A tireless, defiant, politically committed artist and visionary, Lino Brocka (1939-1991) created films that depicted the Philippines in all its beauty and ugliness. He strove to show his country as it really was, but also challenged his audience with the possibility of what it might become.
Brocka's films tackled societal problems through the lens of social realism--the actors in his films were fully immersed in the worlds their characters lived in rather than artificially staged shoots. Scenes set at political rallies were filmed during actual political rallies in the anti-Marcos movement; actors playing construction workers filmed their scenes at actual construction sites.
But perhaps the most subtle, yet powerful, statement of realism in Brocka's films could be found in the frequent use of dialogue scenes taking place during mealtime. Beyond what was spoken between characters, detailed attention to the visual settings of these meals spoke volumes about the characters' relation to society--their class standings, their aspirations, their contradictions. To Lino Brocka, who once worked in the sugar cane fields in Hawaii and as a busboy at a San Francisco diner who had gone months without a complete meal, the dinner table itself was a political battleground.
In celebration of Lino Brocka's birthday (April 3) and in tribute to his vision, this month's menu is inspired by those very scenes in his films, as well as his life as a student, worker, filmmaker and activist. The menu is familiar, straightforward--much like his films--but layered with flavors that may contrast more often than complement each other. With food as in film, the most memorable experiences do not come from manufacturing harmony. Rather, they emerge from exploring and embracing contradiction, which probably explains why Lino Brocka loved Halo-halo.
Taro Leaves, Coconut Cream, Siling Labuyo, Pork, Crostini
Pugita Kinilaw aka Tako Poke aka Ceviche de Pulpo aka Polpo Crudo
Marinated Baby Octopus, Calamansi, Tamarind, Sesame Seed, Scallion
Bangus at Kamatis
Fried Milkfish, Leek, Cherry Tomato, Bagoong
Brined & Banana-Leaf-Roasted Cornish Hen, Lemongrass, Garlic, Bay Leaves
Ube, Leche Flan, Tapioca, Evaporated Milk, Shaved Ice
LINO is a prix-fixe 5-course tasting menu dinner. Reservations and advance payment required. There will be two dinner services, from 500-700pm and 800-1000pm. All ages welcome, with bar & alcoholic drinks available for 21+. Seating limited to 45 per dinner.