce served with a green papaya atchar salad. I really liked the chicken skewers because some of the burnt bits reminded me of char siu and even Japanese yakitori. The green papaya salad was nice and refreshing, it was pretty similar to ‘Som Tum’ the Thai version of green papaya salad.
When I saw pomelo salad on the menu, my mouth instantly salivated. I am a huge fan of pomelo, which is a type of citrus fruit similar to a grapefruit but much larger in size and the segments can be easily separated from the membrane. Kinilaw Na Baka, is a pomelo salad with rare beef slices in a calamansi vinaigrette. Calamansi is another type of citrus from from Asia, much like a kumquat. ‘Kinilaw’ is the Filipino version of a ceviche, so the beef is actually cooked in the acid from the calamansi vinaigrette. The beef ends up very tender when ‘cooked’ with this method.
As we were approaching the main dishes, we were served Samalamig, a creamy coconut drink with a medley of sweet oriental treats. I identified that there was rockmelon, sago, toddy palm fruit and nata de coco. Nata de coco are a opaque jelly like substance, which is made by fermenting coconut water. The drink was very refreshing, but Tales of a Confectionist found it very filling and after drinking it she felt quite full.
The first main dish was a rice noodle dish called Pancit Luglog. The noodle dish was served with a melange of seafood in a shrimp-annatto sauce topped with quail eggs and pork crackle. These noodles have a wonderful texture and I have never tried anything similar. They are slightly chewy in texture, the closest type of noodle I can compare it with was the dried rice noodle stick used for making pad thai.
The other main dish was Sinugbang Liempo, grilled pork belly and jicama salad with a shrimp paste dressing. We were advised by Kim to eat this dish with the steamed rice as there were lots of bold flavours. I got asked by both Tales of a Confectionist and The Food Avenue what jicama is and I simply described it as a nashi pear from the ground. This is because it is a root tuber and when eaten raw it is very sweet and crisp in flavour and texture much like a nashi pear.
After the two mains, it was dessert time and the first one was Pritong Saging. This deep fried cardava bananas with a jackfruit creme anglaise. The creme anglaise had a really strong jackfruit flavour, which I really liked. As jackfruit is quite sweet in flavour, it worked really well with the deep fried bananas as the bananas weren’t fully ripen. If they used fully ripened bananas, after the deep frying process, the bananas will turn into mush.
The final dessert was Zarzuela. This is a layered cake made from cashew sponge, chocolate ganache and buttercream served with a caramelised sago and mangoes. The mangoes were a great addition to the dessert because they helped counteract the sweetness of the chocolate ganache and buttercream.
The overall popup dinner costed $65 per person and I reckon it was definitely worth it. I was very full after eating all eight courses, and Kim was so happy as she has fulfilled her mission. Which was to share their Filipino culture with others through food.
There are also spots available for the Aprils popup dinner, so if you would like to experience Filipino culture through food you should contact them ASAP.
Lolo and Lola
Address: 3 Barrine Drive, Acton, ACT 2601
Lunch: Thursday t0 Sunday 11:30am – 5pm, Closed Monday – Wednesday
Dinner: Reservations for Filipino popup dinner only
Facebook: Lolo and Lola