Last Updated on August 23, 2021
A three-course set meal dedicated to Filipino heroes
Romulo’s is an exquisite fine-dining Filipino restaurant in the heart of Kensington. For a Filipino immigrant like me, this place reminds me of the finer things that my original home can offer. As a developing country, the quotidian experience can be anything but fine. However, food is a common expression of nationalism, identity and camaraderie for overseas Filipinos. Therefore, it’s quite apt that Romulo’s is offering a National Heroes Day menu.
National Heroes Day is a public holiday in the Philippines that honours those who freed the country from 333 years of Spanish rule and who later secured independence from the United States. As it falls on August 30 this year, the special menu runs from August 15-30 priced at £30 per head inclusive of a glass of champagne or a glass of red/white wine, except for NHS Staff (Blue Shield cardholders) who get 20% off.
As my companion and I are non-drinkers, we ordered Imelda’s high heels (strawberry, lime and lemonade) and Boracay dreams (coconut, pineapple and calamansi). Both mocktails reminded me of the ones served in fancy beach resorts in the Philippines, just presented in more creative vessels with paper straws. The Boracay dreams also briefly evoked memories of Boracay, a popular tourist destination that I have frequented several times, but perhaps it’s due to my wanderlust after being grounded in London due to the pandemic.
To kick off the meal, we were given pandesal (Filipino bread rolls) with butter. It reminded me of my afternoon snacks when I was a kid. As the light fluffy texture of the bread melted away in my mouth, memories of me trying to imagine eating a fancy meal by taking pandesal and butter from the fridge as ‘bread and butter’ when I was a preteen came back.
In addition to the set menu, we tried the sizzling lemongrass chicken inasal sisig which came highly recommended by the staff. Chicken inasal is a grilled chicken dish with a distinct taste while sisig is a sort of finely chopped crispy meat salad served on a sizzling plate. Both are comfort food staples, so when they were mixed together in a single dish, the taste of ecstasy and surprised delight registered almost instantly. The light and fresh grilled taste of the chicken was quickly followed by the hearty and juicy tones of crispy pork skin, something familiar yet novel at the same time.
The set meal began with tinolang manok, chicken pieces cooked in a hearty ginger-infused broth served with superfood duo, chayote and moringa. This ultimate comfort food (Filipinos love comfort food) is dedicated to Melchora Aquino, the “Mother of the Philippine Revolution”, who was 84 years old when she risked her life to help the underground resistance movement. I enjoyed this ‘healthier’ version of the traditional broth as it was not greasy, and all the flavours came together naturally from fresh ingredients.
Dessert comes in the form of Bibingka, a rice cake cooked in coconut milk, cheese and salted egg topped with grated cheese and served with salted egg butter and brown sugar syrup. It is served in honour of Emilio Aguinaldo, revolutionary, statesman and military leader who is officially recognised as the first president of the Philippines. This dessert is usually a Christmas delicacy, so I felt like Christmas came early.
In the spirit of a Christmas feast, we also had an extremely delectable rich melt-in-your-mouth ube cheesecake alongside a fresh salabat tea and ube latte with coconut milk.
The courses in the National Heroes Menu were carefully curated to excite the palate while satiating the stomach. Generous portions, quality cuts and fresh ingredients upgrade the comfort of the Filipino food culture into a luxurious standard. At only £30 per person, I would consider this a steal.
Romulo Café & Restaurant’s National Heroes Menu will be available from 15th to 30th August, priced at £30 per head inclusive of a glass of champagne or a glass of red/white wine. (As with all of its menu, Romulo offers a 20% discount to all NHS staff (Blue Shield cardholders). Anyone who chooses the offering will be entered into a raffle and a chance to win some brilliant prizes.
Romulo Café & Restaurant
343 Kensington High Street
Tel: 020 3141 6390