Eat this: Kinilaw & Buko

Filipino food has failed to find a footing in the UK so far, but this new restaurant, which is offering its version of ceviche and ice cream, could help ignite interest in the cuisine.

4 October 2018
asianfree-fromice creammenurestaurantsseafoodvegan
  • The Gist: An attempt to break down the taste barriers between Britain and the Philippines
  • The Chef: Francis Puyat
  • Location: 104 Hoxton Street, London N1 6SG
  • Food in 5 words: Ceviche and ice cream, Filipino style
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How did we get here?

Filipino head chef Francis Puyat is the culinary brains behind the Asian sharing plate restaurant 100 Hoxton and masterminded the food at last year’s pop up Say Hallou-mi to Cyprus, which introduced the world to halloumi ice cream.

He has teamed up with old pal Andrew Zilouf, 100 Hoxton founder, and together they have taken the site next door on Hoxton Street, a former tailor’s shop. Doors are set to open in the third week of October.

Filipino food has been touted as the next big thing for years, but there’s been more evidence of that coming true in the USA than in the UK.

But now might be just the time. Filipino chain Jollibee is opening its first British branch in London – the food from this fast-food joint received praise from the late great Anthony Bourdain.

What’s different about it?

There are two unique concepts driving the new restaurant.

The first is called Kinilaw and is a Filipino take on ceviche that uses palm vinegar and kalamansi juice to ‘cook’ the raw fish – in more technical terms, they break down enzymes and denature the protein.

The second concept is Buko, a fusion, artisan ice cream concept served in a baby coconut shell. The ice cream is low in carbs and saturated fats, vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free.

Kinilaw bars have been a huge hit across the pond. Now, with the addition of Buko, it’s the perfect marriage.

The ice cream is pretty out there too. Gelupo experimented with red bean earlier this year, but Kinilaw & Buko will include a red bean butterscotch bomb made up of red bean ice cream, miso butterscotch sauce and ginger Anzac biscuit. There’s also a flavour called Pop Star made up of lychee ice cream and sumac popping candy.

The menu has some descriptive dishes too, like the Mustasa Cradled Duck Egg, where diners dip into a salted duck egg with heirloom tomato, mustard leaf and grated cured yolk. Then there’s the Baboy Bounty: pork belly, diced cucumber, chilli and chicharro (horse mackerel).

You’ve got to try…

The Bagoong Fisherman’s Treat, a dish of a daikon-fermented shrimp, green peppercorns and fried garlic.

And hold your breath for the Diver Hauls Kapis Treasure, which are hand-dived scallops that come with cucumber, radish, lime and fermented roe.

Sparkie also likes…

The ice cream called Pig Out. It’s a crazy combination of lechon (roasted suckling pig) and condensed milk ice cream, sea salt and black pepper caramel popcorn. 

Go if…

You’re prepared to be surprised – and quite possibly discomfited – by crazy flavour combos.

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