1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. We are unable to accept any new sign-ups from .ru email addresses. Please sign up with an alternative email address - available from Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Hi, If you are looking at signing up to the BF forum please be aware that we are sadly refusing signups from anyone using a UK mobile network. You can use a UK mobile network after your initial signup. This is due to an increase in forum spam. Thanks Admin
    Dismiss Notice

Filipino cafe in Notting Hill brings 'merienda' to London

Discussion in 'Filipino/Asian Restaurant Reviews' started by Micawber, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Micawber

    Micawber Renowned Lifetime Member

    A newspaper in London has dubbed Filipino merienda as "the next big thing," thanks to a new cafe lounge owned by a British-Filipina in a trendy part of the city.

    In a fashionable corner of West London, a food revolution has begun. Lakwatsa is a Filipino-inspired cafe in Notting Hill. Bitish newspaper Evening Standard is already calling it the next big thing in London.

    “I feel like Filipino food, cuisine, is not on the map as I feel it should be, compared to other Southeast Asian, Far Eastern dishes and cuisines like Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese, that kind of thing,” said Claire Buyson, founder of the cafe lounge.

    “So I really feel that, you know, this could be the beginning of introducing Filipino food to a wider audience, she said.

    Launched in November 2012, the cafe offers Filipino food served all day as merienda -- bite-size portions of old-time favourites with a modern twist.

    Customers can enjoy freshly-made pan de sal, lumpiang shanghai, leche flan, and even halo-halo. Or why not try adobo rice balls, Lakwatsa's version of a classic Filipino dish.

    “I think merienda could be the next big thing,” Buyson said. “We have the tapas, we have the dim sum, we have the mezze, and people are always like, ‘Let's grab tapas.’ I think they could really start saying, you know, using the word ‘merienda’ as they speak and say, ‘Let's go grab a merienda.’”

    Londoners have already started to flock, from young British-Filipinos to friendly locals and trendy professionals.

    “It's relaxing,” said Philip Alexander, a British customer of Lakwatsa. “It gives me a chance to get a break from my work. Come here, chill out, and have a bit of tea.”

    Filipino customer Alejandro Cabrera said the cafe lounge “really shows our culture to different people, especially because where it's situated, it's in Portobello Market. You don't just get Filipinos here, you have other backgrounds here.”

    From its name and menu to its stylish interior design, Lakwatsa oozes all things good from the Philippines, with photographs of cultural sites and Filipino magazines imported from Manila.

    For Buyson, whose parents hail from Pampanga, Philippine heritage is an inspiration and a unique selling point.

    “I wanted to really bring in some Filipino aspects to the lounge. Obviously being Filipino myself, and growing up in London, I felt like there wasn't many Filipino places,” she said.

    “But what's great is that you get the non-Filipinos loving it too. It's funny because we get people coming in asking ‘What's halo-halo?’ in their British accent and so we explain it to them, they try it and they love it,” she said.

    The new cafe also comes with today's modern comforts, from a free internet service to the latest concept of an iPad jukebox.

    “They need a space that incorporates a lot of the little details that we have here like the free WiFi, the power sockets by every seat, the music, the relaxing environment, like we have the swing seat which is very unique and different. And to have all that, also to have good quality food and drinks,” Buyson said.

    Lakwatsa serves merienda in London everyday, and now more than ever, Filipino food and culture may soon have its time in the spotlight.


    Address:7 Blenheim Crescent
    London W11 2EE
    Nearest Tube: Ladbroke Grove
    Opening Hours: 11am - 11pm
    Website: www.lakwatsa.co.uk
  2. Micawber

    Micawber Renowned Lifetime Member

    I'm very fond of 'bite-sized' foods.
    Gives you a great chance to sample so many different tastes and textures.

    I'll try and sample their foods next chance I get.
  3. Dave_E

    Dave_E Well-Known Member Trusted Member

    If it succeeds, it cannot be real Philippine food,
    nor can it be Philippine managed.
  4. Micawber

    Micawber Renowned Lifetime Member

    On what basis?
  5. Dave_E

    Dave_E Well-Known Member Trusted Member


    The Philippine people have very little of the culinery skills, tastes, or consistency that is widespread in many other Asian countries.

    A hotel might serve a decent American breakfast one day, the next day the breakfast is rank.

    Only last Sunday I was served slices of raw potato instead of homefries at a German restaurant in the Philippines.

  6. blue_acid

    blue_acid Member Trusted Member

    We've been to this place by chance while strolling Portobello Market on a busy Saturday. It has a cool ambiance and lots of different people were hanging out there.

    We had the halo halo and a couple of milk tea drinks which turned out great. We wanted to try the pandesal but can't fathom to pay 3 quid for that :D

Share This Page