Luzon a popular Filipino pop up is back, with a new menu and residency at Printworks on Rosebury Ave EC1; a perfect distance from Exmouth market for post dinner drinks. This is one of my favourite London spots, tucked away near Angel, Islington with great coffee shops and a lunch time food market worth checking out.
Luzon invited Mark Green from Smokebark and I down to try their new menu, spoiler alert – we tried everything, starting off with a ‘coco breeze’ cocktail, Filipino rum, pink guava juice, lime juice nata de coco.
Deliciously refreshing on a warm day, I gulped it down while we read about all the dishes we could look forward to. Luzon serves small plates with a modern spin on traditional Filipino ingredients, I even brought my friend from the Philippines to explain everything as we went along.
We started with the ripe mango salad, fresh, juicy and most certainly ripe, everything I hoped it would be. On the right is the salted egg and tomato salad, salted egg is very popular in the Philippines but as it is an acquired taste, so pairing it with tomato which welcomes salt was very fitting.
Next up is pork belly, braised in a gentle sweet sauce and slow cooked to bring the best out of the belly meat. The pork is served on quite cool rice but this was one of my favourite courses with the soft perfectly cooked meat. At this point we did address the elephant in the room, the awkward ‘cutlery’ wooden tongs. We decided the tweezer-like sticks were not enhancing our experience and we opted for forks.
Taro spring rolls with coconut, taro is a traditional leaf eaten normally like steamed spinach. Adapting the format to improve presentation by serving it in a spring roll and adding the coconut had a tick of approval from my filipino friend. The delicate taro flavour was lovely with the crunch of the pastry and the familiar coconut. Next to a perfectly cooked medium rare piece of beef sitting on top of rice.
Mackerel served with ribbons of pickled green papaya and carrot give a lovely tang to the oily fish.
Finally and what I was looking forward to the most, the filipino style scotch egg and chicken wings. The scotch egg was soft and meaty with flavourful spices and a crisp exterior. The chicken wings fell off the bone and the sticky sweet glaze coated my mouth.
We had got this far so of course we should try the dessert, Leche flan with cashew nuts and jackfruit ice cream. A delicious finish of caramel and cashews with the fruity ice cream. To top it all off if you are in the mood for a specialty coffee they have wonderful filipino coffee from the Barako Bean Company,who source Liberica beans (a much less common bean, only 2% of the worlds coffee production) in the Philippines.
Luzon have created the perfect way to try so many flavours and ingredients from the Philippines, served in a contemporary and engaging form.
Want another opinion? Check out Marks review on Smokebark.