Wow! What a fantastic run of Filipino feasts and the launch of our first ever Filipino Kamayan Supperclub in London. I can still feel the buzz! I know this write up is a little late but there are plenty of things to mention and photos to see!
4 months ago I approached Mark about an idea, then it became a plan and now the first Filipino Supper Club is only just beginning. This is a great achievement for me, Pepe’s Kitchen and Mark. Spreading the word about Philippine cuisine not only helps to promote Pepe’s Kitchen and Mark’s passion for food blogging, but also it opens doors to a whole new opportunity for the Filipino Community & Filipino restaurateurs in the UK. It will give the general public an idea who the Filipinos are, where they came from and their history through food.
Many asked why Mark and I are doing 3 consecutive supper clubs with just 10 people each time, I guess we wanted to start slow and get the actual feel of hosting a supper club without overwhelming ourselves with more than 10 people. And I’m glad we did it this way because I can see and I have heard how first timers went all out and felt that it was too much.
Why the supperclub? I thought it would be a great platform for people to taste the food and get to know about the dishes. This is something you don’t often get when you go to a restaurant. I designed the dishes based on 3 different themes, ‘street food’ for starters, ‘truly ours’ for the mains and ‘borrowed’ for desert. We also served Tanduay Rum (Filipino Rum) & Calamansi cocktail.
Filipinos love meriendas or ‘snacks’. They usually have 3 main meals and snacks in between. Street vendors are seen everywhere in the Philippines so snacks are readily available. For the launch I serve two street food dishes for starters.
Fish balls (deep fried in beer batter) and kwek kwek (boiled quails eggs deep fried in beer batter) they are served on wooden BBQ sticks and accompanied with achara or atsara (green papaya pickle). There are many varieties of achara, you can use green papaya, radish and a more common ingredients like tomatoes and cucumber. The starters are served with three homemade sauces, sweet chili sauce, sweet & sour and spiced vinegar.
What’s ‘truly ours’? Like many colonial countries Philippines went through a lot of changes throughout its history including its cuisine. Filipinos managed to keep some of its indigenous dishes and one of them is Kare-kare, this is why I chose this for the main. Oxtail cooked in peanut sauce and rice four to thicken the sauce. This is served with fermented shrimp and rice. Some variations are served with aubergine, long beans and banana shoots or even with mushrooms. Before the main meal we also served Pork Sinigang Tamarind soup. This is also truly our dish and this is one of my favorite soup!
What’s ‘Borrowed’? Filipinos are good borrowers and they have plenty of dishes borrowed from its neighboring countries and it’s colonizer. They take a recipe and make it their own. Spain influenced Philippines in so many ways; culture, food, language, religion and many, many more. For desert I served Brazo de Mercedes (meringue rolled and filled with custard) literally translated to ‘arms of Mercedes’ because of its log like shape.
Although Filipinos are still unsure about it’s origins, from the name alone it has Spanish influence written all over it but some would argue that its originally Filipino with a posh name. Its similarity to a Spanish rolled sponge cake called Brazo de Gitano or gypsy’s arm maybe a clue that it could be a Filipino take on the desert, like so many other dishes; made it our own. Let’s just say supposedly how the name Brazo de Mercedes came about, is a mystery at this point. I can only assume it’s a take off from the Spanish sponge cake but progressed and took a local route with the name of the first person that replicated the recipe. She could be a farmer’s wife who worked in the kitchen of some of the mansions occupied by Spanish government officials, or a Filipino cook stationed at a military post and replicated the recipe and named it after his wife. It could be a result of some disastrous experiment to copy the Spanish cake and turned out differently.
Philippine cuisine is fascinating; I was and still am intrigued on how the history influenced the country’s food and I’m not even gonna start with Mexican or Chinese influences!!
I’m so happy with how successful the supper club was and that the guests enjoyed the food. Mark and I met an eclectic bunch of people, from a musician to an interior designer, a chef to a pilot. I can’t express how thankful I am to everyone who came, helped and supported us. What’s next? We have lots of plans in the future, a pop up supper club in May is in talks at the moment, dates and menu will be up before I go to the Philippines for the Easter holidays. Watch this space!
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