When In Manila, make a choice for your favorite food that suits your lifestyle perfectly. Rockwell Center is a perfect place not just to shop but find good eats for your satisfaction. Tucked in the middle of Rockwell is LuLu Restaurant, a restaurant known to have been the place where President Noy and Grace Lee once dated in the better days. Looks like a good date idea for couples who do not want to be bothered isn’t it? More than being a good place to have a date, good food is at the premium here. Together with my co-writer Jo Tan, her husband and blogger Mark Tan, her Mom and my Mom, we immediately got to business of food tasting. We were lucky enough to have been joined by Chef Tom Hines, the mind behind these innovative cuisine.
LuLu Restaurant’s Vegetarian Appetizer: Zucchini Blossom Tempura
Smoked Tinapa and Crab Cake, food innovation from LuLu Restaurant
Zucchini Blossom Tempura? You heard it right! Tempura is known to be mainly seafood but for this, they used flowers or “blossom” of what we know as patola in Tagalog. Zucchini’s relative’s flower, the squash, has also been used in cooking but the zucchini flower has a richer flavor, especially when Davao Goat Cheese was added as filling. Together with tempura, we also had Smoked Tinapa and Crab Cake. Yes, it is tinapa or smoked fish chopped and mixed with crab meat as filling. This is one of their innovative cuisine that fuses local flavors with international recipes, though the owners are apprehensive with using the term “fusion cuisine” for food at LuLu Restaurant might be new but still familiar to the tastes of both foreign and local.
My favorite LuLu Restaurant innovation, Argentinian Empanada
LuLu Restaurant’s signature dips for Mezze with Pita Bread
Innovative recipes are a common theme in LuLu Restaurant‘s menu and my personal favorite is the Argentinian Empanada. We have always been familiar of empanadas especially the famous Ilocos Empanada but the Argentinian version has a stronger meat taste. Argentinian beef is known globally for distinctive taste, blending well with our local recipe. This was coupled with a Roasted Tomato Chimmichurri Dip. For a lighter dish, we also tried out their LuLu Mezze or pita bread with choice dips of Hummus Beiruti, Salade Olivier and my favorite among the dips, Roasted Eggplant.
Classic Mac and Cheese, with a truffle twist by LuLu Restaurant
LuLu Restaurant’s version of Trofie Carbonara
Mac and Cheese was never my favorite nor would I like to eat it, but put truffles in it? Add to that five kinds of cheeses which does away with a monotone in flavor I usually associate with the dish. Mac and Cheese is a LuLu Restaurant Favorite and so was mine too! Boring dish? Not anymore! Its related pasta dish, Trofie Carbonara, also with truffles, was another favorite. What is a trofie anyway? Trofie is a kind of pasta which is very much unfamiliar to Filipinos unlike other kinds of pasta like spaghetti, macaroni and fettuccine. This Trofie Carbonara goes well mixed with chicken and wild mushrooms.
Green Tea Salmon served with Lemon Mashed Potato
Grilled Chicken Supreme with LuLu Restaurant’s twist of Shiraz
Say cheers to Green Tea Salmon and Chicken Supreme! When I try out restaurants, I would usually take note of their fish and chicken dishes and good thing they have these two. Tuna and Salmon are my top choice of fish and surely LuLu Restaurant‘s Green Tea Salmon attracted my attention since it was cooked Sous-Vide. In this method of cooking popularized by the French, a piece of salmon was placed inside a sturdy airtight plastic bag and immersed in warm water in hours to tenderize. This ensures that the salmon remains intact even when cooked and juicy. Japanese Green Tea was added to add aroma to the dish. What’s the deal with their Chicken Supreme? It was cooked adobo-style with Shiraz added for extra flavor. Born in a city that is home to the original chicken Inasal recipe and several other chicken recipes, it passed my taste standard of being juicy and flavorful.
Ultimate Pork Chop, an ultimate goodness from LuLu Restaurant
Lamb Shank with Lemon Vermicelli Rice
Since food experience must be ultimate, LuLu Restaurant’s Ultimate Pork Chop was served. Forget about the overcooked pork chop, this one’s soft, juicy and retains the freshness of meat. In order to balance the saltiness, it is served with mashed sweet potatoes. The Lamb Shank at Lulu Restaurant is a wonder! One of the toughest meat to tenderize, a piece of choice lamb shank was cooked sous vide for twelve hours! Out came one of the juiciest lambs I have ever tasted with bone marrow intact. The meat falls off the bone and is very tender, good even for the oldies with weaker teeth.
Lemon Glazed Cheesecake, Dark Chocolate Tear and Butterscotch Apple Pie
LuLu Restaurant’s new dessert offering, Coconut Creme Brulee
Just as you think everything is done, make room for not just one dessert, but desserts! On the list was a Dessert Sampler of three amazing desserts from Lulu Restaurant‘s. The first one I tasted was the Lemon Glazed Cheesecake that has yogurt as one of the main ingredients. Awesome! More awesome though is the Dark Chocolate Tear that is not only name because it is shaped like a tear but would really make you have tears of joy. I almost shed tears for who wouldn’t while eating big chunks of premium dark chocolate? The dessert classic, Butterscotch Apple Pie, would never fail you. I am a fan of apple pies and I wish I had more but make room for Coconut Creme Brulee. Ah, it was a flavorful rest from the sugar rush and induced my appetite for more desserts.
More chocolate offerings from LuLu Restaurant with Chocolate Mousse…
…and even more with Chocolate Indulgence Sugar Free
Just as when you thought that Chocolate Tear was enough chocolate for the night, there is more! Chocolate Mousse topped with strawberries and my favorite dessert for the night – LuLu Restaurant’s Chocolate Indulgence. Before you cringe, the good news is that it’s Sugar Free! This is not the usual chocolate cake, it has layers that have unique flavors in harmony. My dessert philosophy goes that desserts should never be too sweet and this restaurant’s The Grand Finale selection of desserts was an experience worth going back to in LuLu Restaurant, especially with a date! It was indeed a grand finale for the night.
When In Manila, and want to treat your special someone for a sumptuous dinner date, drive down to LuLu Restaurant at Rockwell Center in Makati City for they would make your date extra special.
G/F South Joya Tower, Joya Drive
Rockwell Center, Makati City
WhenInManila photos by JoTan23 with República Negrense.