Thursday, August 30, 2012

Josephine's Filipino Restaurant, London

If you're looking for Filipino cuisine in central London, there is no better place to go but Josephine's Restaurant on Charlotte St.

With it's central location, just north of Soho, Charlotte St is a well known street in Fitzrovia, London with half of the street occupied by restaurants, cafes, bars and some night clubs.

Having this in mind, Josephine's has an interesting contrast of an unassuming facade compared to the other restaurants nearby with more modern touches. You can easily tell by Josephine's entrance and interior that the place has been here for quite some time. But knowing how long it existed and still managing to survive the times are good indications that it had withstood fluctuating economic situation which has badly affected a number of businesses in London in the recent times.

My favourite table is the one just by the window. It's the best table with good lighting during the day and cozy enough at night to enjoy your meal and a chance to indulge in people watching if you are whiling the time away.

For meat lovers, you will enjoy their lechon kawali, a Filipino version of crackling pork belly. It comes with gravy on the side and best had with rice. Though I am a little bit disappointed on their basmati rice as I would have preferred a Filipino restaurant to serve jasmine rice, the taste of the dish makes up for my rice fixation :-) And yes, the lechon kawali is easily my favourite at Josephine's!

I've also tried sinigang (traditional Filipino soup characterised by its sour taste), mixed vegetable dish, lumpia (spring rolls), and adobo among others which were all good. However, I know of some Filipinos in London who expressed disappointment with Josephine's adobo and I must admit to some extent that I too had reservations when I had it once. I seem to have not recognised the familiar taste of the traditional adobo, rather thought it tasted of braised pork in thick brown sauce. 

Adobo is the most common, if not the most famous Filipino dish of chicken or pork (or both) cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, pepper corn, bay leafs and lots of garlic. And depending on your region, adobo gets cooked in different ways. I cook mine with coconut milk which neutralises the tangy taste of soy sauce and vinegar. That said, Josephine's has their own style of cooking adobo and who am I to say how adobo should be :-)

The choice of desserts is a variety of traditional Filipino sweet treats like leche flan - Filipino version of creme caramel or caramel custard, maja blanca - a coconut flavoured pudding, and home-made ice cream. The avocado flavour home-made ice cream is my favourite! Having it was just like being back home in the sunny Philippines, eating the familiar local ice cream flavours in the streets! 

Do you have a favourite at Josephine's?


Josephine's is located at 4 Charlotte St, London.