Symphony of Christmas flavors

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Roast Turkey with Castañas and Chorizo.

Chef Laudico Guevarra’s ushers in the festive month of December — and the Christmas season! — by decking the entire house and its spacious yard with glittering red-and-green lights and Santas small and big, even as it also launches its exciting Christmas menu that is sure to whet the appetite of diners this holiday season.

“We are introducing around 32 new and festive dishes this Christmas season. A lot of these dishes are those that we Filipinos like to serve during Christmas, like embutido and lengua.
Some are even my and Chef Jac’s personal favorites,” explains Chef Roland Laudico, who is half of the husband-and-wife team who owns and runs Guevarra’s.

Christmas Pianono.

Chef Roland takes care of the savories, from soups and appetizers to noodles, rice, vegetables, hot dishes, grills and carvings; while Chef Jac focuses on the desserts. Chef Roland’s versions of his favorite Christmas fares are special homemade Embutido Meat Loaf using pork and Lengua ala Pobre with Mushrooms. The latter is slow-braised ox tongue cooked to melt-in-the-mouth tenderness and served with creamy mushroom gravy.

And true to his reputation as an innovative chef who likes to add contemporary twists to classic Filipino dishes, Chef Roland turns out a menu that is full of must-tries, including Adobo Lechon Paella (black squid ink paella topped with pork and chicken adobo and generous chunks of lechon), Steamed Fish Mayonesa (catch of the day, with assorted toppings on seasoned mayonnaise), Roasted Turkey with Castañas and Chorizo (perfectly golden roast turkey stuffed with chestnuts and chorizo), Ngohiong Fried Chicken (five-spice marinated chicken, best eaten with gravy), Pata Hamonado (pineapple-cured fresh pork ham), Orange Chicken Galantina (chicken stuffed with seasoned pork meat in orange sauce), and Lechon Kawali in Taro Sinigang Sauce (crispy pork belly in a tamarind gabi puree).

His pastel has menudo for its filling in a dish called Menudo Pastel Pie (menudo pie covered with pastry crust); and his seared shrimps in coconut binagoongan cream sauce has brandy in it so that it goes by the name Shrimps in Coconut Brandy Sauce.

Chef Roland Laudico welcomes diners to Guevarra’s this Christmas season.

The hot appetizers are particularly interesting, as they are mostly traditional street foods that have been elevated to gourmet status — Street Party Platter (squid ball and fish balls in skewers), Crispy Fried Isaw (crispy chicken intestine), and the most “sosyal” Queso de Bola Croquettes.

There are also three cold appetizers — Ham and Cheese Ensaymada Sandwich (brioche bread ham and cheese sandwich), Pork Dinakdakan (Ilocano style sisig with mayo), and Chef Roland’s favorite Embutido Meat Loaf.

Crispy Puto Bumbong.

Other new items in the buffet are Beef Pochero Soup (beef stew with plantains and garbanzos), Cream of Lettuce and Chicken Chowder, Ala Cubana Rice (tomato rice with ground beef and fried bananas), Creamy Carbonara Spaghetti (classic carbonara with smoked bacon and queso de bola), Baked Macaroni Kaldereta (hmmm… two dishes in one!), Grilled Vegetable Dinengdeng (grilled bangus and vegetables in a flavorful bagoong Balayan sauce), Seafood Chopsuey (seasonal vegetables stir-fry with assorted seafood) and Chicken ala King (creamy chicken stew with ham).

 

As for the desserts, Chef Jac has made sure she’s got all Christmas desserts and sweets covered. Just a rundown can make you salivate: Bibingka (with cheese and salted egg), Crispy Puto Bumbong (steamed purple rice cake balls), Christmas Pianono (jelly cake roll studded with red and green candy sprinkles), Macapuno Pandan Crinkles (coconut sport and screw pine cookies), Crema de Fruta (cake with fruits, cream and gelatin), Cathedral Windows (creamy colorful jelly dessert), Alfajores (butter cookies filled with caramel) and Cheese Cupcakes. What else would anyone wish for?

Adobo Lechon Paella.

All these dishes will make multiple appearances in the buffet spread of Guevarra’s for lunch and dinner until the end of December 2018, but they will be rotated on different days and become part of Guevarra’s regular buffet of 80 Filipino favorites. After all, Guevarra’s is famous for its lunch and dinner buffets, which are priced at P599 net per person on weekdays and P699 net per person on weekends (starting Friday dinner up to Sunday dinner), open from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.

bibingka.

The Christmas menu was launched recently, in conjunction with the symbolic lighting of the Christmas tree in the main dining hall of the restaurant to signify the start of the festive Christmas season at Guevarra’s. A few special friends and members of the media got to witness the lighting of the tree and the Santa decorations, both in the restaurant and out in the sprawling yard of the 1920s house which the restaurant occupies. They also got to taste the new dishes while being serenaded by singers JV Decena and Joaquin Garcia and the choir from Children’s Joy Foundation (CJF), a home for disadvantaged children and beneficiary of Chef Laudico Guevarra’s for several years now.

Chef Laudico Guevarra’s is located at 387 P. Guevarra corner Argonne Streets, San Juan, with telephone numbers 705-1811, 705-1874, and 0917-3112222.

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