CRAVING for embutido but you want menudo and lengua at the same time? Thinking of feasting on pata hamonado but you’d love to have roast turkey or chicken galantina as well? Wondering if you can have your bibingka and puto bumbong and eat crema de fruta, too?
Normally, when you are at home, you cannot do that. You simply have to choose and either cook the dish or dishes of your choice or order from a reputable restaurant that offers them. But, hey, it is Christmas and you have an excuse to enjoy your food! The restaurants, especially buffet restaurants like Chef Laudico Guevarra’s, are ready.
Known for its extensive but affordable Filipino lunch and dinner buffets, Chef Laudico Guevarra’s is all decked in holiday style, both inside and outside the restaurant, and even out in the garden, to set the festive mood for a good holiday meal. As for the meal itself, the restaurant also comes prepared, with Chefs Roland and Jackie Laudico whipping up 30-plus Christmas dishes that will be rotated on different days and enjoyed for the entire yuletide season.
“We prepared items that are popular during Christmas, like lengua, roast turkey, embutido, fish mayonesa. Some of these are Christmas staples in our house, traditional items that people look for during Christmas,” explains Chef Roland, better known as simply Chef Lau, who takes care of the savories while Chef Jac is in charge of dessert.
Covering all aspects of the buffet spread, the Christmas dishes include soups, hot and cold appetizers, rice, pasta or noodles, vegetables, main courses, grills and carvings, and desserts.
There are two choices of soups in Beef Pochero Soup (beef stew with plantain bananas and garbanzos) and Cream of Lettuce and Chicken Chowder (creamy chicken soup with lettuce puree).
The hot appetizers are very interesting, with assorted fried street food favorites in skewers called Street Party Platter, Crispy Fried Isaw (chicken intestines) and Queso de Bola Croquettes (Edam cheese croquettes with a surprise filling). Three cold appetizers—Ham and Cheese Ensaymada Sandwich (brioche bread ham and cheese sandwich), Embutido Meat Loaf (special homemade pork meatloaf) and Pork Dinakdakan (Ilocano style sisig with mayonnaise)—share stellar billing.
Rice, which is important in any Filipino meal, comes in the forms of Adobo Lechon Paella (black squid ink paella topped with squid, pork and chicken adobo) and Ala Cubana Rice (tomato rice with ground beef and fried bananas). Pasta and pancit, carbo-rich dishes which Filipinos also love, are also represented in Creamy Carbonara Spaghetti (classic carbonara with smoked bacon and queso de bola) and Baked Macaroni Kaldereta (baked mac with beef kaldereta).
For the main courses, the selections that will rotate in the Christmas buffet spread are Lengua ala Pobre with Mushrooms (slow-braised ox tongue with creamy mushroom gravy), Lechon Kawali in Taro Sinigang Sauce (crispy pork belly in tamarind gabi puree), Menudo Pastel Pie (menudo meat pie in pastry crust), Chicken ala King (creamy chicken stew with ham), Shrimps in Coconut Brandy Sauce (seared shrimps in coconut binagoongan cream sauce) and Steamed Fish Mayonesa (catch of the day with assorted toppings on seasoned mayonnaise).
The festive mood extends to the grills and carvings that are featured this Christmas season—Orange Chicken Galantina (chicken stuffed with seasoned pork meat in orange sauce), Roasted Turkey with Castañas and Chorizo (roast turkey with chestnut and chorizo stuffing), Ngohiong Fried Chicken (five-spice marinated chicken with gravy) and Pata Hamonado (pineapple-cured fresh pork ham). Whichever is at the carving station on the day of your visit will certainly be worth the extra calories you take in. There’s also classic Lechon and Balamban (roast pork belly) to look forward to.
To balance the buffet selections this Christmastime, Guevarra’s injects healthy vegetable dishes in, including Grilled Vegetable Dinengdeng (grilled bangus and vegetables in a flavorful Balayan bagoong sauce) and Seafood Chopsuey (stir-fried seasonal vegetables with assorted seafood).
Finally, dessert! It is the favorite part of the meal of a lot of people, especially when it comes to buffets, because the choices are seemingly endless. Gracing the dessert buffet spread this season are festive desserts created by Chef Jackie Laudico, such as Bibingka (coconut cake with cheese and salted egg), Crispy Puto Bumbong Balls (steamed purple rice cake cooked in bamboo tubes, usually served with butter, sugar and grated coconut, but this time given a different twist), Crema de Fruta (cake with fruits, cream and gelatin), Christmas Pianono (jelly cake roll), Cathedral Window (creamy colorful jelly dessert), Macapuno Pandan Crinkles (coconut sport and screwpine cookies), Alfajores (butter cookies filled with caramel) and Cheese Cupcakes (moist cupcakes with tender-crisp cheesy top).
This Christmas buffet menu was launched via a Christmas tree lighting ceremony followed by entertainment provided by singers JV Decena and Joaquin Garcia with the choir of Children’s Joy Foundation (CJF) as guests had their fill of Guevarra’s Christmas offerings. Incidentally, CJF, which houses disadvantaged children, has been a beneficiary of Guevarra’s for several years.
The Christmas items will form part of Guevarra’s lunch and dinner buffets, priced at Php599net per person on weekdays and Php699net per person on weekends (Friday dinner up to Sunday dinner). Service hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., 1:00 to 4:00p.m., and 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. For inquiries and reservations, call (02) 7051811, (02) 705 1874 or 0917-3112222.
(Chef Laudico Guevarra’s is located at 387 P. Guevarra corner Argonne streets, Addition Hills, San Juan City.)