Merrymaking in the Philippines has always been as much about the food as it is about the drinking. It’s about finding the right chibog or pulutan for the alcoholic flavor of the night. Chef Luigi Muhlach offers a chance to explore plenty of possible pairings in his new restaurant LUMU Beerhouse and Filipino Kitchen.
Colorful, flavorful, and generous, this restaurant is a reflection of Muhlach’s philosophy about pleasure and food. His menu is unapologetically filled with greasy and cholesterol-laden traditional Filipino comfort food. We’re talking dishes ranging from the classic kaldereta and kare-kare to the high blood-inducing sisig and sinuglaw (pork and fish ceviche). It sends a clear message: you eat here to have a good time.
And have a good time there I did. I got to try a handful of their bestsellers such as the sizzling chicken dinakdakan, Patty’s sinuglaw (pork and tuna ceviche), and LUMU A-bangers sampler (a platter of different longganisa).
The dinakdakan is just like everyone’s favorite sisig except it has white meat and has a bit more of heat. That familiarity of the flavor, though, and the tenderness of the meat made it a hit with my family (when I shared my takeaway at home). Personally, I liked Patty’s sinuglaw better. It was like eating a meat salad because the ginger and the chilis made for playful, bright, and refreshing flavors.
And then they served me their Hardcore Kambingan Sampler. Oh yes. Other than being a haven for all of Filipino cuisine’s guilty pleasures, LUMU also prides itself as Makati’s certified kambingan. Full-disclosure, I was skeptical about it at first. Being part Batangueña, I know how tricky preparing goat meat can be and how bad it can taste if cooked wrong. Three goat dishes–namely gotong Batangas, papaitan, and kilawin–later, and I must say chef Muhlach does live up to the task. The goto could’ve been thicker though, but that’s just me.
All of this food can be paired with some pretty amazing drinks. You can opt for sweet non-alcoholic beverages like their Mango Yakult or Sago’t Gulaman Overload. The mango Yakult is a milky fruity concoction perfect for kids with pearls that burst in your mouth like little bubbles. You can also go all out and order a big (and I mean as big as your head) glass of their Frozen Weng Weng or a bucket of their Mucho Beers.
So. All that said, what’s your pairing?
Writer: ANTHEA REYES
PHOTOGRAPHY PATRICK SEGOVIA