When you think of Sunday lunch in the UK, you usually think of some kind of roasted meat with roasted potatoes and an assortment of vegetables and if you’re lucky: a yorkshire pudding (best thing in the world when filled to the brim with gravy!)
So when Rapsa invited me to try their Boodle Fight which is traditonally eaten on Sundays, it was intriguing for me to say the least! The chef behind this is Francis Puyat, who introduced the Boodle Fight after success at a halloumi pop-up, wanted people to use their hands in the traditional Filipino way (‘Kamayan’ = eating with your hands’), with the food being served on a blanket of green banana leaves.
“Boodle fight is a military style of eating where long tables are prepared and food are on top of the banana leaves. Viands and rice ready to eat using your bare hands, jugs of water are prepared on the side to wash hands before the ‘eating combat’. With the signal to start the boodle fight, everyone aims for his/her position.”
The Boodle Fight menu includes:
● A centrepiece of Crispy Lechon Kiwali Pork Belly slow roasted over a spit to create the perfect sandwich of melted fat, juicy meat and crispy skin. Grab a piece and sprinkle some sweet and sour atchara papaya pickle on top or dip it into some Filipino mangtomas liver sauce.
● Served with Kinilaw – best thought of as Asian style ceviche which uses kalamansi lime and vinegar the fish to flash cure the protein – to freshen up the palate and add a bit of zing. Not restricted to fish, there are vegetarian, vegan and meat Kinilaw options available.
● Kilawin – fresh sea bream, mango soaked in palm vinegar and coconut milk with a bit of achiote fish oil to give it a deliriously punchy kick.
● Burnt Eggplant Salad – with coconut, hazelnut, tomato, apple and beetroot
● Pork Sisig – No Boodle Fight is complete without the king of Pinoy street food that is Pork Sisig. Hours in the making this spicy sizzling sensation will get you salivating from the get-go. Braised pigs head, crunchy chicharron and chili, all softened by a golden yolk.
● Lumpia Spring Rolls – lettuce wraps with pork, atchara and a zingy kalamansi dip livened with fresh herbs.
● Ukoy (Shrimp) Fritters – bring you back to earth with a heavenly crunch. These deep-fried balls of goodness can also be made vegetarian with a combination of shredded carrot, sweet potato and butternut. Squeeze some fresh lemon on top and add a spicy lemongrass and chilli dip.
● Pinkabet – tiger prawn crispy pork, shrimp paste and Asian veg and okra.
● Mani papaya and peanut salad – made by adding Streetweiss beer, from our beer chums at 40ft Brewery, to a kalamansi lime base. The hoppy bitterness works a treat with the tangy lime!
● Tortang talong – fried eggplant
The prices are very reasonable, the Full Boodle costs £22pp, the Meaty Boodle is £16pp and the Veggie Boodle and Vegan Boodle are £14pp and £16pp respectively. For the amount of food that you get, I think it’s fair, however I personally wasn’t the biggest fan of some of the dishes and it was a fairly massive portion for two of us, so in terms of food wastage I think that perhaps the portion sizes need to be addressed.
My favourites were definitely the fried eggplant, the spring rolls and the ceviche (it was so fresh!), but I didn’t really like the pork belly (I know it was meant to be their centrepiece so I was disappointed that I didn’t like it!), but everything else was great and the salads were a highlight because they were really fresh and a welcome change from some of the fried foods on the plate.
The best thing about this whole experience was the staff and the vibes at the restaurant. It really felt like a family dinner on a Sunday and the staff were so helpful with recommendations and helping us to understand what was what.
If you are ever in the area, I would definitely recommend Rapsa, just make sure you’re either with a group of hungry people or get some small plates to share because food wastage is no fun for anyone!
*My meal at Rapsa Hoxton was kindly gifted, but as always, all opinions are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more info.