Kinilaw & Buko
Edgy deep black interiors are a strong echo of Kinilaw & Buko’s cool Hoxton environs. But study the menu; this is not yet another hipster joint, nor is it a same-old South East Asian diner. Kinilaw & Buko is a glorious hybrid by way of the Philippines. Andrew Zilouf and chef Francis Puyat, the duo behind 100 Hoxton, have brought innovative Filipino small plates and bold ice cream combos to east London.
Kinilaw is a Filipino take on ceviche, and the lion’s share of the menu is dedicated to it. Highlights include succulent fermented roe with a hand-dived scallop and sea bream smothered in mango, jalapeño and coconut vinegar. Not everything arrives cold – it wouldn’t be a true ode to the Philippines without a steaming bowl of rice. Puyat’s own blend of rice seasoning, aka Kanin-Asawa, puts a novel spin on the grain.
The newest addition to Kinilaw & Buko’s menu is a comforting crop of meaty hot bites, of which the smoked mackerel stuffing is too good to resist. Elsewhere, fried oxtail croquettes bathe in a lip-smacking satay sauce.
Save room for a scoop (or two) of Filipino-style coconut ice cream, where buko – ‘young coconut’ – enters the equation. Served in coconut shell crockery, this is not the time or the place for a trusty vanilla. Staples include the Pandamania – a cashew, coconut and praline medley – and Cowbanga Chocolate Pudding, a chocolate and maraschino cherry mash-up. But the chefs like to play, and occasionally specials pop up, such as burnt coconut ice cream sprinkled with grass-green matcha Rice Krispies. Wash everything down with easy sippers: Amontillado Sherry-de-Vin, a pink pepper vodka-infused SGT Pepper or Soju Bubble Tea laced with Disaranno Amaretto.