What’s on the menu at BB’s, Parkdale’s new weekend brunch spot for Filipino favourites

What’s on the menu at BB’s, Parkdale’s new weekend brunch spot for Filipino favourites

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Name: BB’s
Contact: 1566 Queen St. West, @bbs.bbs.bbs.bbs.bbs
Neighbourhood: Parkdale
Owner: Justin Bella
Chef: Robbie Hojilla
Accessibility: Down a flight of stairs, not fully accessible

The food

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.

Chef Robbie Hojilla.

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.

Boneless chicken thighs are marinated in adobo, dredged and deep fried to a golden crisp with a juicy, tender interior. Served with house habanero-pineapple hot sauce. $11.

 

Corned beef, on its last stop before hitting a plate of silog.

 

Silog is a portmanteau of sinangag (garlic fried rice) and itlog (egg), typically served with a protein; at BB’s, you get a choice of house longanisa (sausage), house corned beef hash, or fried milkfish. Picture here is the version with corned beef, brined for five days before a braise with mirepoix, cinnamon, clove, and anise that turns it into a crisp-edged, aromatic delight. On the bottom right is the atchara, a mix of pickled green papaya and carrots meant to serve as a palate cleanser. And on top of the garlic fried rice is a zesty house pico de gallo made with calamansi. $17.

 

This is the silog with house longanisa, the Philippines’ answer to chorizo. Coarsely ground pork, annatto, lots of garlic, and brown sugar make for an addictively sweet and spicy sausage. It’s served in a sweet apple cider gastrique—the chef’s nod to the classic pairing of pork and apple. $17.

 

Here we have the silog with milkfish, marinated in cane vinegar and chilis for a touch of spice. The rich, delicate fish is fried to a perfect golden crisp. $17.

 

Here we have the vegan coconut curry, or ginataan, which translates to “done with coconut milk.” Sweet potato, kabocha squash, cauliflower and green beans are enveloped in creamy coconut milk amped up with aromatics and lime. In place of the traditional shrimp paste, this curry gets its umami note from white miso. It’s topped with crispy fried shallots.

 

Here’s a closer look at the finished dish. $14.
The pork sinigang, or sour braised pork loin soup, is a standout. Hiding under shaved eddo, a tropical vegetable closely related to taro, is a pork loin so tender you could eat it with a spoon. It sits in an unapologetically sour, deeply savoury broth—tamarind and fish sauce are its dominant flavours, but it’s well-balanced enough to drink on its own. Wilted spinach, charred heirloom tomatoes, green beans, and stewed eddo add a vegetal note. Served with steamed rice. $17.

Taking a slight left from the classic Filipino spaghetti, Hojilla’s is meaty, savoury, and only lightly sweet thanks to a nutty caramel in place of the standard banana ketchup. It’s decked out with sliced beef hot dog, beef and tomato ragu, and a classic beurre monté (“mounted with butter”) for a smooth, emulsified sauce. Finished with cheddar, scallions, and the super fun touch of blitzed Cheez-It crackers for texture. $17.

 

And an action shot, just because

 

BB’s house salad features a creamy green goddess dressing made with coconut milk, avocado, confit garlic, lime and a mix of herbs: Thai basil, cilantro, and lime leaf. It’s served on heritage mixed greens with cucumber, radish and lovely little charred tomatoes, which add a warm, bittersweet note. Topped with toasted coconut, it’s a flavourful, texturally interesting delight—very much the antithesis of a sad house salad. $13.

 

Inspired by a recipe from Justin Bella’s mother, Marivic, this French toast is a total flavour bomb: coconut dulce de leche and mango compote give the Japanese milkbread base a symmetry of sweet and sour, reflecting Hojilla’s keen sense of balance. It’s topped with crunchy toasted coconut and almonds. $9.

 

Dream brunch
The drinks

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.

The tamarind-spiked Tito Ceazar is one of three tasty brunch cocktails. It’s served with skewered pearl onions and a spicy pickled green bean. $12.

 

This is the fruity, refreshing Filipino shandy: Asahi mixed with your choice of calamansi, mango, pineapple, or orange juice. $9.
The space

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.

Left to right: Justin Bella, Syd Salvatierra, Trinity Regular, Kevin Birung, Robbie Hojilla.