Josephine’s Restaurant — a Filipino Resto experience in Central London

I had an argument with my brother before I finally convinced him to go to this only Filipino Restaurant in London. It was a first time for both of us in Central London. We spent two and a half days, going to the different tourist places and usually we eat on the go to save time. We were debating on why do we need to eat in a Filipino restaurant in London. First of all, eating in a restaurant would set us back at least 2 hours and why do we need to eat Filipino cuisine in Central London when I am from the Philippines and going back the next day! Endless discussion but in the end, my argument of loving our own and supporting our fellow kababayans outside our country won. Also, I’ll tell you an open secret, the Londoners have no food that they can call their own — except for Fish and Chips. I hated all the food I ate and I was dying to eat Filipino food. After having the food trip in Singapore, I thought I would also be able to do this here but I was dead wrong! I was already dreaming of eating at least a decent meal in a Filipino restaurant only to find out that there is one and only Filipino restaurant called Josephine’s somewhere around the Oxford shopping area.

If you are a tourist and you only have two days, would you spend the time to eat in a Filipino Restaurant in Central London? Or, maybe I’m just weird.

Josephine’s Restaurant was a 5 minutes walk from Tottenham Court Tube station corner Oxford street. It was the best meal I had in London, and my brother would agree. The food is home cooked Filipino Fusion that could rival Guava or Filos in the Fort. They have been operational for 10 years now this September.

The interiors are predominantly red with a large mural of bahay kubo on stilts facing a river.

Josephine’s Restaurant is owned by Eddie (pictured above) and Josie Poniente who have been in London for 20 years already. They are proud that all the dishes are home cooked as you order them and they are not stored food heated in microwave.

This was an interesting description of Filipino cuisine.
“Filipino cuisine is an exotic, tasteful blend of oriental, european and american culinary influences. “

Hmmn… come to think of it, I would agree with it. We have a lot of chinese, spanish and american influence, so can we call this global cuisine then? But I’m still wondering why Filipino have not taken off globally and have its own equity plus following.

Only Kare-Kareng Baka in Central London! (8.50 pounds) Beef in Peanut Sauce. A traditional Filipino stew of beef with banana bloosom & vegetables in tasty peanut sauce and shrimp paste on the side.

(Ok, don’t ask how much is the conversion rate or you’ll die with how expensive it is when you convert it. )

My brother is an expert on Kare-Kare and he loved it! There is something with the thick peanut sauce that makes this a yummy treat. The servings are good for two and they use basmati rice which have lower sugar content than ordinary rice. My wife would definitely love this, when she was pregnant, she usually crave for kare kare aside from the chicken barbeque from Aristocrat.

Oh my favorite, Sinigang na Lapu-Lapu! (4.50 pounds) Tamarind flavour soup with chunk of radish and string beans

The sinigang broth was so deliciously sour and hot perfect for the cold windy afternoon in Central London. The vegetables are crispy fresh and the fish was surprisingly tender and tasty. Sometimes, you tend to neglect these food and I can’t imagine how our OFWs survive in other countries if they don’t have this kind of cuisine in their country.

Manok sa Mani — Filipino Chicken Sate (4.50 pounds). Marinated grill chicken in skewer with peanut sauce.

This was OK and I can’t remember having this type of food even here in the Philippines. This is like chicken marsala with peanut sate sauce.

The menu is very simple and I was pleasantly surprised that I can have Halo Halo in Central London — Yahoo!

Halo – Halo with Mango Ice Cream on top. (3.85 pounds) — Filipino Sundae? a refreshing concoction of original Philippine fruit preserved and beans blended with crushed ice and Mango Ice cream on top.

Simply the best! I can’t ask for more while Im here. It was interesting that they use Mango instead of the usual Ube ice cream.

Here is a photo of myself and the owner Josie in an al fresco dining setting.

Josephine’s Restaurant
4 Charlotte Street
London W1T 2LP
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday: 11:45am-11:00pm
Tel# 0207-5806551


17 thoughts on “Josephine’s Restaurant — a Filipino Resto experience in Central London

  1. It’s great that you’ve visited London recently. One and a half day is not even enough to see a third of the major tourists attractions in the city. In fact, one week is not even enough to see them all. There is so much to see! Anyhow, I wonder who told you that Josephine’s is the only Filipino resto in central London. That is not true. There’s 3 or 4 of them that I’ve been to. My favorite, SJoy Restaurant, opened just a little over a year ago if am not mistaken and it’s not too far from Marble Arch/Oxford St. Oh well, next time you get the chance to come visit London again, look me up and I don’t mind pointing you to the right directions. Like Notting Hill where the famous Portobello Market is located. I live walking distance to Portobello and there’s a lot of excellent Asian restaurants in the area. I do agree with you though that the famous ‘fish and chips’ that the Brits brag about is rubbish. I am not fond of English food at all. *-*

  2. Nice photos!
    Day and a half in London, like Elna mentioned, is not enough. I am pretty sure you know that. But yours was business not pleasure, i guess but at least you’ve been in the Royal Kingdom. Josephine’s is not in any affiliated to the one in Tagaytay, is it?

  3. You just breezed through London pala! It’s a great city for trying out cuisine of various countries. It reminds me of NYC in that respect. Strangely though, we don’t really look for Pinoy restos when we’re there for business trips. Some of the places we’ve enjoyed in Central London may be found close to Oxford St. Saint Christopher’s Place is full of many choices such as Sofra (Turkish food). Wagamama is another good choice in case you’re missing Asian food as it specializes in noodles and other dishes from various Asian countries. A recent discovery is Busaba, which offers good Thai food. We try not to eat out too much in London as the exchange rate’s horrendous (PhP 94-100 to 1 pound sterling), so I can’t offer you many suggestions for the next time you’re there. I do have to say though that I always enjoy my fish and chips – especially if it’s cod (bacalao), as well as the crispy aromatic duck from any of London’s Chinese restos. It’s their own version of Peking duck, which is fried and quite flavorful.

