Bong Bong’s Manila Kanteen

17th May 2021

Lee Johnson and Sinead Campbell, winners of BBC Two’s My Million Pound Menu, has opened a Filipino street-food concept, Bong Bong’s Manila Kanteen, after pitching their concept to judges on the BBC show.

It has opened open its permanent home in Kerb’s indoor food market at Seven Dials in Covent Garden, after temporary homes at London Bridge and King’s Cross.

Johnson and Campbell use the foundations of Filipino cuisine – using bold flavours such as vinegar, star anise, bay, garlic, ube (purple yam), coconut, mango and calamansi (the citrus fruit native to the Philippines) – at their restaurant, but add their own twist, creating a slightly more accessible version.

Dishes include lechon kawali, which is crispy pork belly with steamed jasmine rice, sesame bean salad, pickled cucumbers and coriander, fish sauce and ginger dressing; adobo-glazed cauliflower served with lime aïoli, spring onion, coriander, chilli, nigella seeds and lime; and crispy pata pancakes served with atchara (traditional pickled vegetables), mang tomas (pork liver) sauce, chicharron, coriander, lime, spring onion and chilli.

Johnson, who grew up in Manilla, and Campbell, from Ireland, first joined forces in 2014 having met as art students. Their food truck business, BBQ Dreamz, saw roaring trade, and their first permanent fixture, which launched in 2019 on Hackney Road, has continued their success.

The couple secured a £375,000 investment on My Million Pound Menu from investor Charlie McVeigh.