One of the things that I love most about having my Luxury Insider column for The Sybarite is that I get to experience places and meet people that I may have otherwise never experienced. Kasa and Kin, for me, is definitely one of those places.
Having only opened last year in London’s Soho, Kasa and Kin throughout the day is a Filipino-style café and bakery and in the evening it changes to a full-on dinner menu with wines and cocktails. From the outside it’s much more café than fancy restaurant, but what this place has taught me is, don’t judge a book by its cover - the food here is sensational, the service exceptional and the atmosphere warm and welcoming.
The owners of this eatery, Rowena and Chris are the same owners behind award winning Kensington’s Romulo Cafe & Restaurant, which I was lucky enough to have visited about a year ago. On arrival, I was initially taken aback at how different this new restaurant felt. Straight away my eyes were attracted to the open kitchen where a trio of chefs were at work and there was no missing the beautiful bright colourful interactive wall mural. Created by talesmith Kulay Labitigan, who was inspired by a 16th-century poem by Ibong Adarna, about a mythical bird. The mural depicts people in all colours of rainbow (representing inclusiveness), tropical rainforest and a phoenix, all on the background of traditional Filipino patterns. It’s pretty impressive.
Seats are arranged in an L-shape, providing up to 90 covers, with the layout allowing for larger groups at the front of the venue, and more intimate seating down the side. Kasa means home, a place of family history, heritage and memories and Kin means one’s family and relations. They want their place to be a place for all to gather and feel a sense of community and belonging. Visiting with a group of girl friends, we were seated at the front of the restaurant and had soon ordered the restaurant’s signature cocktail to get the night started. With a little help from our very pleasant waiter, we all ordered the Ube Martini. Ube is a purple yam originally from the Philippines. It’s essentially a bright purple sweet potato with an even sweeter, more mellow taste than its orange relative with a slightly nutty, vanilla taste. It’s popularly used in desserts in Filipino cuisine, often boiled and then mashed with condensed milk. I had enjoyed it before for the first time when I visited Rowena and Chris’ original restaurant – but never in a cocktail. It was beautifully presented, such a striking colour with edible flowers and lime.
Wanting to make sure we got to taste a large number of the dishes, we ordered pretty much most of the BBQ grill menu to share – that is the beauty of visiting in a large group. The food arrived as it was ready, perfectly presented and smelling sensational. The highlights for me were the BBQ Pork belly glazed in honey, tomato & pineapple, the Lemongrass chicken and spring onion marinated in lemongrass & annatto oil and the chilli mango salmon fillet glazed in chilli & mango jam. As we chatted and laughed together, the waiter kept our wine topped up and the food kept coming. From the Robata BBQ De-lux menu we had ordered the Wagyu Beef Rib eye and the Octopus Tentacle. The beef was succulent and full of flavour and the octopus was beautifully tender.
Now one thing this restaurant is already known for is its delicious desserts and as full as we all were, we couldn’t leave without a little taste of something sweet. I gave the responsibility of choosing the desserts to my friend Becs, who had been all over Kasa and Kin’s Instagram page for the last week and had told me about their famous doughnuts. After visiting their panaderia counter she chose a Filipino chocolate tart, toffee topped doughnut and the famous ube cheesecake, which was a little bit of pantomime when it arrived at the table. It was also the winner with all the girls.
Having only opened a few months ago this restaurant has already got its feet firming on Soho soil and is attracting those who know a thing or two about good food. A great place for group dining, I’ll definitely be returning.