Hey hipster, thought you’d tasted it all? If you’ve never travelled to The Philippines, or ventured as far as Dee Why, chances are you’ve probably never eaten this!
After relocating their long-standing Northern Beaches restaurant to the big smoke, Ray and Raquel San Juan are set to introduce a new wave of diners to Filipino favourites, like Crispy Pata ($20), a mountain of crisp pork hock under a bed of crackling; its fatty passage eased by garlic vinegar dipping sauce.
Get ready for tart, bitter, savoury flavours that may weird your mouth out at first! Pinakbet ($16) – listed as “vegetables” – stews together bitter melon, pumpkin, eggplant and pork chunks, with bagoong (it tastes like shrimp bisque). It’s a compelling dish, with pumpkin providing the only sweet relief, just unfamiliar and definitely not for vegetarians.
Raquel explains: “Us Asians love pork, so we use a lot in our dishes.” There’s actually only one truly vegetarian dish on offer in this relaxed lounge-room style first floor restaurant, filled with Filipinos.
It’s the spot to BYO gin to mix with Calamansi Lime Juice ($4), and over a tall glass of Halo Halo ($8) – basically the Filipino answer to ice kacang – get travel tips on which of the seven thousand islands to visit.
Level 1, 19 Goulburn Street, Haymarket
Ph: (1300) 880 835