Filipino food is new to me, and Lina’s Kusina Cafe in Glebe is where I took my first dip into Filipino cuisine.
A few shopfronts north of Glebe Point Rd on Parramatta Road, Lina’s Kusina Cafe is about a tiny a restaurant as you can get, seating only 12 people at maximum capacity.
Every customer starts off their meal with complementary chicken broth seasoned with ginger and shallots.
To start, we share the Kusina Ensaladang Talong ($6.50), grilled Japanese eggplant with diced tomato and onion in shrimp paste. While crunchy, the the flavour of onion overpowered the eggplant and tomato, while the shrimp dressing mellowed their freshness. The eggplant itself was tender, although it lacked any smokey flavour. Honestly, N and I were expecting something more brown, as you’d expect from grilled eggplant in Japanese restaurants, and were completely surprised to have this at our table.
I had my mind set on their chicken inasal (marinated chicken maryland) but it wasn’t available when we visited, so instead I try the Crispy Pata ($18.00), or whole deep fried pork hock served with spice and sauce on the side.
I love pork, and the crackling here is just superb — thin and crispy with the slightest layer of soft fat on the underside. The meat itself was also juicy and flavoursome, while the vinegar with pickled cucumber helped cut through the heaviness of the meat to help you eat more.
T went for the Grilled Liempo ($12.90), or marinaded pork belly with steamed rice (chips are an alternative option). T enjoyed the tender pork belly that was infused with delicious smokey flavours from the grill.
N loves tofu, and tried the Tofu Sisig ($8.90), or fried tofu sauteed in garlic, onion and green chilli in mayo and oyster sauce. She enjoyed the heat from the peppers, which elevated the dish, but wasn’t too keen on the strong onion aftertaste. The fried tofu itself was firm, without the mushiness that usually turns me off tofu, and the oozy egg added a nice ‘sauce’ to the dish.
If Lina’s Kusina Cafe is anything to go by, Filipino food seems to be rather heavy-handed in their use of onion. While the food is decently priced, I’m not a great fan of onion, so that’s something I’ll need to look into before trying Filipino food again.
Lina’s Kusina Cafe is at University Hall, 1÷2−12 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe NSW 2037.