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Ube Halaya Cake feature

First look: Lolo and Lola Filipino Eatery

Michelle Brotohusodo

The wait is almost over. That’s right—Lolo and Lola is almost ready to open in its new digs in Watson!

For those of you unfamiliar with Lolo and Lola, it began as a Filipino bakery stall at Westside Village in July 2015 before expanding to savoury food and a shipping container (still in Westside) in January 2016.

It didn’t take long for its owners and chefs, Kim and Jay Prieto, to develop a loyal customer base in Canberra and beyond, with people driving down from Sydney and others sharing their baked goods with friends and relatives in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide. Lolo and Lola’s monthly pop-up dinners also became hugely popular, sometimes booking out two months in advance.

Jay and Kim launching Lolo and Lola in 2015

Jay and Kim launching Lolo and Lola in 2015

But with the closure of Westside Village in April this year, Lolo and Lola had to find a new home. After considering various options, Kim and Jay chose the Watson shops, where Cherryripe Brasserie used to be. If you’ve been around the area lately, you’ll know exactly where it is because of the awesome mural by Paw-Paw, featuring a lolo and lola (Filipino grandfather and grandmother) and the purplest of cakes, ube.

Mural by Paw-Paw

Mural by Paw-Paw

The new location means there will be some changes to how Lolo and Lola operates, but these will all be positive (apart from it no longer being walking distance from my work). A bigger kitchen means the ability to offer a more extensive menu, the enclosed space means indoor seating (very important for Canberra winter), and it will now be open for dinner as well as lunch.

Lolo and Lola Bec Doyle Photography_1

Image: Rebecca Doyle Photography

Kim and Jay will also be joined by long-time friend and new Executive Pastry Chef Cristina Uy (they all met at culinary school in the Philippines and worked together in Western Australia).

If you never made it to a pop-up dinner (they were pretty amazing), you’ll be pleased to know that you can experience it through Lolo and Lola’s new menu.

Manga, Singkamas At Manok: Mango-Jicama salad in shrimp paste dressing with grilled chicken maryland from one of Lolo and Lola's pop-up dinners.

Manga, Singkamas At Manok: Mango-Jicama salad in shrimp paste dressing with grilled chicken maryland from one of Lolo and Lola’s pop-up dinners.

“We’ll have a fixed menu of eight to 10 shareable dishes. These will change monthly,” Jay and Kim explained. “We’ll also have 3-4 daily specials, which we’ll offer in two sizes: single serve and a larger one for sharing.”

They’ll also offer two to three desserts every day, ranging from classic Filipino desserts to traditional with a twist (I’m particularly looking forward to trying Cristina’s cheesecake and chocolate cake).

Warm halo-halo, perfect for sharing in winter

Warm halo-halo, perfect for sharing in winter

For those of you who loved Lolo and Lola’s $10 lunch specials, good news—these will still be on offer on Thursdays and Fridays. Other items that will still be available include their delicious range of cakes and breads.

As for new additions, Cristina will add her own range of pastries to the mix, and Lolo and Lola will be serving and selling their own blend of Barako coffee, sourced from a single estate in Batangas in the Philippines, as well as Filipino chocolate (it’s worth noting here that cacao beans in the Philippines originated from the ones the Spanish brought with them in the 1500s).

Ube Cake

Ube Cake

Despite the changes, one thing will definitely remain the same: Kim and Jay’s passion for showcasing Filipino food, people, and culture. They’ll show this through their food and how they educate people about it, and it’s also reflected in the décor, which features photographs of Filipino street food scenes, and lights representing the Philippines’ history as the Pearl of the Orient Seas.

Filipino street food images by Pangkat, Virma Simonette Rivera, Jed Ryan Rosell, Jessy Garza and Mark Wiens

Filipino street food images by Pangkat, Virma Simonette Rivera, Jed Ryan Rosell, Jessy Garza and Mark Wiens

When I first met Kim and Jay, they told me that one of their goals was to make Filipino food popular and more familiar to those who might not have tried it before. I think they’ve achieved that goal, but I hope Lolo and Lola’s new location and offerings will help them extend that reach even further. I can’t wait to try more.

Image: Rebecca Doyle Photography

Image: Rebecca Doyle Photography

To read more about Lolo and Lola’s origins, click here.

The essentials
The place: Lolo and Lola
Where: Shop 2, 3 Watson Place, Watson
When: Opening 13 July 2017, Thursday-Saturday lunch and dinner, Sunday lunch
Food: Filipino, both traditional and with a twist
Contact: Call 0412 929 780 or visit their website or 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

  • Serina aka Ms Frugal Ears

    This looks fabulous! Definitely one to try out soon.

  • Dragonfly_Dazed

    Such fantastic news! A huge fan of Lolo and Lola’s pop up @ Westside, we’ll definitely make the drive to Watson. No matter how crazy/busy the pop up got, Kim was always so sweet and patient. So miss those yummy ensaymadas (cheese topped buns – sound weird but ohsogood).

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