What’s on the menu at BB’s, Parkdale’s new weekend brunch spot for Filipino favourites
Contact: 1566 Queen St. West, @bbs.bbs.bbs.bbs.bbs
Owner: Justin Bella
Chef: Robbie Hojilla
Accessibility: Down a flight of stairs, not fully accessible
BB’s original incarnation—BB’s Diner, on Lippincott Ave—closed at the beginning of the pandemic when the building was sold. Fortunately, Kensington’s favourite modern Filipino brunch found a new home in Parkdale, and a very fun sister business. BB’s does its brunch thing on weekends in a basement space that it shares with Sari Not Sari, a nightclub-slash-multi-purpose-events-venue that hosts club nights, comedy nights and Raptors viewing parties. Both businesses are cultural hubs for the Filipino community, and you’re apt to see sleepy faces from Friday night’s party rolling into brunch the next day.
In Hojilla’s hands, Filipino dishes retain a solid connection to their traditional counterparts, but take on a modern cast. His approach centres balance above all else, and occasionally weaves in elements of his background in French and Italian cooking. If your standard Filipino spaghetti is distinctively sweet, Hojilla’s leans harder on umami; there’s a firm backbone of aromatics, and he uses caramel in place of the typical banana ketchup for a nutty bass line. Playful and cheery, but suffused with meticulous technique, the menu is just what we want brunch to be: lighthearted, good-mood inducing, and thoroughly delicious in a way that can only be achieved with sober attention to detail—even if your Sunday morning self is only half-sober when you eat it.
Cocktails with a Filipino twist include the Tito Caezar, a classic caesar spiked with sweet-and-sour tamarind. Or get a mimosa with calamansi juice, a citrus fruit native to the Philippines that tastes sort of like a mix between lime and lemon. There’s also tea, juice, and of course, bottomless coffee.
It’s a joyful, kitschy space, with peach-toned booths from the old BB’s, neon lights and a huge, colourful mural along one side by local Filipino artist Ilona Fiddy. The aesthetic is inspired by sari-sari stores—family-run convenience stores ubiquitous in the Philippines—and Poblacion, a historic cultural district near Manilla that Bella describes as the Philippines’ equivalent of Kensington Market. When the lights go down, the tables clear out to reveal a dance floor, and the booths moonlight as bottle service joints. But whether you’re there for Jäger shots or French toast, the space’s most remarkable feature is its warm, convivial vibe.