- Address: 214 Augusta Ave, Toronto
- Visited: 03/23/2016, Dinner, 8 people
- Cuisine: Filipino
- Rating: 4.5 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://www.titorons.com/
Tito Ron’s began in 2015 as a pop-up for Chef Tristen to share her love of lumpia, a filipino spring roll, with Toronto. Run by Chef Tristan and her fiance Michael, Tito Ron’s combines Caribbean flavours with traditional Filipino comfort food. After a year at food festivals and their recent successful Kickstarter campaign, Tristen and Michael have found a permanent home in Kensington market to continue developing their recipes and sharing the delicious results. I was invited Tito Ron’s new digs for an intimate lumpia tasting.
Disclaimer: All food and drinks reviewed below were provided complimentary. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.
Tito Ron’s has moved into the shared space of 214 Augusta Ave, where many other Kensington Market favourites had their start like Seven Lives. The space was cosy with a handful of seats near the back. A chalkboard sign listed the daily menu behind the custom, hand-painted counter. Michael hosted and introduced us to each dish, while Tristen put together each tasty bite. In general, all of the lumpia were crispy with thin wrappers and not too oily. I did prefer the sweet fillings over the savoury ones.
Jerk Chicken Adobo Lumpia – Filling of chicken thighs marinated in jerk seasoning, cooked in a Filipino adobo sauce, served with house hot sauce and achara (pickled pineapple slaw). I would say this was the safest choice on the menu with milder flavours. For me, I enjoyed the lumpia with an added dollop of hot sauce.
Channa Lumpia – Vegetarian friendly filling of chickpea mixed with Caribbean curry, served topped with sweet tamarind bbq sauce and achara. The tamarind flavour in the sauce was strong and went well with the seasoned chickpeas.
Tocino – Sliced pork shoulder, marinated with a combination of pineapple juice and soy sauce to create a wonderful balance of sweet and salty. The pork shoulder was then fried and served as sliders on a Caribbean Tennis Roll. Delicious. The tocino can also be ordered on rice.
Lechon Kawali – Tito Ron’s version of Lechon includes double frying the pork belly skin to maximizes crispiness. Pictured below is a half portion of the Lechon (we had lots of samples to get through).
Purple Plantain Lumpia – Filled with Ube Halaya (a Filipino dessert made with purple yam) and topped with mango condensed milk and plantain chip butter crumble. The filling was sweet, earth and similar to taro. While the topping was a handful to say, it was crunchy, buttery with a hint of the plantain taste. I was reminded of a caramel brittle. While the tropical ingredients were hard to discern, it was amazing.
Sweet Potato Pudding Lumpia – Filled with sweet potato and topped with a spiced coconut caramel drizzle and plantain chip butter crumble. Again, the topping was complex, but similarly mouthwatering. I liked how the lumpia itself wasn’t too sweet, creating a great base for the topping.
In addition to the food, I loved the fresh cantaloup juice, served with a frozen cantaloupe ice cube. Tristen continues to expand and refine Tito Ron’s menu and I can’t wait to see what else she comes up with. Filipino food is still one cuisine that’s beginning to come to life in Toronto and as an eater, I’m eager to learn more about it.