I decided to make a special trip to Portobello Road today to check out the new Filipino cafe - Lakwatsa. Upon entering, I immediately warmed up to the place, it has a clean and chic interior where swings and cargo boxes topped with cushions serve as seats and tables are low wooden ones with natural finish. Very clever touches! The neutral colours of the wood and the walls were accentuated by a burst of pinks and purples which gave the place a relaxed atmosphere. One wall has a rough brick finish which gave a rustic contrast to the modern touches.
I found a table next to the window and chose to sit on the swing. It was unusual sitting on a swing inside a cafe and being gently swayed every time I moved, but I got the hang of it after a few minutes of sitting down. I managed to command my butt to keep still and focused on what is to happen next.
A friendly waiting staff approached me and offered to introduce the menu. I asked for their warm milk bubble tea best seller which he told me was the taro flavour. I quickly added that I don't like my drink too sweet. He agreed saying, "taro bubble tea reduced sugar". The same waiter mixed my drink from behind the bar. It's great to know that the waiting staff are hands-on to their own products.
Whilst waiting for my bubble tea, I took the chance to look at their food menu, which was short, straight forward but very interesting! Their menu is a mixture of pan-Asian and mostly Filipino favourites with merienda (snack) sizes. I was feeling hungry but I reckoned that a portion of their adobo rice balls at £3.00 and a portion of pan de sal at £2 should be filling. I was going through the list and thought that the prices are very reasonable for snack portions. Looking at the menu got my appetite going and as if on cue, my bubble tea arrived! One sip of the lavender coloured warm taro bubble tea hit the spot! I absolutely loved it! It was the right amount of sweetness and the taro flavour was yummy! Can I also just say that I'm not so much of a sweet drink drinker, I drink my coffee black, with no sugar, same goes with my teas, no sugar please, but this bubble tea did it for me.
Ten minutes or so later, my merienda arrived. I sampled an adobo rice ball first which to my great delight I managed to gobble up in one go without the rice bursting all over my mouth. It was adobo indeed wrapped in a dumpling of rice! The creator of this is a genius! I proceeded to taste the home-made pan de sal. Wow, the warm temperature of the pan de sal brought me back to the days when I would be woken up to the sound of a street vendor shouting "HOT PAN DE SAL!" I chose ube spread to go with it. And my verdict of the pan de sal? It was divine!
Half-way through bites of adobo rice and pan de sal, I was convinced that I have been sold to the products of this cafe.
I'm very impressed with the overall concept and admire the entrepreneur's take on Filipino cuisine and bringing it together to create Lakwatsa.
To conclude my visit, I received my first stamp on my first loyalty card and pinned my card on their infamous loyalty card wall.
Hanggang sa uulitin! Until next time!
7 Blenheim Crescent
London W11 2
The cafe/lounge is off Portobello Road. Nearest tubes: Nottinghill Gate/ Ladbroke Grove