Finally, Pinoy Food at The Great Tasti Cafe in Lower Hutt

The lack of Filipino restaurants in the city and my limited ability to cook Filipino foods compelled me and my foodie friend Eirenne to travel 40 minutes by bus to Lower Hutt a week ago. It was a very pleasant journey as bus 91 from Courtenay Place took us directly to Centre City Plaza where The Great Tasti is located. However, I was perplexed when we arrived at the cafe. 

I personally thought that we were misled because the cafe didn't have any Filipino food on display and there was no obvious sign that they served Asian food. I was ready to leave the place very disappointed when Eirenne saw photos of Filipino dishes at the bottom of the menu board. Phew. So we told the lady at the counter that we were there for some Filipino food and she obligingly instructed us to take our seat. And then our Pinoy food adventure began.

Eirenne and I got really excited when we saw the menu. Unfortunately, they only had selected dishes available during that time. But it was okay because they had what we were both craving for.

Also, the servings were less than what I am used to back in London but for NZ$11.50 per meal, it was well worth it. Besides, we like trying on different dishes (and eating cakes after) so their serving size is ideal for voracious eaters like us. 

Of all the pinoy foods that we were craving for, sisig was on top of our list and The Great Tasti's sisig definitely satisfied that craving. Sans the pig's ears, it was (still) appetizing.    

My eyes grew big when I saw lechon kawali on the menu. I love, love crunchy pork skin and this one didn't disappoint. The meat was tender and the pork skin was deliciously crunchy. This is a must.

I have always been a fan of lechon paksiw and I was so happy to have it at the Great Tasti for the first time in a long time. Their lechon paksiw was perfectly cooked. It was seriously delicious.

Now, if there is one Filipino meal that I would rather have any time of the day, it would be one of the "silogs" (longsilog, tapsilog and tocilog) and I'm glad that  they are served all day at The Great Tasti. Eirenne and I both ordered the longsilog. Their longganisa was sweet and tasty (just what I was hoping for) and I love that it came with two eggs. The only thing that didn't meet my expectation was the rice. It was boiled rather than sinangag. But they can be easily forgiven for that because the longganisa was amazing.

We were also glad to know that they actually sell frozen goods. Now we can enjoy traditional Filipino breakfast in the comfort of our own home. 
Tocino and Longganisa NZ$13.50, Tapa NZ$15.50

The best part of my experience at The Great Tasti was actually meeting the owner, Kuya Roy. He was uber friendly and enthusiastic. His energy was contagious. I suppose we were lucky because the cafe was not busy when we went there so we had his attention all to ourselves. He was happy to chat with us and serve us. He even took a number of photos in different angles. And then he proudly told us a few things about the cafe.

According to Kuya, the cafe originally only served continental foods. They only started serving Pinoy foods two or three years ago if I remember it right. In my opinion, this is a very good move because after so many years,  Filipino cuisine hasn't really taken off anywhere abroad. I guess their cafe won't be as successful as it is now if they only served Filipino foods. So, well done Kuya!

More than the good food was the great service that we received from the owners of The Great Tasti. Indeed, "The Great Tasti is great food, great taste and great service". In fact, "it's just great". We will definitely be back for more very soon. I already have laing and krispy pata in mind. :)

Thank you Kuya and Ate for the warm welcome.
The Great Tasti
Centre City Plaza
43 Queen's Drive
Lower Hutt, Wellington
Deliveries also available

tintin x


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