Rarely venturing up north, I wasn’t aware that there was an eatery specialising in Filipino cuisine. It wasn’t until today when Tita Kay’s opened their doors in their new location on Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, that I learnt more about them. The relocated store was collaborating with Zomato and offering free treats for those checking in with the Zomato application. Keen to check out places that I’ve never been to before, Adelaide Food Central was on the case and ready to check out what they had to offer. All food and drink were provided free of charge.
To start off the night, I ordered the Gulaman drink which is a Filipino street beverage with jelly and tapioca balls. It has a beautiful mix of colours and can be best described as a bubble gum flavoured bubble tea. The only criticism of this drink is that the tapioca balls keep on getting stuck at the base of the straw. Otherwise, the drink was delicious and refreshing.
The first starter we had was the Okoy which is a crispy battered pumpkin and shrimp omelette with bean sprouts. Essentially, it’s the Filipino version of a fish cake but with prawns. I found the texture to be chewy with the bean sprouts adding a subtle crunchy texture.
The Puto Paos are steamed rice cakes with sweet minced pork. If it wasn’t for the pork in this dish, I thought it would have made a great dessert. The steamed rice cake was soft and delicate with a subtle sweetness. It’s very similar to steamed cakes Mum makes at home but without the pork.
The first of our mains was the Kare Kare which is a beef peanut curry with eggplant and long beans which is served with shrimp paste. This curry was mild with very subtle flavours. The beef was tender and succulent, and the flavours were well infused into the vegetables.
My favourite dish was the Chicken Inasal which was piping hot and straight off the grill. The chicken thighs were tender and succulent with lovely smokey flavours. The meat was juicy and full of flavour. I could have this again and again.
Next was the Crispy Pata which is the deep fried pork hock. Like all pork hock dishes, the serving size was huge. By itself, I thought the meat was a little dry but when smothered in the dipping sauce, I thought it was very good.
The last main was the Pork Adobo which is pork cooked in traditional Filipino vinegar and dark pepper stew. For me, this dish is very similar to a Vietnamese caramelised pork dish that I cook at home. The pork belly was soft and delicate, and the subtly sweet sauce was well infused into the meat. A perfect dish to go with steamed rice.
For dessert, we started off with the Ube Cake which is a purple yam cream cake. I ordered it because it was purple and I thought it would make an interesting photo. The cake itself was soft and crumbly, and there was a generous amount of cream in between each layer.
The Leche Flan is the Filipino creme caramel. Unlike the French variety, the texture is rather dense and you can tell it is loaded with sugar as it is almost sickly sweet. It’s still delicious and perfect for those with sugar cravings.
The final dessert was the classic Halo Halo which is a mixed bean and jelly dessert beverage with ice cream, ube, leche flan and macapuno. This is the second time I’ve had this dessert in three days and I must say I’ve become quite accustomed to it. The crushed ice provided a nice variation to the texture with all elements being rather sweet. It was a great way to end the night.
As someone who has been involved in the Adelaide food scene for the past few years, it’s always interesting to see the food trends that emerge. If you were to ask me about Filipino food 12 months ago, I’d probably wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. In more recent times, we’ve seen a Filipino food truck, Filipino street food and now a handful of restaurants. We’re now becoming more food savvy and are open to trying new things. Filipino food is going to be the next trend and it’s already started.
WHERE: 108 Melbourne St, North Adelaide