GOOD news for food lovers who like to dine buffet style: There’s a new buffet to try, and it’s not just any buffet but one that’s put together by celebrity chef Roland Laudico. It’s called Guevarra’s by Chef Laudico, and it’s right along P. Guevarra corner Argonne St. in San Juan. It’s been on a soft run for four months now, but it formally opened yesterday (July 16, 2013), with Senator JV Ejercito, San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez and Vice Mayor Francis Zamora doing the honors of cutting the ceremonial ribbon.
Guevarra’s is an old, 1920s heritage house that has been transformed into an elegant restaurant by Chef Roland and his wife, Chef Jackie Laudico. After Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino (a Filipino fine dining restaurant in Bonifacio Global City), BFast (a breakfast place in Makati) and a few other earlier food ventures that have turned out to be big successes, the Laudicos came up with another creative concept for another restaurant venture – a buffet restaurant that serves traditional and modern Filipino dishes at an affordable price to give diners the unique experience of simply dining in their grandmother’s house.
“I grew up in Iloilo, and my lolo and lola had this house by the plaza. There was always so much food there, and the atmosphere was always happy. It was like having a fiesta every day. So, we thought, why don’t we share this experience with other people?” explains Chef Jackie.
The next step, after the concept, was to find the perfect place to turn that concept into a reality.
“We were lucky to find this gem of a heritage house along P. Guevarra St., San Juan. It used to be a spa, but the brother of one of the owners was a friend of mine. So when the spa closed, my friend told me about the house and asked if I would want to check it out. I did, and it was perfect for our concept of transforming a heritage house into a buffet restaurant. It was built in the 1920s, and since it was located along P. Guevarra, we thought of calling it Guevarra’s to also in a way pay homage to Pedro Guevarra, who was one of the best statesmen of his time, which happened to be the 1920s,” says Chef Roland.
They had the house painted in white, and, since they retained the old layout of the house, Guevarra’s , as a restaurant, has a lot of private dining areas that can serve as function rooms for small gatherings.
The main attraction of the new restaurant, though, is its food. Since Guevarra’s is a buffet restaurant, it serves buffet lunch and dinner daily, and the buffet is not just any buffet but a buffet of some 60 different dishes that diners can partake of for – hold your breath! – only Php399 (lunch buffet on weekdays), Php499 (dinner buffet on weekdays) and Php599 (dinner buffet on Fridays, lunch buffet and dinner buffet on weekends).
Dishes on the buffet spread, which is a combination of traditional and modern Filipino dishes, plus dishes of foreign origin but which have been adopted by Filipinos as their own, include Kare-Kare Angus Beef, Fried Dory with Mango Curry, Maya-Maya Escabeche, Spicy Beef Kaldereta, Crispy Pork Pochero, Adobo Fried Chicken, Pakbet Bagnet, Grilled Vegetables, Seafood Palabok, Tuyonesca (Puttanesca penne pasta using tuyo or dried salted fish instead of anchovies), Paella Negra, Squid-law (Squid Kinilaw) and Bicol Express Surprise. On weekends, the buffet includes more premium items such as Halabos na Hipon (shrimps) and Chili Crabs.
Lechon is on the carvery, and there is an appetizer section, which includes a Lumpiang Sariwa station, and salads and a choice of dressings.
There is also an extensive selection of desserts on the buffet, including Queso de Bola Cheesecake, Kalabasa Pastillas, Molten Tablea, Sugar-free Panna Cotta, Brigaderos (chocolate bonbons), Ensaymadas, Sugar-free Panna Cotta, Suman Balls, Maja Blanca and a lot of other delicious bites. There’s also a creperie machine at the dessert buffet, so you can have a fresh crepe made for your dessert. Or you can opt for ice cream. Just grab a cone and pull the lever for your own delicious serving of ice cream.
The buffet also includes beverages , with a vendo machine offering different kinds of sodas, plus iced tea.
So you can dine and drink all you want and have your fill.
“Our idea is to give our diners the experience of dining in a five-star hotel, buffet style, but paying only one-third of the price,” says Chef Roland.
Yes, you can really do that at Guevarra’s.
(Guevarra’s by Chef Laudico is located at 387 P. Guevarra corner Argonne St., San Juan; with telephone numbers 705-1826 and 0917-3112222.)