For those of you who don't know what "lakwatsa" means, it's Filipino for taking a spontaneous trip or going on a walkabout, and damn am I glad we decided to take a walkabout around Notting hill!
Located on Blenheim Crescent, stemming midway from the lovely Portobello Road, Lakwatsa is a cutely decorated Filipino lounge where you can have some delicious snacks, or merienda as we pinoys would call it. From the classic Filipino Adobo dish in riceball form(!!), to spring rolls, to the scrummy sweet, yet savoury pan de sal, to spicy crispy squid rings! Being a sucker for squid (slight pun may be intended), I definitely HAD to get the spicy fried squid, alongside lumpia shanghai and chicken siopao, and of course the super refreshing bubble teas!
I admit at first I raised a brow at the sound of a Filipino food based eatery, simply because it's normal for us Filipinos to be able to cook our food at home so it didn't seem like I was going to experience anything new... but of course the usual scepticism was put aside and I dug in!
The spring rolls (lumpia shanghai) were made with pork; they were golden, crispy and extremely tasty! The size was bigger than how I would usually make them myself, but it worked well since it seemed there was quite a bit of egg in them to hold the roll, as well as all the flavours, together. They serve you 4 of these pleasingly chubby rolls at the price of £4, which, not gonna lie, made my purse yelp a little.
Apologies the other 3 rolls didn't make it into the pic... oops!
The lumpia was pretty much close to perfect if not perfect, and same goes for the crispy squid!
Salty, peppery, and full of spicy chilli flavour, this merienda isn't for the Lemon and Herb Nandos regulars. I mean, they were real squid rings... REAL! Not those stupid processed ones they sell in the frozen section of Tesco, but real squid in all its chewy glory! One reason I love calamari so much is the combination of texture between the silky, yet chewy squid rings and the crispy bite to the batter... oh man. Nostalgia is kickin' in. The spicy fried squid did not disappoint.
Lastly, the siopao. Now I'm not actually the biggest fan of siopao; it's one of those foods I'll have a random, very rare craving for at the worst times ever, but I wouldn't choose it if there was a plate of stuffed peppers, for example, next to it. The same goes for the siopao at Lakwatsa, however it has to be one of the best siopao doughs I have ever tasted! it was fluffy, fragrant and the chicken filling was full of flavour. Personally, I would have liked more hard boiled egg pieces in mine, but overall the quality was crazy good.
Now onto the bubble teas... It's almost like a rule for asians to get bubble tea when in London, and the teas in Lakwatsa are well worth a try! Being the mango addict I am, I had to get the tantalisingly attractive fruit tea special named 'sunrise'; it contained the juices of mangos and kumquats and aloe vera pieces. The fruit tea definitely quenched my thirst and completely satisfied my incredibly sweet teeth. Considering the quantity you get, the drink wasn't sickeningly sweet, not maybe until you get to the several aloe vera pearls at the end, those rejected by the straw. If you're a tropical fruit lover like I am, you would absolutely adore this refreshing tea!
My mum ordered the lychee flavoured Jasmine tea drink and, although I only had a few sips, this was also very refreshing. Jasmine tea in itself is beautiful in its fragrant, soothing appeal, but the lychee adds that sensational sweetness to it! My sister had the mango milk tea which, in all its mango goodness, was quite nice too.
Let's face it, tapioca balls make drinking these teas fun! They are what creates the "wow" factor in bubble tea... I mean, they are the "bubble" to the "tea". Why wouldn't you want to chew while you slurp? Multitasking has just evolved - bubble tea style.
So the next time you're in London, anywhere near Notting hill, or even after you take a nice stroll down the Portobello market on those great Friday afternoons, have a rest on the swing sofas in Lakwatsa and chow down on the bitesize versions of the authentic Filipino cuisine!