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In London’s saturated restaurant market, it is surprising to learn how few good Filipino restaurants are in operation. Until now, that is. Former banker and restaurateur Rowena Romulo convinced her family that 2016 was the perfect time to launch Philippine cuisine in a way that London has never seen before. Following its success in Manila, Romulo Café London now offers a taste of the Philippines in the heart of Kensington.

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“I first came across taro when I visited newly opened Romulo Café a few months ago. Based in London’s High Street Kensington, this 70-seater restaurant is lined with flowered wallpaper and enjoys a green, white and black colour scheme. Everywhere you look there are old photos and memorabilia, indicating there’s a rich history at the heart of this place, dying to be told.”

“Filipino cuisine. Have you ever tried it? It’s about time for it to come under the spotlight. Here you will learn how to make Oxtail stewed in peanut sauce.”

“After shooting the recipes with Chef Lorenzo Maderas, at Romulo Café, I had the honour to sit down for a three course meal and what a treat it was. If you’ve never had Pinoy food before, be prepared to peruse the menu for a long time because all the dishes are completely new and everything looks good.”

Filipino restaurants in London? Rarer than hen’s teeth. There’s Josephine’s in Soho, a couple of interesting pop-ups and that’s about it. It’s a slightly odd cuisine – a meat-heavy mishmash of Spain, Malaysia and China – but it’s becoming popular in the States and where they go we often follow. Well, bar the really bonkers stuff like corn dogs and Easy Cheese. And guns.

This good-looking Kensington restaurant is the first foray from a small group with branches over in the Philippines. It takes its name from the grandfather of one of the owners, General Carlos P Romulo – former diplomat, statesman, soldier, journalist, publisher, author and sometime president of the UN General Assembly. Not a bad CV.

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“Vibrant and sophisticated, Romulo Café is putting Filipino cuisine firmly on London’s food map. It’s named after Carlos P Romulo, a Nobel Prize-winning former Philippine Ambassador to the USA and is backed by his grandchildren. This is the first branch to open outside the Philippines (there are three in Manilla) and its green, white and black walls are filled with photographs of Romulo. Happy staff create a buzzing, irreverent atmosphere. In the kitchen (headed by an ex-Sushisamba chef) a South-East Asian repertoire is enhanced by Spanish and Latin influences. There’s much to tempt, such as pork belly with pickled apples and caramelised shallots or tuna kilawin (ceviche marinated in cane vinegar) – although don’t go expecting hot spices. Our highlight was an unusual side dish of ginataang sigarillas (runner beans combined with coconut milk and smoked fish to creamy, lip-smacking effect). Fried flying fish turned heads yet was too dry, but bagoong egg-fried rice (with shrimp paste and unripened mango) was an unalloyed success. Puddings are strictly for the sweet-toothed. The wine list concentrates on Europe, while cocktails display abundant creativity and certainly pack a punch. Overall, this impressive newcomer looks set to embellish the west London dining scene.”

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Filipino food is a captivating combination of four culinary traditions – Spanish, American, Malay and Chinese. Not only does the cuisine at the family-owned Romulo Café offer an authentic Filipino experience, but the décor has also been thoughtfully chosen to do the same, with attractive interiors that complement each other.

Premier Hospitality caught up with the person responsible for realising and executing the Romulo family’s vision, Karen Soriano, Creative Director and Interior Designer at True Collective, who commented:

“This was a truly exciting project. We were aware that we were creating what would not be just a restaurant, but something symbolic for the community. Romulo Café aims to elevate Filipino cuisine and the space in which our food is enjoyed; it has to blend in with contemporary London, but it also had to preserve the essence of our heritage and the greatness of the man who inspired it.


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“This is a leafy corner of the capital. It’s not a neighbourhood of steel and glass. This is the preserve of people who actually live here and those who choose to visit this end of Kensington High Street to seek out a little charm and calm.

Now there is a new draw along this high-end thoroughfare. Romulo Café London has arrived and it has a celebrated pedigree. There are other Romulos, but they are in Manila in the Philippines. The name was already known, however, before it became associated with culinary excellence.

Carlos P. Romulo served as the President of the Fourth Session of United Nations General Assembly from 1949–1950, and as chairman of the United Nations Security Council. He had served with General Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific, and under eight Philippine presidents, from Manuel L. Quezon to Ferdinand Marcos, as the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.

He was a man able to represent his own country but he was admired internationally and recognised with awards from other nations such as Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix from the Greek Government and Grand Cross of the Order of Carlos Manuel do Cespedes from the Republic of Cuba, and he was the first and to date the only Filipino winner of the Pulitzer Prize! He was a respected writer, statesman, soldier and historian and even co-founded the Philippines Boy Scouts. A true man for all seasons.”


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“Last weekend I ventured out to 343 Kensington High Street with a group of friends to try out the recently opened Filipino restaurant, Romulo Café. Founded by the Romulo family back in 2009, this is the first branch of Romulo Café outside of Manila. Here’s a quick recap on Filipino cuisine and some of the dishes my friends and I enjoyed.

The Filipino cuisine is a mixture of Malay, Indian, Spanish, Chinese, and American, as well as other Asian Indian cuisine adapted to indigenous ingredients and the local palate. Typically you will see a lot of meat, such as lechon (a whole roasted pig) or longganisa(Philippine sausages), fish and other seafood, e.g. salted fish or fried shrimp, and various soups like sinigang (meat or seafood in a sour tamarind broth). All very tasty and always served with lots of rice.

At Romulo Café, my Filipino partner did the ordering for our group of six. We tried twelve different dishes, and of some of them we ordered two portions to share. By the time we were finished, no one complained about still being hungry.

First off, the customary bread, or pandesal. These warm, incredibly soft pieces of carb heaven impressed everyone at the table. We promptly googled for the recipe and ordered two additional servings.”

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Prefer to make your reservation via phone? Give us a call! You can contact us between 10am and 10pm every day of the week.

020 3141 6390


Romulo Café London,
343 Kensington High Street
London, W8 6NW

020 3141 6390

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We are proud to partner with Wonder Foundation, whose mission is to empower vulnerable communities through education.

Manila, Philippines

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