This delicious, diverse cuisine is finally getting a foothold in Melbourne's CBD. From crispy suckling pig lechon to creamy halohalo desserts. Try Filipino food at these laneway restaurants, casual diners and cool dessert spots.
Another new laneway spot awaits at Inasal Express. Tucked away off the La Trobe Street entrance to Melbourne Central, the crew serves 'blow out' meat feasts and flame-grilled meal sets. Try epic pork knuckle, sizzling chicken maryland and crispy skin salmon. All served with a cute heart shaped portion of rice. Share giant platters of meat with a carnivorous mate, then peruse the dessert menu. Featuring halo halo crushed ice with pandan jelly, caramel banana bread flan (lechenana) and more.
What started as a spot serving occasional Filipino specials has turned into a cult-status cafe for Filo expats. Formally known as The Basement, Ceree has moved to new digs in Spring Street. The cafe is loved most of all for its hearty silog: a breakfast set of garlic rice and fried eggs, served with a side of juicy meat. Other local treats include sweet and sticky karioka rice balls and ube sponge cake. Follow Ceree on Instagram to see what's on the menu.
Find Barkada Pinoy on Sutherland Street for a foodie feast. The menu is stacked with barbecued delights. This includes smoky skewers, burger steaks, cult-status inasal (flame-grilled chicken) and hearty breakfast sets. Think rice, eggs, traditional veggie dishes and delicate grilled fish. Save room for dessert – 'ice scrambles' stacked with cream, seasonal fruit and buttery crumble are a must-try. Or bring your bestie to try the 'taho'. A delicious sweet tofu and sago syrup pudding, freshly scooped from a giant metal serving dish.
Start your Filipino food journey at Serai, a new laneway spot serving traditional dishes with a twist. Grab a seat at the chef’s omakase table to watch your meal cooked over the open fire in front of your eyes. Pair colourful cocktails with dishes like kingfish sinuglaw and pork belly with smoked pineapple palapa.
Chic new hole-in-the-wall spot Kariton Sorbetes is Melbourne's first Filipino sorbet bar. Located in Chinatown, the menu is displayed as a futuristic projection map on the ceiling. Pop in to try coconut and pandan gelato, layered between chiffon cake and coated with toasted rice flakes. If you're after something zesty, opt for the calamansi gin ice pop, dipped in makrut lime leaf–scented glaze. Other distinct flavours include purple yam, jackfruit and fish sauce salted caramel.
No frills, no fuss, all flavour. GJ's Grill on Franklin Street (near the Vic Market) is a great entryway into Filipino cuisine. Order up their fan-fave suckling pig (lechon) – a crispy, fatty, barbecue pork dish served on fragrant garlic rice. Other signature dishes include sweet and sour salmon belly and sisig. That's a medley of pork belly, chicken liver, chilli and calamansi. Wash it all down with ice cold juice and a mouthful of palate cleansing pickled papaya.
Last updated on Thu 11 Jan 2024
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