Getting Handsy With Dinner

I've been an unabashed fan of the food at Lamesa Filipino Kitchen pretty much since they opened about 2 years ago at Queen and Bathurst. Chef Rudy Boquila and manager Les Sabilano have put together a team both in the back and front of house who are flawlessly executing a unique dining experience.

I've written about the restaurant twice now for Swallow, so you can read a bit of background here and here. For the first post about them in these pages, I'm going to tell you about one of the best deals going in the city — Lamesa's weekly kamayan dinner. Kamayan is a style of dining popular on Philippine beaches, where everything is transferred from banana leaf to mouth, solely with the hands. In fact, the word actually translates to "with hands".

For $40 a person (drinks, tax and gratuity excluded), you get a ridiculous amount of mouth watering food, presented beautifully, table side, by chef Rudy and his 23 year-old chef de cuisine, Joash Dy. At a traditional kamayan, food is piled at random on the banana leaves, but here, the presentation is far more artful — literally. The chefs build a canvas before diners' eyes, starting with brush strokes of sauces.

There are clams, mussels sisig, garlic fried rice, smoked bangús (milkfish, which is the national fish of the Philippines!), and most importantly, the should-be-world-famous Lamesa adobo fried chicken — for this meal in the form of wings. Check out the photo below for a complete listing of what you get for this bargain price.

Lamesa's Kamayan dinner happens every Sunday night. Reservations are recommended and there's a minimum of two diners needed. But we all know that food tastes better when shared with friends anyway. While you wait for the next Sunday, you can practice your kamayan technique with this video.

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