Flipping out for Filipino food – Pepe’s Kitchen

Mae of Pepe’s Kitchen kindly invited me and my friend Joice down to taste and experience her supper club full of Filipino dish’s.

Pepe’s Kitchen and Mae

Firstly let me tell you about Pepe’s Kitchen which Mae runs.

Mae comes from the Philippines and loves cooking and entertaining so she decided to run her own supper clubs at least once a month to bring Filipino food to London.   She wants to transport people’s mind to the Philippines through her food and dining experience.

She fell in love with cooking through her father who was a big influence in her life.  After his death in 2011 she decided to start her own catering company and called it Pepe’s Kitchen after her Dad.  She started out by creating Philippine inspired canapés, then after a few years she decided to launch her first Filipino supper club in the UK in 2013 in New Cross.  Since then, she has been holding regular supper clubs in her home in Marylebone, residencies in Soho and Portobello Road and pop ups in Paddington, Old Street, Shoreditch and Warren Street.

With all her food she is passionate about it as food is in her blood as it is with every Filipino.  The most important element to her food, is her memories from the way food is prepared how it looks and tastes in the Philippines.  The key for her is taking those memories and those authentic Filipino ingredients and techniques and bringing them to the UK with her home-cooked traditional Filipino Food. She loves to showcase as much of her diversity as she can. As she comes from Luzon and Visayas, she is keen to explore and share not only food from those regions, but also from the biggest Island group of Mindanao.

What is Filipino food?

Filipino food is a complex story full of diversity as with migration and colonisation from the Malays, to the Indians and Chinese traders, through 300 years of Spanish ruling coupled with Mexican and South American trading have all influenced what is now Filipino Food. With 7,000 islands and over 100 dialects, each community then created their own variations of dishes local to them.

Each region is different when it comes to Filipino food.  More spices and beef is used in Mindanao, more coconut and Lechon in the Visayas and there is so much diversity in Luzon, with 8 of the 16 national regions in this island group alone, Bicolanos love chilli, Ilocanos love the sour taste and Bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) and Kapangpangans love sweet cured meet such as Tocino (Pork) and Longganisa (Filipino chorizo).

What is a Supper club?

For those that have never attended a supper club before it is an intimate dining experience which brings people together and talking.  It also is a way to taste different food and learn about the different cultures across the globe.  All supper clubs are usually held in people’s homes and on the rare occasion at a venue like a hall.  Most supper clubs serve around 8-20 people depending on the size of their homes/venue.  So if you love discovering about new food, cultures and meeting new people then a supper club is a great alternative to going to a restaurant.

FiliFood Friday at Pepe’s Kitchen

Me and my friend Joice we both have never had Filipino food before so when we went along to Mae’s Pepe’s Kitchen supper club we was flipping excited about it.  Usually Mae holds her supper club in her own home however on 28 September when we attended she held it at An Viet House a housing, social, training and enterprise centre in London’s N1. The reason why it was held at An Viet House rather than her home was because this particular FiliFood Friday had a lot of interest so there was quite a number of hungry diners attending and so she needed more space to accommodate everyone.

I must admit I was a bit hesitant at first in attending Mae’s supper club as I thought I would not like Filipino food as when it comes to food I have got quite a plain taste as I am not one for spicy or sauced food.  However I was so wrong as her Filipino food really did flip my taste buds into a frenzy as it was flipping gorgeous.

Upon entering we were made very welcome.  Mae also came out of the kitchen to greet us.  We sat down at a long table and laying on the table were some beautiful bright pink orchids and the menu for the night.

Pepes Kitchen menu

I was happy to see most of the dish’s consisted of chicken.

Pepes Kitchen nibbles

Whilst nibbling on nibbles awaiting for the Filipino dish’s to be served I got talking to some fellow supper club members.  It really is such a great way in learning and discovering about other people’s interests and cultures as there was a range of people from all different parts of the globe at this supper club even a family of Filipino people.  So the conversation at the dinner table was fascinating.  We was sat next to some lovely ladies one of which worked in events and another who was starting out in fashion.  She even was wearing one of her own creations which was a beautiful black dress with a lovely silk white blouse underneath.  I think she will go very far in the fashion world.

Pepes Kitchen Joice and me

Introduction by Mae about Adobo

Before the dish’s started to roll out Mae introduced herself, told us about Filipino food and more on Adobo.

Pepes Kitchen Mae

We learnt that the name Adobo was given by the Spanish during their time in the Philippines. It resembles a cooking technique in Spain to preserve meat in herbs, salt and vinegar. When Spain ruled Philippines they saw the locals making a dish similar to their cooking and named it Adobo.

There are over 100 different versions of Adobo coming from different regions.  Traditionally Adobo did not contain soy sauce just consisted of mainly vinegar, salt, bay leafs, black pepper and garlic.

