Kusina Filipino Restaurant in Weston Creek is an absolute feast for the senses. Having opened their doors late last year, Kusina means ‘kitchen’ in Filipino and is the only Filipino restaurant in Canberra.
Kusina is a family owned and run restaurant. Owner and Head Chef Jonathan Ora developed an early love for the culinary arts growing up and working in his families various food outlets. His father opened the first Filipino Restaurant in Phillip when he was just a baby and at four years of age he declared he was going to be a chef when he grew up. Jonathan went on to train at the Hyatt Canberra and enjoyed a successful 10 year career with Hyatt working in their premier restaurants both internationally and around Australia. Returning to Canberra he then pursued his dream of promoting his native cuisine and Kusina was born. Kusina showcases the best of Filipino flavours and Jonathan’s extensive experience and training have allowed him to develop a tantalising menu which maintains the authenticity of the dishes whilst appealing to the modern western palette.
“Filipino Cuisine has long been under represented and we want to change that” says Jonathan. In just six months, Kusina has risen to the number two spot on Urban Spoon (Woden/Weston Creek) beating out some of Canberra’s most established and beloved restaurants.
On June 30th Kusina will host the first ever Boodle Feast in Australia. Boodle Feast Sunday’s will be held on the last Sunday of the month.
Boodle Feasts were introduced by the Philippine Military Academy to symbolise fraternity and equality between cadets with food being eaten communally with your hands regardless of rank. This once military only tradition has become a favourite way to dine for many Filipino’s who enjoy the sense of camaraderie that this style of dining delivers.
Jonathan comments “I think Boodle Feasts really highlight the spirit of Filipino food. It is shared and enjoyed with close friends and family in a way that brings everyone closer together. It is beautifully presented, mouthwateringly delicious and most importantly enjoyed in a relaxed, fun atmosphere,those are the components of a great dining experience.”
When we arrived at Kusina, we were immediately at ease with the friendly hospitality and informative staff. We were told that we were about to try a boodle feast and we could barely contain the excitement as we started to roll up our sleeves and good thing too – the boodle feast is eaten with just your hands. To a lot of Australians, this seems like a foreign concept but food is eaten this way in the Phillipines and in a lot of other countries throughout the Middle East and Africa.
The Boodle Feast arrived and we were blown away from the sight and smell of the grand feast, literally fit for a king. There is a whole grilled snapper, chicken wings and spring chicken, sticky pork belly, prawns, ceviche with coconut cream, Filipino salad and rice. There are also a number of sauces accompanied with the feast which are perfect for dipping various foods into. My recommendation is to attempt the boodle feast with an empty stomach. There is so much food and it is all so good.
We each have a corner of the platter to use to put our food and eating with your hands is surprisingly tasty! The food is hand-down delicious. I have never tasted such fresh and natural flavours combined together. The pork belly was sticky and sweet and combined with the rice, is a dish in itself. The deep-fried chicken wings were better than anything I have ever tasted at KFC and the spring chicken was tender and moist. The prawns and snapper were fresh and it was the first time I had ever eaten fish with my hands – I loved it!
With our tummies full, I was ready to fall into a deep food coma, but there was still dessert to come. They served us a traditional Filipino dessert – Leche Flan which is similar to crème caramel. The consistency is buttery, smooth and is like velvet. The taste is amazing, with a hint of lemon. The dish was accompanied with a lemon sorbet which was a perfect touch.
Kusina is a great restaurant to eat with lots of friends and family, or even just the two of you for an intimate night out. They have a large menu with dishes to suit all. The restaurant itself is open and airy and has a traditional Filipino feel to it with the interior and décor.
Next time I feel like a meal that will satisfy my hunger and taste buds, I will definitely be heading back to Kusina.