Pamana Café and Filipino Restaurant: The Legacy of Filipino Cooking
As I was taking a stroll down Railway St. in Chatswood, I noticed a restaurant with a familiar name: Pamana. My heart skipped a beat—as it always does every time I stumble upon a Filipino establishment in Australia. I am a proud Filipina and anything that offers an introduction to our unique culture brings me joy. As I entered Pamana Café and Filipino Restaurant, I prepared myself for a wonderful Pinoy dining experience. I was ready to be brought back home.
Inspired by the home-cooked meals that she grew up with and loved, Mrs. Josephine Esquivel-Henderson opened Pamana in mid-2014 with the vision of sharing authentic Filipino cuisine to the Australian community. Mrs. Esquivel-Henderson believed that the perfect avenue to pay homage to the family recipes and way of cooking passed from generations before hers was by opening a Filipino restaurant.
The restaurant’s menu is mainly based on the Esquivel’s family recipes. Pamana’s professional chefs, Jun Forcadela and Chandler Geronimo, bring a fresh take on traditional Filipino cuisine. Although some of the dishes had been inevitably modified to adapt to the Australian market, the restaurant strives to stay true to the dishes most Filipinos know by heart.
Pamana did not disappoint. One bite of their kaldereta and I was instantly carried back to my childhood home’s kusina. I could have sworn the kaldereta was meticulously prepared by my lola herself. Kaldereta, a classic Filipino dish, is a tomato-based meat stew traditionally made with liver spread, onions, and bell peppers. Their kaldereta had the right blend of piquant, sweet, sour, and spicy; and the meat was so tender, it melted in my mouth.
Sinigang na bangus sa miso is another must-try. Sinigang na bangus sa miso is milkfish in soy bean broth. After indulging in the rich flavours of kaldereta, sinigang na bangus sa miso, with its light, clean yet savory taste, is the perfect dish to cleanse your palate.
I knew I had almost no room left for dessert, but I couldn’t resist ordering my all-time favorite dessert—halo-halo. I was glad I did! Eating halo-halo always brings back childhood memories. I had tasted numerous variations of halo-halo—from the five-peso kanto halo-halo to Razon’s famous halo-halo—and I must say Pamana’s halo-halo can compare to some of the best.
Among Pamana’s best sellers are spicy sisig, crispy pata, kare-kare, and crispy pork adobo. Apart from traditional Filipino dishes, Pamana also offers exotic Pinoy dishes, such as balut or fermented duck egg. You can also enjoy Pamana’s Boodle Fight Challenge, wherein dishes are served on banana leaves and diners are required to eat with their hands, much like what Filipinos love to do at home. The challenge is available for groups of four and six persons. “We believe that the best way to enjoy Filipino dishes is by sharing it with a good company, as most of our dishes are portioned well for sharing,” stated Mrs. Esquivel-Henderson.
Pamana is one of the few places in Chatswood where most Filipinos will instantly feel at home. With a bright and fresh ambience, Pamana exudes the warm and friendly atmosphere that many Filipino homes are known for. Aside from the delicious food, its highly accessible location and affordable price range will definitely keep me coming back.
Pamana aims to become the go-to Filipino restaurant in Northern Sydney. “It is the restaurant’s goal to increase awareness about the Filipino cuisine in the Australian market,” said Mrs. Esquivel-Henderson. “With only a handful of Filipino restaurants across New South Wales, Pamana offers an opportunity for non-Filipinos to experience the type of food Filipinos love.”
Pamana Café and Filipino Restaurant is located at 7 Railway St., Chatswood, NSW. For inquiries and reservations, you may call 02 9884 7104.