The Story of Sizzling Fillo: An authentic Filipino restaurant based in Australia

Being an entrepreneur is a challenging yet rewarding journey. It is a 24/7 job that requires passion, dedication, commitment, and a clear vision. Combine it with your “diskarte” and you can become a successful entrepreneur, no matter where you are in the world.

One of the most successful small businesses is Sizzling Fillo. It’s a small business based in Australia that offers authentic Filipino cuisine such as crispy pata, tortang talong, and many more. Read their story below…

How Sizzling Fillo started

Nina Cruz, a 40-year-old Filipino entrepreneur and head chef based in Sydney, Australia, has been managing Sizzling Fillo Restaurant for 10 years now. Nina graduated with a degree in tourism and started her career as a college instructor. Later on, she acquired an advanced diploma in hospitality. 

She took the leap and went to Australia way back in 2004. There, she started working in the hospitality industry for two years and had a normal office job for six years. 

Source: Nina Cruz, Sizzling Fillo

Nina and her business partner, Ann Calayag, started running Sizzling Fillo in 2012. 

“At that time, there weren’t enough Filipino restaurants across Sydney and being expatriates ourselves, we kind of understand the feeling of homesickness; and what better way to fill that missing void than a good Pork Sinigang, Crispy Pata and Sisig!” says Nina. 

And while she’s getting her business off the ground, she continued working with her office job for two more years. Being eager that she is, Nina went back to school and took up a degree in hospitality. She wanted to learn how to handle a restaurant effectively and to become a qualified chef as well. Yes, she took her business seriously. 

The struggles

But of course, what’s a business without a challenge? Nina has been through her fair share of ordeals. Being a Filipino entrepreneur in a foreign country is more than taxing enough. Moreover, Sizzling Fillo specializes in Filipino cuisine which is quite a tough sell in a foreign country.

As Nina mentioned, “We faced different challenges every day; from sourcing stocks (being a Filipino restaurant in Sydney) to staffing, meeting customer demands, etc. – but the most challenging of all is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In all the challenges we’ve faced, we always tend to have a plan B, and it came in handy during this very trying time. We have learned to adapt, be flexible, and think out of the box to be able to keep up with the drastic changes that took place in the last 2 years.”

Read more: 6 Pandemic-proof Business Ideas in the Philippines

Source: Nina Cruz, Sizzling Fillo

How’s Sizzling Fillo today?

Running a business is never easy, no matter where you are. Fortunately, Sizzling Fillo has managed to overcome its challenges and has become the longest-standing authentic Filipino restaurant in Australia. 

“We have been serving authentic Filipino cuisine to our patrons for a decade now and to be honest, it’s surreal that we have been operating for 10 long years already.” says Nina. 

Source: Nina Cruz, Sizzling Fillo

Sizzling Fillo is the very first to introduce the boodle feast in Australia. A boodle feast is a traditional eating method featuring your favorites like crispy pata, tortang talong, barbeque, seafood, rice, and many more—served on top of banana leaves. They are now known as the Boodle Feast Capital of Australia because of their unique style and amazingly tasty food!

They have always been committed to providing great tasting authentic Filipino food and never stopped reinventing to suit the taste of diverse communities in Australia. 

It all started with craving Filipino food and now turned into a Filipino restaurant. It’s living proof that everything is possible with hard work and commitment or sometimes, a craving!

Nina’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs

To all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there, here’s a little piece of advice from Nina:

“Being your own boss sounds grand but behind every successful business requires a lot of patience and hard work, and the first 3 years would always be the hardest but you just have to brave on and remind yourself why you chose to start in the first place. And always keep in mind: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius”

Read more: Six Tips to Become a Successful Entrepreneur

Source: Nina Cruz, Sizzling Fillo

Final thoughts

Starting a business can seem like a daunting task, but being able to survive and find success in it is on another level of difficulty. Just like what Nina had mentioned, she is one of the many who have been affected by the economic and social disruption brought about by the pandemic. 

A business will certainly not remain unchallenged so long as it’s running. After all, being an entrepreneur is not an effortless task, but rather, one that requires patience and resilience in the face of uncertainty and change. 

Adapt, innovate, stay ahead of the curve, and start believing. Progress is still progress, keep moving forward. 

Support Sizzling Fillo by following them on Social Media!

Facebook: @sizzlingfillo
Instagram: @sizzlingfillo



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