Filipino restaurant group Café Romulo opens first UK outpost

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Filipino restaurant group Café Romulo opens first UK outpost

Related tags Philippines

Ex-banker Rowena Romulo has opened an outpost of her family’s Filipino restaurant concept Romulo Café in London with plans to get Filipino food firmly ‘on the map’ in the UK.

The 70-cover restaurant opens its doors for business today (24 March) in Kensington where it will serve traditional Filipino food to Romulo family recipes.  

Overseen by former JP Morgan managing director Romulo, the restaurant is actually the fourth to open under the Romulo Café brand with Romulo’s sister Sandie Romulo-Squillantini and her husband Enzo Squillantini, who both run Romulo Café in the Philippines, and Chris Joseph joint managing directors of the business.

Romulo, who has lived in London for the past seven years, told BigHospitality it was high time London hosted a restaurant that celebrated traditional Filipino food.

“There doesn’t seem to be a proper Filipino restaurant here and I think our cuisine has a lot to offer,” she said. “Given London is one of the gastronomic food centres in the world I felt it was really time to get Fillipino food on the map. In the US or other countries its becoming more popular, so I felt it was the year for Filipino food here.”

Signature dishes

Lorenzo Maderas, who has worked in the kitchens of Sushisamba and The Kentish Hare and whose parents are from The Philippines, has been appointed head chef of the restaurant.

Dishes on the menu have all been sourced from family recipes with signature dishes including Lola Virginian’s Chicken Relleno, a dish inspired by Romulo’s grandmother;  Adobo Romulo Style – a twice-cooked chicken and pork belly dish and Tito Greg’s Kare-Kare, a peanut-based stew made to Romulo’s uncle’s recipe.

Romulo said: “A lot of the recipes and the food we serve in my sister’s branch are my grandmother’s recipes which have been passed down through the generations. It’s a lot about comfort food. When we were young we all lived together and ate together so that’s the type of food we want to offer to both our Filipino compatriots and Londoners here at our London restaurant.”


Romulo Café first opened in Manila in 2009 and there are currently three in operation in The Philippines with plans to open a fourth.  The business

After Romulo Café on Kensington High Street is established, Romulo, who is the majority owner of the business in the UK, said she would look to replicate the group’s success in the Philippines.

“I hope that this will be one of many other branches in the UK,” she said. 

Romulo Café is open for lunch, bar snacks and dinner daily. 

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