Did you know, that there is a place in London, where you can enjoy real Filipino food – and drink cocktails from Imelda Marcos high heeled shoes? Well maybe not exactly her shoes, but owning more than a thousand pairs, I’m sure she wouldn’t have noticed if a few went missing!) The place, I am referring to is the award-winning Filipino restaurant Romulo Café – and you will find it in the very heart of Kensington!

There are only a few Filipino restaurants in London – which is interesting thinking about the large community of Filipinos here! Unbeknownst to many, Filipino food embodies a melange of global flavours – and surprisingly, you will discover that this cuisine is actually a lovely combination of four culinary traditions – Spanish, American, Malay and Chinese!

I must admit, that I had never heard of Romulo Café before, so when Frenchie and I were given the opportunity to come in for a tasting, we didn’t hesitate. The restaurant is the first foray from a small group with branches over in the Philippines. It takes its name from the grandfather of one of the owners Rowena Romulo, General Carlos P Romulo – a former diplomat, statesman, soldier, journalist, publisher, author and sometime president of the UN General Assembly (quite impressive CV, if you ask me!)

The General’s Bar

Romulo Café offers four dining areas: the General’s Bar, the Ambassador’s Lounge, the Diplomat’s Dining Room – and a space for private dining or parties in the library. The source of inspiration behind the design of Romulo Café was General Carlos P. Romulo himself! What would his home have looked like, if he had lived exactly here? With this in mind, the elegant Georgian town house was designed – and the outcome is what you see here – an appealing space that bridges Filipino culture with the locality.

The Ambassador’s Lounge with so many incredible photos from General Romulo’s life

For Romulo’s contributions to world peace he was given the highest civilian award of the United States  “The Presidential Medal of Freedom” by former President Ronald Reagan

This is the Diplomat’s Dining Room, where I was curiously studying the menu card!

Next to me is the painting of Rowena Romulo’s elegant grandmother Doña Virginia Llamas Romulo. When she passed away in 1968, she left behind reams of recipes, many of which had been passed down to her by her own mother and other relatives. I was so excited about trying out the food created by these recipes!

I can only agree with the very lovely and warm-hearted Trini! The home-made lemonade was sooo good! (We actually ended up drinking two whole bottles! Even Frenchie, who was allowed to drink alcohol, loved the lemonade so much, that he only had one glass of white wine!

The lemonade is called “Calamansi juice” – mixture of native limes, honey, mint leaves and sparkling water! I can not recommend this drink highly enough! You have to try it, when you are here!

For someone who doesn’t know much about Filipino food, it was hard to choose! Luckily the staff here are very good at helping you out! We decided to go for the The General’s Combo Platter – so we could taste a little bit of everything!

 – And it was so delicious! When Trini asked which one was my favourite, I really couldn’t give her a straight answer, as I loved it all! Pork barbecue, fried chicken, tinapa roll, crispy squid, banana ketchup and queso de bola dip with pandesal crostini!


Romulo Café is famous for its freshly baked pandesal (Filipino bread rolls)! Rowena told me, that many people drop by just to bring home freshly baked bread! I might become one of those people too!

Tuna Kilawin: Fresh fish ceviche marinated in cane vinegar with red onions, cucumbers, peppers and radish. This dish is amazing! We both agreed that this was a winner – but be warned. It is a bit spicy!

Time for mains! Again we decided to share everything, so we went for two combo plates (Twin treats)

Twice cooked meat (chicken and pork belly) marinated in vinegar, soy sauce an garlic with glazed shallots and sweet potato mash 

Ginataang sigarillas with tinapa: Winged beans cooked in coconut milk and topped with smoked fish

– And last but not least crispy beef short-ribs tadyang: Slowed cooked beef ribs topped with a honey chili glaze served with jicama coleslaw and Lola Virginia’s chicken relleno: Roasted chicken stuffed with ground pork, raisins, chorizo and peas

The menus were beautifully served and the food was delicious! Please notice that these are big size portions, and we ordered too much! (But the staff had warned us, so we knew, what we were going into) Luckily Frenchie had a huge appetite –  it has been a long time since, I have seen him this happy! He LOVED every bite! I was mostly in love with the honey-glazed short-ribs and the chicken relleno! My opinion? I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of the dishes here (only how much you order!) Bonus-info: If you are a vegetarian, this is the place for you! Even though many of the dishes are served with meat, there are still plenty meat-free options to choose from!

Time for cocktails! I had the famous Imelda’s High Heels (in a non-alcoholic version), and Frenchie enjoyed an Old Fashioned Papa

It was quite fun (and a little bit difficult) drinking from a shoe!

Even though were we completely full, we simply had to share the very traditional Filipino dessert: Suman Latik: Rice cake with coconut mouse and dark coconut sauce served with coconut ice cream!  It was heavenly. Trini showed us how to create the perfect bite, by taking a little bit of everything on a spoon  – and eat it! Divine! 

What a way to end a beautiful evening! A purple version of Café Latte! I was a happy camper!

Ever-smiling Trini and Rowena 

Frenchie and I would like to thank the Romulo Café team for a lovely evening with amazing food. No wonder that this place has won Time Out London’s “Most Loved Restaurant in Kensington” award. We will be back – and if you haven’t been here yet, you simply must stop by next time you are around!

X Louise