Romulo Café opens in London- A Taste of the Philippines in the heart of Kensington
By auraxiiltd, Apr 14 2016 01:59PM
Following its success in Manila, Romulo Café has opened its doors to all of London’s food lovers following two launch parties hosted by the Romulo family.
Amid surroundings both chic and casual, the 70-seater restaurant offers a taste of the Philippines in the heart of Kensington, one of London’s key shopping and residential boroughs. Its interiors have been designed to evoke a private London home, with a few surprise touches.
London, known for its hip and ground-breaking food scene, can now enjoy all the grace and verve of Manila’s ‘go to’ Romulo Café restaurants. In London, Romulo Café will offer many of the signature dishes of its sister restaurants in Manila – from appetizing bar food and main courses to share, to healthy options and desserts or ‘puddings’. The restaurant is divided into four separate dining areas: the General’s Bar, the Ambassador’s Lounge, the Diplomat’s Dining Room and the CPR Library, which can also be converted into a private dining space.
Romulo Cafe draws upon the family legacy of one of the Philippines’ foremost international statesmen – General Carlos P. Romulo and his wife, the late Virginia Llamas-Romulo, who was the keeper of the family’s heirloom recipes. Romulo Café was first established in Manila in 2009 by their granddaughter Sandie Romulo-Squillantini and her husband Enzo Squillantini where it has since expanded to three branches (with a fourth on its way).
Romulo Café’s first international outpost is run by another granddaughter, Rowena Romulo, a former managing director of JP Morgan. The restaurant offers such popular signature dishes as Lola Virginia’s Chicken Relleno, Adobo Romulo Style and Tito Greg’s Kare-Kare. The kitchen is led by Chef Lorenzo Maderas, a graduate of Westminster Kingsway College whose parents are from the Philippines. He previously worked at Sushisamba and at the Kentish Hare overseen by the Tanner brothers.
The restaurant’s interiors were designed by London-based design studio TrueCollective under Design Director, Karen Soriano, a graduate of Chelsea College of Arts. Soriano was inspired to re-imagine Carlos P. Romulo’s residence had he lived in Kensington and attempted to bridge aspects of Filipino culture with the locality. Karen Soriano said, ‘We also wanted to elevate Filipino dining interiors and make them appealing to the modern connoisseur of gastronomic experiences.’
Rowena Romulo said, ‘Opening a branch of Romulo Café in London means a lot to me and my family. My grandfather’s open and warm character enabled him to touch the lives of many people, across countries and cultures. If his currency was journalism and international diplomacy, my sister and I, our friends and cousins, have tried to touch lives through the medium of food.
‘Everyone involved in the restaurant is heartened by the support and approval of Filipinos here from all walks of life, who seem to enjoy our food and are moreover proud of what we have achieved. But this is only the beginning, and I hope that Romulo Café London will make a true statement, not just about how good Filipino food and hospitality are, but about how we see ourselves as Filipinos. Wherever we are in the world, we hold our heads up high. Our restaurant is for all Filipinos and anyone who loves good food in London.’
Romulo Café in London is located at 343 Kensington High Street W8 6NW. It is open 7 days a week, from Monday to Sunday, serving lunch, bar snacks and dinner.