If you’re looking for a delicious and modern take on Filipino cuisine, be sure to check out Kubô Wood-Fired Kitchen in Singapore. Led by the talented Chef Kurt Sombero, this restaurant is a top pick for anyone seeking an authentic culinary adventure.

Chef Kurt’s Filipino heritage and techniques are prominent in every dish, from the old favourites to the two new dishes on the menu. Kubô’s aim is to make Filipino cuisine more accessible and celebrate the diverse flavours of the archipelago.

Homely decors and sharing meals in Kubo makes it feel like you’re sharing a meal together with your friends and family

The Pugon

The heart of the restaurant is the traditional brick oven or pugon, which adds a distinct flavour to every dish. The pugon, located in the centre of the kitchen, is in full view for diners to watch as their meals get smoked, steamed, and grilled to perfection. The pugon adds an intangible last ingredient to every dish and represents the perfect harmony of heat, smoke, steam, and fragrance.

The signatures, such as the Inasal Mid-Wings, Sisig, and House-Aged Duck, continue to be treated with the pugon’s delicious smokiness. To fully appreciate the effects of the pugon, we recommend the Smoked Tea & Pandan ($10), which is a sweet and earthy black tea topped with pandan foam, and infused with a distinct smokiness.

Similarly, the Leche Flan Bon Bon ($15) also exhibits the same smokiness that can only be achieved with the pugon. It is inherently a bon bon with a white chocolate casing filled with sweet vanilla custard, and topped with one smoked blueberry. The sweetness of both the mocktail and dessert amplified the aroma of the smokiness. While I found these very enjoyable, the unorthodox flavours of smoked desserts may not suit everyone’s palate.

Contemporary Filipino dishes

Instead, let’s talk about the dishes that hold more familiar flavours. We’ll start with the House-aged Duck ($42). Cooked two ways, the breast is grilled and served atop a pool of carrot puree, while the thigh is confit. Choosing a favourite between the two was difficult. The breast was tender, with a hint of smokiness bestowed upon it by the pugon. Aging the meat also resulted in a crispier skin. Meanwhile, the duck confit was fall-off-the-bones. Tough choice, but my vote went to the breast.

Sisig ($25) is a popular Filipino dish that features parts of the pig’s head, such as the cheeks and ears. Some households might add in pork belly and chicken liver for more flavours, but Kubo does it a little differently. They only utilise pork cheeks, and flavour it with salted egg sauce. The dish is rich, umami, with a touch of freshness from the herbs.

We ate this with the flatbread it was served with. While you can never go wrong with fatty meats and salted egg sauce, the flatbread was a godsend. It was warm, it was fluffy, it had a nice char. Sure, it was the perfect vehicle to down the sisig, but I could very well eat half a dozen of it by itself.

A bite for everyone

Now, we start threading into unfamiliar waters — the Pork Longganissa ($20). While longganissa is a popular type of sausage in Filipino cuisine, Kubo deconstructed the dish into a brand new form. Firstly, the longganissa patty is cooked hamonado-style, marinated in a sweet and tangy sauce which tenderises the meat and balances the intense savoury notes of the meat. To complicate the dish, it’s layered with a tangy pickled cucumber, and a toasty potato bread. The final touch was a cured egg, and ikura for pops of umami.

This was truly a flavour explosion. So potent, so complex… It does get a little too overwhelming after the first few bites though, so you should definitely share this with someone.

On par with the longganissa, was the Homemade Cassava Crackers ($10). This is no regular chips and dip. The dip is a mix of smoked eggplant and miso, topped with tobiko. The umami and earthy flavours are expected from the combination of ingredients, but somehow, this resembled uni. Underneath all the umami flavours was a hint of astringency, and a bit of the ocean. It was confusing, and it’ll make you wonder why there wasn’t more dip for the humongous cassava chips…

Cassava is a type of root vegetable. These chips are unseasoned to accommodate for the flavourful dip.

Other sharing dishes to get are the TikTok-viral Pork Cheek Chicharron ($12), Insal Mid-wings ($12), and Honeycomb Tripe ($12).

While tripe is usually prepared soft and chewy, Kubos’ Honeycomb Tripe has the perfect crisp to it.

The next best spot for date night

Overall, Kubô Wood-Fired Kitchen is a must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic and contemporary Filipino culinary experience. Chef Kurt’s Filipino heritage and techniques shine through in their menu, and I love how the smokiness from the pugon turns out differently in every dish.

Kubo

Location: 80 Mohamed Sultan Rd, #01-12 The Pier at Robertson, Singapore 239013
Tel: +65 9645 8436
Opening hours:
Monday: Closed
Tue-Fri: 5:30-10pm
Sat-Sun: 12-3pm, 5:30-10pm

*This article is written in partnership with Kubo, but all opinions are of my own

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