Finding a Filipino restaurant in Brisbane is not always easy. Kubo's in Coorparoo and the Gold Coast, serves high-quality Filipino food at a reasonable price. If you haven't tried the food of the Philippines before or are missing your favourite Filipino dishes, then Kubo's is worth a visit.
Kubos Bar & Grill serves great Filipino food in Coorparoo
The food of the Philippines has never managed to find much of a place in Australia, even though many people visit the country and Australians like to try lots of different food. Filipino cuisine has a wide range of dishes with influences from the many different cultural and ethnic groups within the country as well as influences from Spain, Malaysia and China, and is well worth a try.
The main dishes are made from chicken, pork or seafood. If you were to go to downtown Manila, you would find few vegetables, while dishes in Australia tend to have a lot more vegetables similar to food in the Philippines countryside. There are also some famous beef dishes, including the famous Bistek, or Filipino beef steak, but beef is not that common.
Flavours are often fairly simple, and not spicy at all, which is how many people in Australia prefer it. This is why at food markets you will see people queued up to buy Filipino chicken or pork kebabs. Exotic flavours do get used, but often sparingly, such as tamarind, peanuts, coconut, shrimp paste, vinegar or even pig blood. Chillies are used, but they are very mild, even for Australian tastes.
One thing to note is the use of MSG in Filipino cooking. Now scientific studies have found no short or long-term effects of MSG, but some people don't like it. So if you don't like MSG, ask when ordering.
Most importantly, every Filipino meal is eaten with rice. Having a breakfast of eggs and ham, well, you will eat that with rice. Yes, there are some noodle dishes but they are not the main part of Filipino cuisine.
When it comes to desserts, you have two main choices; great cakes coming from the Spanish tradition, and shave iced style desserts, such as the famous halo halo. There are, of course, more exotic dessert options as well that have local origins.
Kubo's has two locations. One on the Gold Coast, and the one I visited in Brisbane is in Coorparoo Square. The Coorparoo restaurant has a large indoor dining area, and an outdoor, but fenced off and covered, section.
The outdoor eating area at Kubo's Filipino restaurant
The best way to describe the menu is that there are three sections. There is the classic Filipino dishes that we went for, the grilled section which is still Filipino but which would please anyone, including Australians, and the Touch of Aussie section.
They also have combo meals and offerings that are great for large groups, also known as the typical Filipino family. Even without a combo meal, if you want to try a lot of different things, then take a large group and sample lots of different dishes.
The main dish we were going there for was the crispy pata. This is pork that is first braised and then deep-fried (don't try this at home kids because if the braised pork is not properly drained, it can result in an oil and water fireball), which results in soft tender pork meat with super crispy crackling. At Kubos, they do it with a whole pork knuckle. Between the two of us, we ended up with enough leftovers for me to have pork sandwiches for three days afterwards.
Crispy pata a pork knuckle that is first braised then deep fried
We wanted something a little less fatty to go with it, so we chose a soup as there is not much in the way of vegetable dishes. We went for the sinigang soup made with milkfish (a great fish for soups popular in South East Asia). This is a sour and savoury soup, with the sour flavour coming from tamarind. I asked when ordering about the tamarind they use and they specifically buy Filipino tamarind which is sweeter than the tamarind you might buy in a store in Australia or found in Thai cooking. Along with milkfish, the soup also included various vegetables.
Sinigang soup with milk fish at Kubo's Filipino restaurant
Unfortunately, the two dishes between two people was already too much food and we didn't have any room for dessert. Our plan is to go back on a hot day for some halo halo, which is made from preserved sweet fruit, shaved ice, condensed milk with taro ice cream on top.
A selection of cakes at Kubo's Filipino restaurant
If that isn't your thing, then there are lots of cakes that you can try as well. They also have fried banana desserts.
The beer or the Philippines is San Miguel, named after San Miguel in Manila, where the company was established in 1890. Their most famous beer is the Pale Pilsen but consider trying the popular Light, which is light in flavour, not alcohol content, and has a rich beery taste with no bitterness. The other Filipino beer on offer is Red Horse, which is a different brand made by San Miguel with a higher alcohol percentage. There is also Korean soju, white wines and a range of other familiar and Filipino spirits available.
A selection of beers & spirits at Kubo's Filipino restaurant
For the tropically inclined, there are also a lot of tropical drinks, such as coconut water, smoothies, but iced tea is surprisingly absent from the menu, but it must be there somewhere, as it is the ubiquitous drink of the Philippines.
Kubo's serves high-quality Filipino food at a great price in a friendly atmosphere. Filipino food is both uniquely and delicately flavoured. In other words, it is delicious without being overpowering like many other Asian cuisines. So if you have never tried proper Filipino food, then definitely check out Kubo's.