DON PAPA, the Filipino rum making waves abroad, welcomed two chefs and three bartenders from the United Kingdom (UK) for the Dos Chefs and Tres Papas takeover at Poblacion’s Lampara restaurant.

Andrew Clarke is a multi-awarded chef known for his innovations around meat and barbeque, specifically. He is regarded as a mover of the industry, having been in the UK food scene for 25 years. In 2017, he was named the Maverick of the Year at the London Restaurant Festival. Then in 2019, he was honored to receive the Innovation Award from the Craft Guild of Chefs, and later that year he made his way onto the Evening Standard’s Progress 1000 list as one of the most influential Londoners of 2019/2020. He and a partner are behind Acme Fire Cult, which serves up food cooked over live fire.

During dinner on April 13, Mr. Clarke served a main dish made of roast pork, clams, cauliflower, salsa macha, tamarind, and prunes, grilled cabbage, longganisa (local sausage) vinaigrette, capers, and herbs. For his preferred cooking method of live fire (defined as cooking with fire from coals, woods, or open flame), “I think there’s a lot of nuances that you just can’t get in a conventional kitchen. The smoke, the char — you can exceed temperatures that you’re not going to get in a conventional kitchen,” he said. “It’s very primal. It’s the original way we cooked food.”

Mr. Clarke worked that evening with Ferdinand “Budgie” Montoya, a Filipino-Australian champion of Filipino cuisine in London and the lead of the Apoy and Sarap restaurants. The Evening Standard called him “one of London’s most exciting chefs” last year. Furthermore, his recipes have been printed in The Guardian and The Financial Times, among other publications. Both chefs had just concluded a tour of the Philippines, their stops including Bacolod and Negros.

For dinner, Mr. Montoya made Lapu-Lapu and Suahe (prawns) wrapped in Mustasa (mustard greens) in a spicy coconut sauce. He was also in charge of dessert, a Burnt Cassava Cheesecake with Don Papa Caramel, a riff of his mother’s own cassava cake.

Mr. Montoya was raised in Sydney by Filipino parents (although his mother later married a Spaniard). After having a very satisfying dinner at The Fat Duck, Mr. Montoya left a career in information technology (IT) to pursue cooking, which he did when he moved to London 12 years ago (he’s just about to get his UK citizenship, he told us). He first found work at Dean Street Townhouse, then at Restaurant Story, and stints in other restaurants. He shifted to Filipino food because, “I was missing home a little bit.”

He told us the experience of having to reacquaint himself with food he “should” know, as well as the experience of cooking Filipino food with “foreign” hands. “I’ve always said that I have a Filipino soul but I have an Australian heart. I’m neither whole Filipino, and I’m neither whole Australian,” he said. “It’s a very emotional thing for me. I am a person who believes very much that I am Filipino with foreign experiences. Inherently, the food that I do cook in its sole and true identity is Filipino, with interpretations and touches from my experiences.”

Dinner ended with cocktails from a one-night only special menu at Oto, a floor below Lampara, curated by Diageo’s World Class competition winner Matt Arnold, Hoot The Redeemer’s Carrie Smith, as well as Don Papa Rum’s UK Brand Ambassador Callum Whitehead. These included The Irn Papa (Irn-Bru is a Scottish soda, mixed with Don Papa), Short & Stout (a Guinness caramel reduction with Don Papa), and the Wimbledon Blitz, with British strawberries. — JLG