Address: 250 City Centre (Unit 232), Ottawa
Hours: Thursday – Sunday
Social media isn’t always a bad thing, and I was recently reminded of this when I discovered Lola’s Kitchen while cruising my blog’s Instagram account. It turns out that following over 1000 local restaurants and foodies is a good way to hear about new openings (and also make yourself hungry anytime you open the app).
Lola’s Kitchen is currently a one man show, doing it all to bring traditional Filipino food to you. As such, the menu is compact, with a handful each of mains and sides. Ordering is pretty informal right now – you can do it over Instagram, or by phone via call or text. It’s best to plan ahead though, as the star of the show, Kim Epino, may be committed to a catering event.
For my order, I went with a new addition to the menu, the Filipino BBQ beef ribs ($20 platter), while my wife chose the unofficial national dish of the Philippines, chicken adobo ($15). We didn’t want to have just meat and carbs for dinner, so we also got the mango and avocado salad ($5), and veggie spring rolls ($5). It was real nice chatting with Epino through the ordering process; he’s obviously passionate about his new venture, and was very accommodating for some dietary tweaks for our order.
On the day of delivery, Epino was doing his own deliveries too, so don’t forget to tip your chef/owner/driver well!
The food comes in compostable containers (bonus points!) lined with banana leaves, which not only add a cool tropical vibe that fits well with the cuisine, but is also a natural liner for the containers and prevents them from getting soggy. After a quick reheat, my wife and I were soon digging in to our vibrant meal.
My Filipino BBQ beef rib platter was a sight to behold with bright orange-yellow rice and two strips of cross-cut ribs, similar to the more well-known Korean galbi. Getting its colour, and additional flavour, from turmeric and annatto seed, the garlic fried rice had more depth than the more bare bones version of this Filipino staple.
The beef ribs were nothing short of fantastic. Even having been prepared earlier in the day, delivered, and reheated in a microwave, there wasn’t a hint of toughness, and the lightly sweet glaze, paired with the rich meat, and side of tart vinegar made for a perfectly executed cut of meat.
My wife’s chicken adobo was also a winner, done in the style of the southern Philippines, with coconut milk making itself known, and the meat itself was fall-off-the-bone tender. As it should be, it was dark meat only.
While it was closer to a sauce or even a cold soup than a salad, the mango and avocado salad was a fruity balance to the rich proteins and the hot peppers I added to my rice.
The spring rolls were light and crispy, and with five to an order, were great bang for the buck as well.
It’s a tough time for so many entrepreneurs and food-related businesses, but testing the waters as a pick-up/delivery-only model at a time when so many people are looking to eat at home seems like good timing. With delicious food and the service to match, it’s easy to believe that great things are on the horizon for Lola’s Kitchen – maybe even another staff member or two.