I stumbled across Mama Z about six months ago on Instagram and ever since then I’ve been eager to try her amazing looking Filipino food. After repeatedly missing her at various pop up events/stalls I finally had the pleasure of spending an entire evening eating her well thought out dishes at Redbank.
Mama Z has been hosting pop up feasts at many locations including Grub Streetfood and recently announced she will have an ongoing place at Hatch, Oxford Road’s newest foodie hangout.
Redbank has been the setting for many fantastic dining experiences and Saturday was no exception. As soon as I walked in the stunning smells coming from the kitchen hit me. Downstairs lots of effort has been put into all the visuals including colourful table decorations, name placements and even a slide show of Mama Z’s recent travels showing where her menu inspiration had come from.
The well attended event started off with Filipino popadoms with a peanut and egg dip that changed my life (I need the recipe!).
Next, fresh Lumpiang Shanghai spring rolls with the right amount of spice and various tasty dips to try.
Pork and Shiitake mushroom adobo braised in soy, garlic and vinegar followed, which I was so excited to try having seen part of her cooking process on instagram. I was worried the pork might be dry but it was juicy and the beefy mushrooms worked so well in the dish.
The seafood pancit palabok (prawns and noodles garnished with egg) just wasn’t to my taste as I felt like a sauce was missing but I do think this was just down to personal taste.
The chicken inasal (marinated chicken skewers) dipped into the sauces from the starters were so tasty, thinking about them is making my mouth water. The chicken was so light and full of flavour which tasted fresh after the heavier punchy pork.
Once the slow cooked spinach dish came out I had already eaten my body weight in very tasty food. The portions were all so generous you could have fit an extra few guests in and still have plenty of food. The spinach with baby shrimps, garlic and chilli ended the savoury part of the meal on a high. At first it looked a little watery but actually it was the prefect consistency, any thicker and it would have been too heavy.
My favourite dessert was the plantain spring roll of coconutty caramel goodness. Perfectly balanced with a slight savoury taste, a welcome change to many overly sweet desserts that normally end a meal.
I adored the vegan/vegetarian options available which gave a more inclusive vibe, a rare and difficult thing to do at a multi course pop up event.
Mama Z came out once we were all too full to move and spoke to each table, which was a lovely end to the evening.
I cannot wait to spend my entire wage in her new location at Hatch- get over there and experience the tasty food for yourself!
Author: Charlie Rowarth