  4. Theres a lot of debate on why Filipino cuisine didnt take off compared with our ASEAN neighbors- Thailand and Vietnman and it would surely take a have heads rolling but lets not get into that….
    Curiously, somebody once compared Filipino food to English one…I have a feeling its not be taken as a compliment. ;op
    Hey, youre now going places! Im sure you loved London, as do gazillion other people who feels the same for the place…havent been there myself but somehow my travel radar seems to point me towards the more exotic Euroepan capitals like Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, Budapest of Vienna….but thats just me of course…hehe..
    Would be nice to visit Saint Pauls though. ;o)
    Oh and tha Kare kare looks divine.

  5. @manilastreetwalker: I think Pinoy food has more interesting flavors than English food naman – though I think we’re similar in that both our countries clearly have a sweet tooth. Pero I think English desserts are richer and sweeter, sometimes too sweet even for this Pinay dessertarian. =)

  6. notsolillulu,
    I think I’ll agree to that. But really, aside from Fish and Chips and salisbury steak(?), what is English food anyways? Can somebody englighten this culinary-challenged bloke?
    As a general rule, leave the conversion table when travelling and try to pretend I have a deep pocket (until I get the bills!) when getting the basics -such as food- abroad. Really, the only place I have been too where the Peso was went long was in Saigon. ;o)

  7. I wonder if my favorite Filipino resto in London, FM-Pasyalan Filipino Restaurant and Karaoke Bar is still standing. It’s located a few minutes away from Earl’s Court Road. There is a greater chance for you to run into a Filipino at Earl’s Court than be hit by a speeding car in London. I geatly enjoyed FM. What it lacks in interior decoration it makes up for coziness, warmth and “fiesta” spirit. Compared to Joseshine’s, FM’s cuisine tasted more Filipino to me, too.
    I agree with you re leaving the conversion table behind. I just can’t eat talong (eggplant) thinking it cost 500 pesos each!

  8. That place looks great…and so does the kare-kare. I have not left the conversion table behind too and still cringe at the thought of the daing na bisugo that cost over a dollar each…but once you crave something..
    Anton, was trying to email you but it bounced back. I can’t join your next Pampanga tour…I’ll be there in November pa kasi.

  9. I lived in London for 2 years, and while I walked by Josephine countless times, I never went in to eat. London, being the melting pot it is, has so much going for it in terms of international cuisine. So when I ate out, I tried to sample other food ( even had Ehtiopian food from a neighborhoos resto near my flat, which was a wonderful experience!)and if I craved Pinoy food, I made my own or went to my cousin’s house in Wimbledon where there was sure to be some pansit, adobo, lumpiang shanghai or liempo cooked by the yaya of her son. 🙂
    I did, however, take an Argentinian friend to the Filipino restaurant in Earl’s Court which is really like the Daly City of London. The food was so-so, nothing like the food back home for some reason. I felt the need to defend our cuisine and assure him it tasted much better than that really.

  10. I spent three months in London last year and ate at Josephine’s three times! The food is pretty good although a tad bit expensive.Once it was just my cousin, my tita and I and the bill for a bangus, garlic rice,veggies, torta and adobo and like dessert and 3 san mig lights was over a hundred quid!That’s over 10k in pesos! I guess with it’s location, the price would be quite normal for restos in that area. I was told that there were other, smaller “turo-turo” places in Earl’s Court but I never went. I think with the bland British food, I just needed my filipino fix once in awhile. I love the chicken fillet adobo with the thick sauce. Im not really an adobo fan but i love theirs. Cheers!

  11. Come to think of it, I think we ordered extra food to take home since my cousin and I hated cooking haha. maybe that’s why it was over a hundred pounds 🙂 I was on a student’s budget too tho so my meals were usually only 5-10 quid and anything higher was expensive. I think a lot of the Fil food Ive tried abroad, when made properly taste better than the fil food here because of the better ingredients, bigger pcs of chicken/meat/fish etc.

  12. Oh Christ Almighty, re your take on English food – I couldn’t agree with you more. It just simply doesn’t do it for me…and I EAT anything…(my best friend’s dad used to call me ‘malakas kakain’ when we were in high school)
    I can always hear my tummy gurgle whenever I visit your blog! Keep blogging!

  13. hey Eddie and Josie are my Aunt and Uncle. I’m so proud to say that its noce to be a Poniente. Also one of my goal is to visit them someday. —Live in Wisconsin USA–its Fernando Poniente!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. the people who complain abot english food need to find english friends and taste real english cooking i have been round the world and tasted all kinds of food and in the philippines in 2005 2006 2007 2008 and this year 2009 they showed me there food and as a chef i cooked for them in there home or at my apartment in manila I get many letters about thay miss my food we shy from a lot of london resturants because of there high prices but do get good fish and chips you need a english friend to get the right place most fish and chips shops in london are not english and dont realy know how to cook it just try to copy
    you need to go to yorshire or the north of england to get real good fish and chips i cooked it in tondo for 50 people and they loved it
    and i miss the philippine food but even manila in the malls you are getting more and more american junk food its a shame because i love your food im making pork Sinigang today
    mahal kita

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *