So today we’re heading East – something I don’t do very often in London – to the E1 postcode close to Aldgate East tube station. And appropriately we’re going to be trying some Eastern food – Filipino to be precise – a first for me.
Yuu Kitchen predominantly serves the delightful food of South East Asia with a fusion of Japanese, Taiwanese and Vietnamese cuisine. And now they’ve added a special Filipino or Pinoy section. The Philippines is a melting pot of influences from the Pacific Rim, Malaysia, China, South America and even Spain – you’ll find a mix of cuisines from the many countries who have invaded or attempted to colonise the islands. And it’s a fascinating and fabulous mix.
What’s on the menu
The dishes are designed to be eaten tapas-style (my favourite way). We started with the pork chicharron, a pile of warm, crunchy pork scratchings served with chilli vinegar for dipping. The scratchings sizzle as you dip. I love a good pork scratching – a real guilty pleasure and even more, these are among the best I’ve had.
Beautifully crispy pork scratchings
And now for something completely different and a first for me (it’s certainly a day of firsts!) – cassava fries. Cassava is a tuberous root that’s officially the third-largest source of carbs in the tropics. It’s pretty dense and I’m imagining takes some cooking. Our chef explained the cassava is boiled for some time before being fried to produce these, light tasty delights with their soft inside and crisp outer layer. They were served with hot-smoked paprika and tangy adobo mayo. Adobo is a local vinegar-based sauce that also includes a combination of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic and soya sauce. It’s delicious.
Cassava chips are amazingly tasty
The presentation at Yuu Kitchen is also delightful with this clever, pretty plate of food bound to cause oohs of delight. The sisig lollipops contain a pork centre of seven-hour pineapple juice braised pig’s head covered in panko breadcrumbs and served with adobo mayo and chicharron – some of those delicious pork scratchings crumbled on the side. Dip the luscious lollipop into the mayo and then the chicharron to coat. So rich and tasty. Probably my favourite lollipop ever.
Sigsi lollipops look so cute and taste so good
Next up what I’m calling the Filipino version of burgers called cheese ube put (takes a few goes to get that past autocorrect intact). These mini treats are so delicious with their steamed buns, chorizo bilbao, caramelised onion, avocado and garlic aioli. Seems like this is a burger I could eat every day.
Exotically delicious little burgers
They’re so good I had to show you twice!
Up close on the mouthwatering burger
And there’s more
This meal was becoming quite a revelation with beautifully tasty, exotic dishes. I wasn’t so keen on trying the crispy pig’s ears, having sampled a version of them before and finding them tough and tasteless. Not today’s. These ears are slow-cooked for three hours and served with a honey soy glaze, sesame seeds, pickled radish and chives. The slow cooking has actually made them really tender and the honey soy glaze is the perfect flavour match. As a result, we agreed that this was actually our favourite dish of the day. Who’d have thought?
Delicious crisp and sticky pigs ears
The bistek is a little piece of steak in batter served on a crispy rice cake with lemon soy, and a trio of onion. Another pretty morsel rich in flavours. Also pretty exotic.
Delicious morsels of beef on rice cakes
The lechon kawali is a 12-hour braised pork belly, thinly sliced and with delightful slivers of crispy crackling, topped with savoury mama sita’s sauce (it’s a secret but you’ll love it). Certainly love a good pork belly.
Melt-in-the-mouth pork belly
Well that was the end of our Filipino delights. And time to sample a couple of dishes from the rest of the menu. The tuna kinilaw is luscious raw tuna served in a spicy marinade of coconut milk, cafa lime leaves, lime juice, chilli and red onion. Beautiful.
Refreshing and zesty tuna ceviche
After quite a meaty feast we asked our chef to recommend a vegetable dish for us to try. Grilled cauliflower served with sweetcorn, jalapeño dressing, shallots, garlic chips and chives. Certainly the best cauliflower ever, smokey and spicy.
Possibly the tastiest cauliflower dish ever
Yuu Kitchen is a beautifully stylish place to eat with great murals decorating the walls and an incredible lighting display with ornate bird cages.
Yuu Kitchen is decorated with dramatic murals
More stylish art
Love the stylish lighting
Today’s price point
And finally, the bottom line.
It cost £68.50 for all the dishes I’ve described here. Certainly a real feast for two.
White wine starts from £24.50 a bottle, red from £23.50.
Cocktails start from £8.50.
There’s also a selection of delicious fruit teas for £4.50.
Yuu Kitchen is at 29 Commercial Street, London E1. Aldgate East tube station is a five-minute walk away.