Yeah I know I haven’t posted in forever. Sorry folks! I don’t know if I’m back or not, but I recently went to this great Filipino restaurant for Summerlicious called Lamesa, and a lot of my friends wanted to know about it. I figured that this was an easier way!
Location: 669 Queen St W
Price: $25/p (The PATA was extra)
Phone #: 647-346-2377
Hours of Operation: Tues-Sun (Dinner): 5pm-10pm, Sat-Sun (Brunch): 11am-3pm
I don’t think I’ve ever had Filipino food before, but I will tell you that right when I walked into this nice cozy restaurant with my dining companion, we were immediately greeted by the cheerful wait staff who quickly took us to our table. We had arrived a little bit early, but this was no trouble!
My friend decided on the Halo Halo Sisig, some Adobo Fried Chicken, and an Ovaltine Cheesecake (despite never having Ovaltine before. Am I the only one who finds the idea of someone never trying Ovaltine crazy?!). Meanwhile, I temporarily broke free of my meat-eating ways to order a Vegetarian Pancit, some Sarsi Sticky Ribs (I forgot to take a picture of this… true rust), and a Ginataan Sundae.
This is the sisig: essentially, garlicy rice, along with bits of chicken, pork, beef and onion topped off with a goeey fried egg. The crispy bits of meat coupled with the caramelized onion, layered with the creamy yolk of the egg then all mixed together with the garlicy rice instantly brought up picturesque visions of home cooking. This is amazing of course because even though I’ve never had Filipino food before, it still felt very familiar and very delicious.
Those of you who know me (pretty much anyone who reads this probably does) also knows that I happen to have an unfair prejudice towards vegetarian food. I’ve got to say though, a slight hit of acidity from citrus coupled with fresh, julliened peppers and black mushrooms were done very well. I didn’t even miss the meat! The crispy noodles interspersed with the regular noodles created a nice textural counterbalance that really got my appetite going.
When the person I was eating with saw this, her eyes went wide. I swear her eyes sparkled. It was as if we’d entered the next part of our journey, and we’d somehow ended up at some sort of amazing barbecue. Each piece of chicken had been delicately fried, and the nutty garlic purée on the bottom coupled with the adobo reduction on top of the meat accentuated the flavourful, juicy chicken to wonderful new levels. There was just enough crispy batter without the dish being too oily.
Now, I’m sorry that I forgot to take a picture of my sticky ribs. They were pretty good too, but the star of the show there was actually a coconut-milk infused coleslaw. What I found interesting about that dish was the way that the two different elements worked together to perfectly balance one another out. One bite of each would lead to a really nice flavour profile, but either by itself was too strong (at least for my palette). But anyway… we thought we needed more food, so I ended up ordering THIS:
My god. At least three pounds of delicious fried pork trotter. The outer layer had been coated with garlic and fried to perfection, and three sauces (the dark brown dollop is a soy-sauce based glaze, the orange is a spicy sort of mayo, and the lighter brown one is a sweet, turmeric ginger sauce) all went perfectly with this dish.
I want you to read what I’m about to write and just picture the feelings and sensations in your mouth. First, you bite into the crispy outer skin and you hear the crunch reverberating in your jowls, reaching outwards towards your eardrums. You’re then assaulted by a buttery saltiness that’s accompanied by a strong hit of garlic fragrance. This cacophony of sound, texture, flavour and fragrance swirls around your mouth, battering against your senses like some sort of relentless flavour tsunami that forces you to simply close your eyes in awe. The meaty interior is succulent, offering good contrast from the crispy butter of the outer skin layer. When I ate it, I couldn’t help but smile — sometimes when you eat something, it just produces instant satisfaction!
We couldn’t even come close to finishing this. We could have probably just ordered this and an appetizer and we’d have easily been full. Sometimes though, you’ve just gotta have 3 pounds of fried pig trotter. I had to take it home and make sandwiches and breakfast hash the next day (also good!)
Dessert doesn’t count as regular food so despite how pregnant with food our bellies were already, we still opted for MORE FOOD. Fortunately the portions were really small. I think the best part about this Ovaltine cheesecake was that it was creamy and sweet without being overpowering. It felt really whimsical and playful, kind of like it was a treat for a job well done or something.
Ube is a purple yam, and this is what was used to produce the purple ice cream that you see here matched with flavoured, emerald pearls, caramel corn, corn puffs, coconut, whipped cream and wafer. Once again, sweet without being overpowering, and this time all the different textures made this dessert feel intensely adventurous and pleasing. Just looking at it makes me happy (though not as happy as the PATA…)
Final Thoughts: All in all, I think my first experience with Filipino cuisine was highly positive. Next time I go back though, I’m going to bring more people so that we can actually finish the PATA… or order multiple ones…!