Lasang Pinoy (The Filipino Cuisine)

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Josephine with the cup she won for having the best food stall at the 2012 Filipino Fiesta at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

Lasang Pinoy (The Filipino Cuisine), 12 Victoria Square, St Albans. Phone: 9364 1174

Whatever hiccups have attended Consider The Sauce’s exploration of Filipino food in the past, we can now happily put them behind us.

And it’s all thanks to a wonderful lady by the name of Josephine, who runs Lasang Pinoy in St Albans.

As much as anything, I think previous encounters went awry through not just sometimes dodgy or unsuitable food but also through a lack of engagement.

Now, I’m not sat saying such engagement was not possible or available in those other times and places.

But I am saying we failed to find it.

And it’s something Josephine supplies heaps of.

She senses right away our interest in her food and her eatery, making sure we are OK with everything and later explaining the dishes we had ordered.

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Her restaurant, situated in a court of mixed businesses about a block or so from Alfrieda St, bears still decor reminders of its previous incarnation as a Bosnian place, though Josephine has tempered it all with some colourful Filipino-themed artwork and posters.

For some weeks I’d become increasingly impressed with the pride and humour with which the restaurant had been touting its goodies on its Facebook page, so I am hopeful.

I’d stuck my nose in a couple of times previously, but this time around – with Bennie and good pal/neighbour Rob for company – Team CTS is determined to eat.

And so we do.

We’re delighted to share the dining spaces with a couple of tables of the Filipino family nature and revel right away in Josephine’s hospitality.

After getting a rundown on the contents of the bain marie – and studiously avoiding the more challenging (pork liver) dishes – we settle in for a tasty feast.

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Pork BBQ skewers – look black and burnt; are not.

Made with meat marinated in brown sugar, soy, vinegar, salt and pepper, they unsurprisingly taste unlike any pork skewers we’ve previously eaten.

They’re tangy and yummy. They’re also the only part of our spread that Bennie likes, the rest of it being a little too odd for him. He’s excused and granted permission to grab another skewer, pretty much leaving the rest of the meal to Rob and I.

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Beef kare kare, made with beef, canned banana blossom that looks like artichoke, eggplant and green beans, is my favourite.

The meat is quite tough but delicious, the broth and vegetables fine. Except for the disappointing eggplant, which seems woefully undercooked by my reckoning.

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Pork adobo is a simple dish packed with flavour from soy, vinegar and garlic.

I love the dark, sweetish broth, and the tender meat, too, after easily removing the fat.

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Fried tilapia, from Thailand we are told, is fish plain and simple.

Rob and I both like it a lot, making short work of the flesh, which comes away from the bony frame quite easily.

All our meal choices go well with a small side dish of pickles that are both sweet and sour.

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There’s quite an array of Filipino desserts on hand, but we restrict ourselves to sampling a single cheese roll. This appears to be another variation on the universal theme of fried dough. It has quite a strange flavour and is not as decadent as it appears.

After talking some more with Josephine, she lets us have a taste of her wonderful iced melon juice before turning Rob and Bennie on to a sugarcane brew of some kind.

I happily sit that one out.

Summarising our meal, Rob nails it – some of it has been unusual for mouths used to the other national flavours of South-East Asia, and maybe we could’ve ordered smarter; but we’ve had a plenty fine enough time of it to be interested in a return visit.

Especially considering the welcome and service.

And in terms of Consider The Sauce and Filipino food, that constitutes a breakthrough.

Even if the food does its level best to defy my photograph attempts to show it in a good light. It tastes better than it looks – honest!

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After showing Rob some of our favourite westie haunts, we stop off at Sweet Grass Bonsai Nursery & Cafe in Footscray West for relaxing, chilled-out mocktails – Black Widow for Bennie (he just can’t go past Coke and ice-cream) and tangy Sun Up and Bora Bora for Rob and myself.

What a grand day we’ve had!

Lasang Pinoy on Urbanspoon

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4 thoughts on “Lasang Pinoy (The Filipino Cuisine)

  1. Thank you for sharing. I was in Melbourne a few years ago. Sorry I missed this. I’m glad that you enjoyed the food…looks like you picked some good Filipino basics. ;)

  2. Duuuuude! You in a Greatful Dead T-shirt! Carol never considered most of you in the Melbourne Dead aficionados as “real” Deadheads because you weren’t as cultishly devoted to the band as she and her tragic friends were. That was also a strike against me. Even though I liked the band, Jerry and friends were not my reason for existing. Plus, after 10 years of having her play them constantly, and copping strife when I’d want to put my favourite Aussie punk bands such as the Hoodoo Gurus on the car CD player, I got SO sick of the Dead.

    Anyway, I’m back in Melbourne. I did a shift at the psych rehab ward at Sunshine Hospital today, and I’ll probably be working more in that area. Once my stuff gets here (it’s in port, but not cleared through Customs) I reckon I’m going to put my bicycle on whatever train I take to distant hospitals, and go rideabout in search of interesting restos before or after my 8 hours on duty. Your blog will be hella-helpful with that when I’m out west.

    I’ve been free-lancing through an on-call nursing agency and the Royal Melbourne’s mental health bank, going everywhere from Dandenong to Box Hill to Sunshine. I won’t mention any figures about how ridiculously good the money is, because I can hardly believe it myself, and I don’t want to seem like I’m tall poppying. I hope your vocational circumstances have improved. Bennie is turning into a fine young man compared to the awkward kiddo I remember from circa 2008. Must be all the good food!

  3. We’re sad to hear that there are few Filipino restaurants to be found in Melbourne. But we’re ecstatic that you’re loving Filipino food! Maybe it’s time to grab the opportunity to bask in more Filipino food, especially in Filipino Barbie.

    “Ihaw,” as Filipinos call it, is an integral part not only of their childhood, but of their lifetime. The term is the Filipino translation for barbecue, a culinary gift to all of mankind. Filipino Barbie has now landed on the vast lands of Australia, and I urge Australian locals to dive in to this scene, for which Filipino food is known and loved for. For the first time, Filipino Barbie is officially a part of the prestigious Melbourne Food and Wine Festival this 2014. Discover this Filipino culinary flair at the William Angliss Restaurant on March 7 and 9, 2014 at 7pm. For more information, visit http://facebook.com/filipinobbq. Be part of the Filipino Barbie phenomenon happening in Melbourne!

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