After a scorching start to the day, the Gods changed their minds in the afternoon and threw a bucket of water on weekend revellers last night (February 1). The bad weather made for a perfect excuse to stay at home, but at the dinner invite of the owners of Sizzling Fillo, a Filipino restaurant in Lidcombe, I picked up my car keys and braved the torrential rain.
On arrival, my friend and I were treated to a reserved table in the middle of the room. The table stuck out like a neon light because it was the only empty table in the restaurant (we arrived late for our 8pm booking). Within five minutes our host served us a massive plate of pancit (Filipino noodles), tocino (Filipino style cured meat) on a sizzling plate and garlic fried rice. Just for the garlic fried rice alone, the half-hour drive during the downpour was well worth it.
Then came one of the highlights of the evening: the restaurant’s crispy pata, nicknamed “the pork that rocks” by a restaurant reviewer from the Sydney Morning Herald. Yes, you shouldn’t have it everyday but on the occasion that you want to enjoy Filipino cuisine, you can’t go past this dish: deep-fried pork that is cooked super-crispy and complemented with a special sauce made of soy and chopped onions.
I cannot recommend the crispy pata at other Filipino restaurants in Sydney as they’ve largely been hit-and-miss but the one at Sizzling Fillo was exactly how crispy pata should be: not chewy, not oily, not overcooked. Just right.
The pleasant surprise was that the night also happens to be the Urbanstar Acoustic Jam night. While we were eating, we were entertained by the musical stylings of incredibly talented artists: young, hopeful and passionate about their craft.
See more videos on Youtube: AustralianFilipina
Singing is like breathing to Filipinos. We are exposed to it from the day we’re born, the interest nurtured by our family and friends at parties and family events when we’re growing up, then those who get the calling, those who show real talent from a young age, go on to pursue a musical career.
Seeing these young artists enjoy the night, jamming with their friends, singing classic RnB music tugged at my heart. They sang until well past closing time, performing a medley that featured Barry White, Justin Bieber, Amy Winehouse and more. Calvin Orosa (see Youtube video) was a standout for manning the piano and impressing the audience with his solid rendition of 1990s RnB.
Maybe at least one person in that room will become big someday (a few of them already have a strong following), all of them will be successful in whatever endeavours they choose to pursue, but that one night, while the weather outside was an absolute mess, the stars were shining inside. I look forward to seeing Urbanstar's Acoustic Jam become a regular Friday night thing at the venue.
You can watch the artists live at the URBANSTAR Talent Quest, next Saturday (February 8) at the Parramatta RSL Club. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Sizzling Fillo Restaurant
36 Railway Street, Lidcombe (near train station)
Open Tues-Sun 02 9649 7949
Facebook: Sizzling Fillo
Photo credits: Marco Selorio, www.maspresents.com