Kabalen Restaurant

Home-style Filipino food and a friendly atmosphere in Karama

From Time Out Dubai Eating Out 2011

It’s difficult not to fall for the charms of this tiny but terrific Filipino eatery, located in the heart of bustling Karama. The decor feels immediately cosy; with bright yellow walls, colourful tablecloths and knick-knacks straight out of nana’s kitchen. This homely quality doesn’t just end with the furnishings – it extends to the food too. Kabalen does straightforward, home-cooked fodder, expertly incorporating the relatively simple ingredients of Filipino cooking.

The friendly waitress will do her best to navigate you through the slightly confusing menu, but we suggest diving straight in and being adventurous. Kick things off with some moreish lumpia spring rolls, followed by a tinolang manok chicken and ginger stew – a dish that feels like a product of a generations-old family recipe. You can’t really go wrong with the sinigang or adobos, and the seafood is particularly good. Almost everything on the menu here has a fresh and playful quality. All in all, Kabalen is a true original; proof that some good things really do come in small packages.

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