What’s on the menu at Lasa, a casual Filipino follow-up to Lamesa on St. Clair West

What’s on the menu at Lasa, a casual Filipino follow-up to Lamesa on St. Clair West

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Name: Lasa
Contact Info: 634 St. Clair Ave. W., @lasabylamesa
Neighbourhood: Wychwood
Owners: Les Sabilano (Lamesa) and his parents, Ester and Cirilino
Chef: Daniel Cancino (Lamesa, Hudson Kitchen)
Previously: Comp Kaibigan, a Filipino grocery store run by the Sabilanos for the past two decades

The food

The majority of the sharing-friendly plates are Filipino classics: Chicken adobo, lumpia Shanghai (pork-stuffed spring rolls), a range of pork skewers and hearty stews such as the oxtail kare kare. “Most Filipinos order the kare kare to test a restaurant,” chef Daniel Cancino says. “If it’s good, you know the kitchen knows what it’s doing.” Some dishes have been adapted for more mainstream appeal. The tamarind-braised pork rib sinigang, for example, is served with bok choy instead of bitter melon.

Halo Halo is made with house-made flan, ube (purple yam) ice cream, shaved ice and fruit. $7.99. Halo halo is made with house-made flan, ube (purple yam) ice cream, shaved ice and fruit. $7.99.
 

 

Barbequed pork skewers are the best seller. The meat is marinated in 7Up, ginger and soy over night. $2.50. Barbecued pork skewers are the top-selling menu item so far. The meat is marinated overnight in 7 Up, ginger and soy. $2.50.
 

 

IMG_5397 Each combo plate is served with garlic rice, a duck egg and a salad. Protein options include milk fish (pictured), BBQ skewers, fried chicken or tofu. $12. Each combo plate is served with garlic rice, a duck egg and salad. Protein options include milk fish (pictured), barbecued skewers, fried chicken or tofu. $12.
 

 

IMG_5414 Ginataan: shrimp cooked in a delicate coconut-miso broth with squash and green beans. $14. Ginataan: shrimp cooked in a delicate coconut-miso broth with squash and green beans. $14.
 

 

IMG_5431 The oxtail in the kare kare is braised for two hours in a peanut-garlic sauce. Bok choy, beans and eggplant are added last, and the dish is served with fermented shrimp paste. $18. The oxtail in the kare kare is braised for two hours in a peanut-garlic sauce. Bok choy, beans and eggplant are added last, and the dish is served with fermented shrimp paste. $18.
 
The drinks

Lasa isn’t licensed, but pop and tropical juices (guava, calamansi) are available.

The space

The bright space looks almost too pretty to be a counter-service joint. Cheryl Torrenueva, a designer with TV cred (she was on Restaurant: Impossible), transformed this grocery store with Pintrest panache. She’s a friend of Les Sabilano and worked with his budget by decking out IKEA tables with pops of colour and focusing on custom woodwork that subtly alludes to the Filipino flag. The lights, which look like two salakot (wide-brimmed Filipino hats), are a great touch.

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