Before Mae went back to the kitchen I did stop her to ask if the food was going to be spicy.  She assured me that I should not worry as Filipino food is not very spicy.  She told me the food did have spices but does not contain much chilli so it is mild in spiciness but yet more sweet in taste.

Pepes Kitchen kitchen

Flipping from dish to dish 

Now it was time to eat.

Adobo Pate on Blinis

Pepes Kitchen canapes

Mae decided to make these canapés as these are the first type of canapés she made when she started out her catering company in 2011.

They did not just look great, but they were delicious.  Also I am told very easy to make and a perfect idea as a gift for Christmas.   So if you love the look, sound and idea of making this Adobo Pate as a gift idea then click here for the recipe.

Deep fried Adobo Chicken

Pepes Kitchen chicken

I usually am not a lover of chicken wings but wow I was highly surprised in how much I loved these wings. In fact they ended being my best dish of the night.

The skin on the outer edge was crispy and sweet and the chicken meat was succulent, very tasty and falling of the bone practically making it very easy to eat.  I just wish I had more and more in fact I would have been happy gorging on deep fried Adobo chicken wings all night.

Adobong Puti (white Adobo)

Pepes Kitchen chicken

This dish is a white version of the traditional Adobo. The reason why it is white is because it doesn’t contain soy sauce that turns an ordinary adobo into dark brown colour.

The meat was mostly of chicken breast which I love and all of the pieces of chicken meat was very moist making it a pleasure to eat.

Gulay Adobo (vegetables)

Pepes Kitchen vegetables

This dish consisted of large chunks of aubergines (eggplant) and beans.  The vegetables tasted incredible. The marinade of the Adobo gave the vegetables a sweet taste.

Adobong Pusit (squid Adobo)

Pepes Kitchen squid

This dish is a typical dish from the Philippines and contains fresh squid. I did not particularly like this dish as even though I love seafood I found the squid a bit too salty for my liking.  However the squid was cooked to perfection as I tried it and the squid was not rubbery at all.

Adobong Dilaw (yellow Adobo )

Pepes Kitchen pork

This was a pork dish served in yellow Adobo.  The reason the Adobo is yellow is because it contains lots of turmeric.  I really enjoyed the dish.

Beef Adobo

Pepes Kitchen beef

This is similar to a lamb shank as the beef was falling away from the bone and very tender.  Literally strands/strips of meat just fell off it.  So if you are a beef lover like me you’ll love this dish as the meat was very soft and extremely tasty.  However this dish is very rich so after a few bites I was getting quite full.

Adobo Sa Gata (chicken Adobo in coconut milk)

Pepes Kitchen chicken

We were served some drum sticks which was marinated in Adobo coconut milk.  Again the meat was tender and fell off the bone but what really made this dish was the delicious coconut milk it really did get me drifting my mind thinking about the Philipines and if I visited which of the many islands should I visit?  As I was now at this point in awe by all the food I had and have now fallen in love with Filipino food.

All the food throughout the night was served with fluffy tilde rice and steamed vegetables.

However before ending the night like any meal it would not be complete without a dessert so Mae made us one.

Maruya At Ube Sorbetes

Pepes Kitchen banana

This was a deep friend banana fritter served with homemade ice cream.  It reminded a bit like the banana fritters you get in Chinese restaurants however the banana was not your usual banana it was another form of banana and the ice cream was purple as made out of some type of vegetable.  However even though nice the dessert was not sweet enough for my liking but that is only because I love really sweet desserts.

It was now time to say “salamat Mae”, “hindi importanteng bagay” and “makita kang muli sa lalong madaling panahon”.

Pepes Kitchen me, Mae and Joice

Flipped over

After all the amazing food served by Mae on the night my mind has totally being flipped over as I now love Filipino food and will definitely be looking to eat more in the future.  I might even make some at home as Mae has a number of Filipino recipes listed on her blog page at http://www.foodwithmae.com.

Plus I will certainly look at booking on to one of Mae’s upcoming supper clubs, hopefully next time at her house as she is a very welcoming and amazing host.

So if you have ever wanted to try Filipino food then I highly recommend booking and attending one of Mae’s supper clubs to try out this delicious cuisine, cooked and served with love by a very passionate chef from the Philippines.  You can also learn more about her and the culture she came from taking your mind to another world with a wonderful guide, all whilst right here in London.

Upcoming supper clubs by Pepe’s Kitchen (now known as Food with Mae)

To check out and book any upcoming supper clubs with Pepe’s Kitchen by Mae click here.

Thank you to Mae of Pepe’s Kitchen for the complimentary invite. I was certainly flipped over by all the tasty food and will certainly be looking at more Filipino food in the future.  All views are my own honest opinion.

Click link below to read the other community members blogs/reviews of this and other supper club nights by Pepe’s Kitchen.  All their views are of their own honest opinions.

Translation Filipino to English:

Salamat Mae = Thank you

Hindi importanteng bagay = Bye
Makita kang muli sa lalong madaling panahon = See you again soon

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