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Lolo and Lola Filipino Bakery and Eatery

Michelle Brotohusodo

Have you ever tried a food that you loved so much you thought about it for years afterwards?

This has happened to me twice: first, a cheeseburger from a food stand in Germany in 1993, and then again with a Filipino cake I first had in Sydney in about 2002. By the time I got back to the stand in Germany in 1996, they devastatingly no longer had the cheeseburgers.

As for the cake, I didn’t know what it was called, or where to find it, and despite describing it to friends, no one could help me out. And then I discovered Lolo and Lola Bakery and Eatery (previously known as Waterhouse Bakers).

I was at Westside Acton Park markets a few months ago when I first found their stall. I saw the pictures of the cakes and read the descriptions, and knew that the sans rival was it! But unfortunately they were sold out (of almost everything, not just the cake). So of course I ordered one for the next market I could make it to.

Lolololasigns

You cannot imagine my excitement when I got it. This was a cake I’d been trying to find for more than 10 years (my food-finding skills have greatly improved during that time). And when I tasted it, I was in foodie heaven.

Layers and layers of buttercream, roasted cashews, and chewy meringue. It’s even better than it sounds, and its name really suits—sans rival: without rival.

Lolololasansrival

Lolo and Lola was also nice enough to give me a teaser box of their other treats: an ube-langka cake (purple yam chiffon with jackfruit leche flan top), ensaymada (Filipino sweet bread topped with buttercream and cheese), and a pan de coco royale (soft roll filled with candied coconut).

Everything was amazing. I was glad I’d pre-ordered, as everything was sold out by 12.30pm.

Lololoaubelangka

Fast forward a few months, and Lolo and Lola is so popular it even has people driving down from Sydney just to buy their sweet treats, others sharing their ensaymadas with friends and relatives in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide, and some customers who put in orders (to eat by themselves!) every week. And, even more exciting, Lolo and Lola is expanding!

From late December, Lolo and Lola will be set up permanently in its very own shipping container at Westside Acton Park. And it won’t just be serving sweets (although I would be totally ok with that).

No, all kinds of delicious Filipino food will be on offer, with a blackboard menu that changes weekly, and honours ‘every Filipino’s lolos (grandfathers) and lolas (grandmothers)’. Not bad for a little business that was only born in July this year!

Lolololakimjay

I was curious as to how it all started, so I sat down with the owners and chefs/bakers, husband and wife Jay and Kim Prieto, to find out more.

“I made some ensaymadas for my daughter’s second birthday party,” Kim told me. “One of my friends tried one and asked me if I could make some for a party she was having. I said ok, how many do you want? She ordered five boxes!”

Baking from their kitchen at home, Kim and Jay started with home deliveries before setting up a stall at the Westside Sunday Markets in July. It wasn’t long before people took notice, and they were regularly selling out of everything well before closing time.

When you taste the results of their cooking and baking, it’s obvious why. The care and effort that goes into every item is evident, and everything is amazingly delicious. And they’re also super nice people who love their customers and whose customers love them back.

Lolololaubecake

To give you an example of how much work goes into some of their creations, the coconut filling in the pan de coco royale needs 8 hours of constant stirring, and the bread takes 8-12 hours to proof. One batch yields 27 rolls.

They’re also very creative with their ideas. For example, when I posted photos of the ube-langka cake on Facebook, my Filipino friends all commented that they’d never seen that combination before.

The same went for the contents of Lolo and Lola’s Christmas boxes: yam, red velvet, and hazelnut chocolate ensaymadas (AH-MAZING, by the way, I highly recommend ordering one of these! $30 for a box of nine).

Lolololaensaymada

Jay said that’s what they’re aiming to do with their food at Lolo and Lola, offer well-known dishes but with their own take on it, which will hopefully please those familiar with traditional Filipino food and also those looking for something exciting and new.

“Our first menu will have a summer theme, which means a lot of grilled food, and of course adobo and ensaymada,” he said. He also explained to me that adobo, a meat dish unofficially known as the national dish of the Philippines, is actually a cooking method, and there are more than 136 documented recipes for it. “Because there are so many different versions, I’ll get to have fun being creative with different adobos.”

Both Kim and Jay are qualified chefs and bakers (they met while studying cooking in the Philippines), and are excited about their new venture. “One of our goals is to make Filipino food popular and more familiar to those who might not have tried it before,” they said. “We’re passionate about it and want to share that passion with others.”

As for the name Lolo and Lola, Kim explained that it’s comforting and brings them back to a carefree time learning to cook in their grandparents’ kitchens, their first training grounds. “We want to honour the lolos and lolas who are the keepers of our exquisite and delicious traditions.”

I think it’s safe to say that Kim and Jay are doing their grandparents proud, and I can’t wait to taste and learn more about Filipino food from their new digs at Westside Acton Park.

the essentials

The place: Lolo and Lola Filipino Bakery and Eatery
Where: Westside Acton Park, 3 Barrine Drive, Acton
When: 10am-4pm, Wednesday-Sunday.
Food: Filipino, both traditional and with a twist
Contact: Call 0412 929 780 or visit their Facebook page

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Michelle Brotohusodo

Michelle moved to Canberra vowing to stay for two years, tops. 10 years later, she’s a bona fide Canberra convert. When she’s not working in her day job as a public servant, she’s enjoying Canberra’s culinary delights or finding fun things to do/see in and around town. More about the Author

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