First Bite: Filipino Food Arrives
FOB Kitchen brings a subtle Southeast Asian touch to Oakland.
Comforting, not challenging, the Filipino cuisine at FOB Kitchen is as seductive as its charming staff. My early experience with Filipino restaurant food was greasy and forgettable, but the Southeast Asian cuisine has earned its due, with pop-ups transforming into established hot spots turning out fresh, creative fare.
Taking over the wildly popular Indian-inspired Juhu Beach Club three months ago, the decor here, like the food, is more subdued but equally intriguing. A curry-like adobo (choose the coconut milk preparation) brings tongue-tender knobs of pork in a creamy broth that practically begs to be married with the steaming side of white rice. A stack of fat ribs, glazed dark as chocolate and with a subtle coffee bitterness, is draped with whole wilted scallions. And an eggplant salad—vinegary enough to cut through the rich meats—is a textural delight, strewn with jicama cubes and ethereal rice crackers.
All the appetizers, including classic and crispy sausage-stuffed lumpia, are shareable. The colorful bar offers great kitchen views, as well as craft cocktails and fruit-forward wines to match the tropical flavors. At brunch, don’t miss the Filipino omelets and house-made spam.
5179 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, (510) 817-4169. fobkitchen.com. Brunch Sat.–Sun, dinner Wed.–Fri.