Ready to expand your international dining credentials again? If you’re following Matt and Cat’s advice you’ll have recently enjoyed some Sri Lankan cuisine in Ryde, Asian flavours at the Smoking Lobster Cowes, and now you can add Filipino food from Newport to your Island eating-out repertoire.
Kusina Restobar is the latest incarnation in the much-enjoyed and lamented Smokehouse Burger site in Holyrood Street. Our starters included a Lumpiang cebuano, which was like a big spring roll, but better. Stuffed with plenty of moist minced pork and mixed vegetables, the smartly-presented rolls were hot and substantial. Instead of the promised chilli sauce there was an unfamiliar sweet red concoction that we discovered was in fact a traditional Filipino delicacy – banana ketchup. Yes, this place is proudly Filipino, even with explanatory text about the Philippines on the wall.
The menu named the mushroom starter as “Kabute mo teh!” complete with exclamation point. Waggishly this turned out to mean “You’re a mushroom!” The light cheesy dip with mushroom chunks was served hot, with slices of warm toast, and although we didn’t become mushrooms after eating it; Matt is already a ‘fun guy’! Cat’s a ‘guy’ too, according to most waiting staff, but that’s a whole other article.
Matt was very pleased with his beef bistek, for him the best dish of the night. Big hunks of braising beef were stewed until tender in a powerful peppery sauce. Plenty of meat, and busting with flavour, yet without overpowering everything. Like all the main courses, this came with a half-coconut filled with sticky white rice; perfect for soaking up that delicious sauce.
The other main dish was a sizzling pork sisig, a great-looking plateful of diced pork fried with garlic, onion, chilli and peppers. This was less spicy and richer than the zingy bistek, and looked enticingly like something that you’d find in a streetfood wrap. A squirt of mayonnaise and an actual fried egg were the unexpected toppers to this hearty plateful.
For dessert we both had Filipino crème caramel with vanilla ice cream served with cute little wooden spoons. Ice cream was replaced by a light whipped cream, all dusted with drinking chocolate powder. Whether this was authentic Filipino food or not we had no idea, but it was the ideal light finish to the meal.
Lumpiang cebuano £4.50
Kabute mo teh! £4.00
Pork sisig £10.00
2 x Crème caramel £8.00
Then the most amazing part, the bill. For two to eat three courses each, we paid less than £40 – an amazing deal these days. What’s more, there was no skimping at Kusina, with big platefuls of food neither of us went home hungry.
Kusina is a new place to eat that is an excellent addition to Newport’s dining-out offer. The enthusiasm and pride in the Filipino heritage of the venue is very visible. We enjoyed dining there, and for this bargain price, we’d recommend you go along and do the same.
- 07769 953040