PERTH | I’m never going to say no Filipino food, and when I heard that there was a new spot in Vic Park serving up the cuisine, I had to visit. Brothers and owners Ken and Al Craigie opened Lola’s Filipino Diner last year, in the original location of their American comfort food diner Roy Al’s Chicken.
At Lola’s, they wanted to make things a bit more personal, informed by their heritage, and the carinderias (casual dining spots) of the Philippines. One of Ken and Al’s earliest experiences enjoying Filipino food was at a carinderia below their Lola’s (grandmother’s) home in Manila, and they wanted to bring that experience to Perth.
It’s a tiny space, with room for 40 people and a vibrant energy – from the small open kitchen, to the tables full of Filipino families enjoying a feed. On the menu you’ll find a small selection of traditional Filipino dishes, along with a few creative fusion dishes, and a few rotating daily specials. The latter being a chance for lesser known regional Filipino dishes to be highlighted. I was with my family, introducing them to Filipino food for the first time, so ordered a while lot off the menu.
The Jolibee inspired fried chicken served with the boys’ mum Estella’s gravy recipe is a winner. Juicy thighs and drumsticks, impossibly crispy coating, and a rich, thick gravy. Theres also a take on chicken spaghetti joy. Longanisa sausage, with that wonderful sweetness and velvety fat is another home run. Sizzling liempo (grilled pork belly) sigsig, pork belly adobo, and inasal (grilled chicken), are other classic dishes you’ll find here, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Most come with your choice of garlic chicken rice or chips.
For dessert, it’s the classic duo of halo halo, and leche flan. Both top notch. To drink, there’s Filipino soft drinks like Royal-Tru orange soda, and sagot gulaman, a sweet drink with brown sugar, water, gelatin, and tapioca pearls.
If you want to try a few things, a great option is the boodle fight. 24 hours notice and a group of at least four people gets you an assortment of Lola’s signature dishes, laid out on banana leaves to enjoy traditional style with your hands.
Lola’s Filipino Diner
8/885 Albany Highway
Western Australia 6101
Tue – Wed: 11:30am to 3:00pm; 5:00pm to 9:00pm
Sat – Sun: 11:30am to 9:00pm