London’s ever evolving food scene is beginning to truly embrace Filipino cuisine – and for good reason. Think of dishes that combine sweet, sour and salty flavours with Chinese, Spanish, American, and Indian influences.
Its dishes show the rich history of the Philippines through the mingling of these different influences and has created distinctly Filipino flavours that are taking over London. Without further ado, here’s our very best picks to get you acquainted with Filipino food.
1. Mama’s Kubo
Mamas’ Kubo knows how to bring the warmth that is at the core of Filipino culture. Based in Finchley Road, Mama’s Kubo feels cosy and familiar. The menu serves super authentic dishes inspired by the food that mothers and grandmothers lovingly cook for their families. Expect dishes such as Beef Kare Kare which is stewed beef brisket in a peanut sauce, Chicken Adobo (the Filipino staple), and every variation of pancit noodles there could be.
A dish to look out for is the Longanisa which is the Chef’s take on the Filipino sweet sausage that only makes a special appearance ‘subject to Chef’s mood and time’. It’s rare but a real treat when you see it on the menu. At Mama’s Kubo, the food simply hugs you.
You’ll find Mama’s Kubo at Unit 5/6, Palace Court, 250 Finchley Road, NW3 6DN. Find more information here.
Perhaps you’ve already seen their wonderfully purple-coloured ice cream treats around London, but Mamasons is a Filipino dessert parlour that is fast gaining popularity. They serve traditional ice cream flavours such as Ube, a sweet purple yam; Black Buko, a coconut flavour that is a curiously charcoal colour; Milo, a chocolate malt; and even a cheese flavour called Queso.
Mamasons’ delicious scoops are best served in a ‘Bilog’ which sandwiches the ice cream between bread and is exactly how street vendors sell them on the streets of Manila.
Also on the menu is Halo Halo, the quintessential Filipino dessert and literally means ‘mix mix’. Essentially, the dish layers shaved ice, nata de coco, coconut strings, flan, ube, red beans, jackfruit, sweet plantains, condensed milk, and many more for the ultimate dessert experience. The varying components create a concoction of different flavours, swirling colours and contrasting textures that send you on a dessert adventure. Make sure to ‘halo halo’ well before tucking in.
You’ll find Mamasons at 91 Kentish Town Road, NW1 8NY, 32 Newport Court, Chinatown, WC2H 7PQ, and Westfield London Kiosk 1018B, Ariel Way, W12 7GF. Find more information here.
Filipino fusion specialist Rapsa has two London outposts; 100 Hoxton and Play Archway. Both equally yummy, however the Hoxton location may be more of a shout as its menu is more extensive with an offering of brunch and lunch alongside their dinner a la carte menu.
Rapsa understands the spirit of fun in the Filipino culture and shows it well with multiple events going on in the week. Every weekend there’s a cheeky option of making your brunch bottomless where you have 100 minutes to guzzle down as many Aperols, Calypso Spritzes, prosecco or slushies as you can.
Rapsa’s other weekly events are half-price oysters on Oyster Tuesdays, Wine Down Wednesdays where Rapsa’s in-house sommelier-in-training introduces a selection of her favourite wines, and Happy Hour on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-7pm.
You’ll find Rapsa at 100-102 Hoxton Street, N1 6SG and 141 Junction Road, N19 5PX. Find out more here.
Inspired by heritage and family, Romulo’s serves Filipino cuisine with elegant flair. Signature recipes passed down in the Romulo family include ‘Tito Greg’s Beef, Oxtail, and Bone Marrow Kare Kare’ and the ‘Romulo Style’ Chicken Adobo. The five course tasting menu takes you on a delicious adventure of the some of the standout dishes on the menu and is available to have with wine pairings.
The restaurant is proudly decorated with images of the owner’s grandfather General Carlos P. Romulos who was President of the United Nations General Assembly. The General would share stories of meeting dignitaries like the Kennedys and the Pope over a feast of the very dishes on Romulo’s menu.
Romulos is what you may call the ‘fanciest’ option on this list, but make no mistake, they still bring the authenticity and warmth that every true Filipino dining experience has.
You’ll find Romulo’s at 343 Kensington High Street, W8 6NW. Find more information here.
Perhaps the most iconic of our picks is Jollibee, Philippines’ beloved red bee serving fast food to the masses. This is a true staples in Filipino food and culture, so having two branches open in London in Earl’s Court and Leicester Square is a pretty huge deal.
