You’ll find Lamesa Filipino Kitchen at Queen and Bathurst, sitting beside the black facade of Kenzo Ramen. The storefront and the restaurant itself is quite small. Inside, you’ll find a few tables at the front and more near the back past the bar. The space is modern, fun and clean. They have $5 snacks and daily specials written on a chalkboard. The menu was quite simple, which was great for Sally and I because this was our first experience with Filipino food… plus the waitress was nice enough to explain and recommend some dishes. The atmosphere is chill and intimate with attentive staff.
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Whenever I dine with Sally, we always order a few dishes to share. The menu is divided into different sections: appetizers/shareables, meats/mains, vegetables and dessert. We ordered a dish from each section except for dessert because we had our minds set on Red Bench. For our $5 snack we went for calamari. Unfortunately, they ran out of squid so they deep fried some shrimp instead. I don’t know what was in the batter or what was sprinkled on top, but it was salty and delicious. I wish there was more of it!
Next came our appetizer Toasted Siopao ($8). They were unexpectedly tiny… two bites and it was gone. The pork was tender and the flavour of the marinade/sauce shone through. The bun to meat ratio was a bit off, it either needed more meat or less bun. These sliders were definitely pricey for the amount of food you get.
Our main dish was Caldereta ($25), braised short ribs with carrots and potato smothered in a red wine and tomato jus. The ribs easily fell off the bones and the carrots were perfectly tender without being too mushy.
Our vegetable dish was Ginataan Koliplor ($9), cauliflower made 4 ways. Raw, pickled, grilled, fried, and pureed. The dish was composed and executed beautifully with a coconut foam floating throughout the composition. It seemed like a work of art with the different textures thoughtfully placed on the dark plate. Along with our meal, we also shared a bowl of garlic rice. It’s similar to the rice served with Chinese steamed chicken, better than plain old Jasmine rice. Overall, our meal was just enough for the both of us with a bit of room left for dessert – Filipino food with modern flare.