Writer Amanda David takes feasting to the next level with Romulo Café & Restaurant’s Filipino Fiesta 5-course Meal Kit.
Now, I’m a girl who can eat; I am a perfect storm of natural ability (otherwise known as gluttony), opportunity and years of dedicated practice. I, therefore, feel qualified to warn you that if you are planning to feed two people with Romulo Café & Restaurant’s Filipino Fiesta 5-course Meal Kit, as it states, then prepare to set aside an entire afternoon or evening for some seriously leisurely feasting. The portions are generous, protein-packed and full of flavour, so it’s not one to be rushed.
The food of the Philippines is one of the less familiar Asian cuisines and I was excited to try such a wide selection. The kit contains a diced chicken starter, three different mains – salmon in tamarind broth, crispy pork hock and vegetable wraps – with sides of garlic rice, pandesal (homemade bread rolls) and bok choy, plus a gloriously-coloured Ube purple yam cheesecake with coconut for dessert.
Each group of ingredients is numbered and colour-coded, alongside an instruction sheet with before and after photos, plus some useful tips from the chef – but there is also encouragement to have fun, get individual and creative with your plating, choose your presentation and garnishing techniques and make it your own. Happily, none of it is at all complicated; take for example the Chicken Inasal Sisig – a flavour bomb of juicy diced chicken thighs marinated in garlic, ginger, annatto (ground achiote seeds, which give a sweet, almost nutmeg-type flavour and a vibrant yellow colour similar to saffron) and lemongrass.
To serve, simply reheat the prepared chicken in a frying pan, add the pack of herbs and spices, then serve topped with chopped green chillies and a generous drizzle of the addictive Sisig sauce, then garnish with crispy chicken skin.
The Crispy Pork Hock was another winner; thirty minutes in the oven, drizzled with shrimp sauce and served with garlic rice, bok choy and a citrussy Kalamansi and soy dipping sauce. The meat just fell apart, soft, rich and sweet, perfect with the rice and vegetable sides. The only thing you need to do is sit back and soak up the admiring comments.
Having assembled, served, eaten and thoroughly enjoyed every one of the eight separate components of the Fiesta kit, my overriding impression was of how much obvious care and thoughtfulness has been put into the customer experience. There is a clear understanding that finishing restaurant dishes at home may feel intimidating to a home cook with an ordinary kitchen and everything possible has been done to make it not only a successful but an enjoyable experience.
Even though the closest I got to actually having to cook anything was pouring hot broth over fresh salmon or crisping pork hock in the oven, I still somehow felt a real sense of pride and accomplishment in serving them – and they were absolutely delicious.
Thank you, Romulo Café & Restaurant; whilst I can definitely see a place for finish-at-home kits post Covid, I can’t wait to head to Kensington and visit in person. I have a feeling it’s going to feel like eating with family.
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Chatting Food Contributor: Amanda David
Freelance food writer, copywriter and blogger, Amanda David is dedicated to sharing news about London’s restaurants, bars, exhibitions and general wonderfulness. It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.
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