Lamesa Filipino Kitchen

Thursday, October 01, 2015

photo from Lamesa website

Modern Filipino cuisine is a rarity in Toronto but thanks to Lamesa Filipino Kitchen you can experience the bold flavours in Filipino inspired dishes served up by the new head chef Daniel Cancino. Daniel was born in Hong Kong but raised in the Philippines so he is very familiar with home cooked Filipino food. Daniel began working in the food industry at the age of 15 and after completing the culinary program at George Brown college he worked at many notable restaurants in Toronto such as Hudson Kitchen, Kanto, The Thompson Hotel, and Union.  He is now the head chef at Lamesa where his culinary upbringing and Toronto learned cooking techniques have given him the inspiration to produce a unique spin on classic Filipino dishes.

With the addition of head chef Daniel also comes a brand new fall/winter menu at Lamesa that features visually stunning dishes with sweet and sour flavours.  The menu includes a number of items that I had never tried before so I was extremely excited to preview the menu.

When I arrived at at Lamesa, I automatically felt a very cozy and intimate atmosphere.  The lights were dimmed, the space was long but narrow and some chill hip hop jams were playing. There was also art pieces throughout the restaurant which I later found out were from a number of Filipino artists in the community. After getting seated and being welcomed by the owner and chef Daniel, I was ready to indulge in quite an eclectic menu.

Here’s what I tried:

Boracay Breezy Cocktail – dark rum, coconut rum, banana liqueur, house made peach liqueur and macerated strawberry syrup

Tuna Kinilaw - albacore tuna, coconut calamansi vinaigrette, fresh chiles, coconut guacamole, shrimp chips

Beet Maalat Salad - salted egg, white anchovy, beets, Thai basil, watercress, wild rice

Corned Beef Lumpia - House corned brisket, house banana ketchup, house cheese, house kimchi, cabbage mostarda

Ensaladang Talong - roasted eggplant, eggplant caponata, creme fraiche, salted egg, puffed wild rice, sweet soy

Cauliflower Ginataan - Roasted and grilled cauliflower, green cauliflower puree, coconut cauliflower foam

Pork and Octopus Dinuguan - octopus, pork cheek, onion, apple, maple puto, pig blood

Beef Bulalo - beef short rib, bone marrow, cabbage, potato, salsa verde, beef and ginger broth

Ube Leche Flan - spanish style custard made with sweet purple yam, puffed wild rice, apple tapioca

The highlights for me were the Tuna Kinilaw, Corned Beef Lumpia, Beef Bulalo and Ube Leche Flan.  The tuna tasted extremely fresh and paired perfectly with the coconut guac and shrimp chips.  The corned beef lumpia's were like a spring roll on the outside but filled with corned beef goodness inside and served with homemade banana ketchup and kimchi. The bulalo broth was so tasty and aromatic and the beef literally fell right off of the bone. The ube leche flan was unreal and I don’t think I have ever tasted something quite like it.  Not only did it look lovely, but it tasted amazing.  Very light with a creamy texture and the perfect amount of sweetness.  Loved the addition of puffed wild rice and apple tapioca which made for all sorts of fun textures in my mouth. 

My least favourite was the Pork Octopus Dinuguan.  This dish was just weird to me.  Octopus paired with pork and pigs blood is just not appetizing and it wasn’t visually appealing either.  There was so much strong sour flavour as well, the whole thing unfortunately threw me off.

Overall I really enjoyed my experience at Lamesa and would come back here for drinks and starters.  The main dishes were good, but I really enjoyed the smaller plates.  It’s great to have a culinary hub for all things Filipino in Toronto so be sure to check out this spot if you want to experience a modern twist on your favourite Filipino dishes!

Twitter: @lamesaTO
Instagram: lamesato
FB: LamesaFilipinoKitchen

Lamesa Filipino Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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