Bestsellers include the Chickenjoy which is the crispy fried chicken eaten best after a dip in the gravy, and the Jolly Spaghetti which has Filipino-style sweet sauce. Other items include the Chickenjoy burger, the Yumburger, and the Peach Mango Pie which is a crispy parcel of peachy mangoey goodness. Jollibee is a must-try if you’re getting into Filipino food.
You’ll find Jollibee at 180 Earls Court Road, SW5 9QG and 22 Leicester Square, WC2H 7LE. Find more information here.
Panadera translates to female baker in Tagalog which is the official language of the Philippines. This neighbourhood Filipino bakery in Kentish Town serves fresh bread, pastries and sandos inspired by the mothers of its founders.
Traditional bread such as the staple bread roll Pandesal can be bought separately or in a loaf, Spanish bread and pan de coco are also available. As well as selling authentic Filipino baked goods, Panadera have also created new innovative offerings seen particularly through their very popular sandos. Their Japanese-inspired sandos are made to order but still have distinct Filipino flavours such as their corned beef hash sando. Be sure to get there early as these sandos do tend to sell out!
You’ll find Panadera at 83 Kentish Town Road, NW1 8NY. Find more information here.
Based in Battersea, Kapihan is a Filipino cafe and bakery that brews specialty coffee from the Philippines and serves enticing modern Filipino bakes. Kapihan is yet another family-run business that takes inspiration from their Filipino heritage and grandparents.
They have a passion for serving delicious single-origin coffee grown in the Philippines and specialise in baking bibingkas. These baked goods are a native baked coconut rice cakes. Kapihan offers the classic original version but have also put their own modern twist on it, serving sweet and seasonal flavours such as chocolate churro, black forest, ube and blueberry, and adobo and mushroom.
Kapihan had to close their doors in 2021 – but thankfully their local community in Battersea can enjoy their treats once more after they reopened in January 2023.
You’ll find Kapihan at 547 Battersea Park Road, SW11 3BL. Find more information here.
8. Lutong Pinoy
To really get that home-style Filipino feel Lutong Pinoy is the place to eat. Their a la carte menu is extensive and has all the well-loved classic dishes but their Kamayan offering is where all the fun is at. Kamayan is Lutong Pinoy’s ultimate dining feast where there’s no cutlery or plates involved, it’s just you, the food and your hands. Mounds of rice create a bed for fried pork belly, butter prawns, BBQ chicken, sweet cured pork, calamari, and fresh vegetables all placed on top of banana leaves covering the table.
Kamayan is a one-of-a-kind dining experience that is authentic, fun and will be sure to get you of your dining comfort zone. It’s informal and intimate but also best done with a group, so round of up your friends, roll up your sleeves and get eating.
You’ll find Lutong Pinoy at 10 Kenway Road, SW5 0RR. Find more information here.
9. Kasa and Kin
Kasa and Kin is your one-stop shop for everything Filipino food. Conveniently located in the heart of Soho, Kasa and Kin is a Filipino restaurant, bar and bakery. You’ll be spoilt for choice with their extensive menu that has all the classics including some street food favourites. d the chance to build your own ‘Imbento Box’ which is their playful take on a Japanese bento box with Filipino dishes. To build your box, you have choices of starters, toppings (including BBQ pork belly and lemongrass chicken inasal), base, and sauce.
The cocktail menu cleverly incorporates staple Filipino flavours and ingredients along with Filipino spirits to give a tropical twist on all the classic tipples. No matter what, Kasa and Kin will have something for you.
You’ll find Kasa and Kin at 52-53 Poland St, W1F 7NQ. Find more information here.
10. Spoon and Rice
Filipino cuisine is also making its mark in the London street food scene with Spoon and Rice. With outposts in Wembley, Camden, Croydon and Willesden, Spoon and Rice is the go-to spot for quick and on-the-go Filipino food.
Their main dishes are built as most Filipino meals are; rice, meat and veggies. The meat component is always the star of the show, with juicy grilled chicken thighs on offer, along with grilled pork belly and the classic adobo. House-made spicy garlic sauce is the cherry on top of the cake and we advise that a good dousing of this liquid gold is just what you need.
You’ll find Spoon and Rice at various locations. Find more information here.