Ask anyone about Filipino cuisine, and most will have no idea of what it is, especially to those who have not had a taste of this South East Asian cuisine. Many of my western friends do not have a clear representation of a Filipino dish if you would ask them, except for a few who get to taste the flavours of what most would consider as a mixture of Hispanic-American-Asian culinary.
Although numerous and varied Asian cuisines are seen along the full stretch of every street in Sydney from Vietnamese to Thai, from Chinese to Korean, from Indian to Malaysian or, even Indonesian, restaurants offering authentic Filipino dishes in Sydney are rarely seen. Hence, an authentic culinary experience in one of the most celebrated Philippine restaurants in Sydney, LaMesa, makes me salivate for those dishes I grew up the most. (I barely prepare Filipino dishes because I was not taught the intricacies of cooking it; aside from the fact, that I am not a kitchen person.)
The LaMesa restaurant located in Dee Why, a north-eastern suburb of Sydney, boasts of a range of authentic Filipino dish that range from the commonly known, Adobo Chicken or Pork, which were cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and black pepper, to the sophisticated Spanish-inspired dish, Paella. This Filo fine dining restaurant is, so far, the nearest to the taste of my Filipino roots. Though, the place is not as spacious as other fine dining Asian restaurants in the metropolis, the over-all ambience of the restaurant exemplifies a typical modern Filipino dining atmosphere, where common Filipino dining artefacts such as the big wooden spoon and fork were hanged to the wall giving a more traditional feel of a typical Filipino dining room. Additionally, Philippine art works depicting traditional Filipino customs and traditions were also displayed across the adjacent wall reminding and educating its clientele of Philippine culture. The creative pieces make the whole gastronomic experience more genuine to this island-nation, complimenting the authenticity of the various Filipino dishes it offers.
The experience gives me a sense of pride of my Filipino background and encourages me to bring more of my non-Filipino friends to familiarise themselves of the culinary craft of Pinoys!