Lugang Cafe is the offshoot of Bellagio, a Taiwanese restaurant chain which first opened in Shanghai in 2001, bringing with it a combination of authentic Taiwanese cuisine with a modern and vibrant restaurant design. Since then, it has grown its China operations to include outlets in key cities such as Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Najing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Wuhan, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Xiamen, Quanzhou and Galaxy Macau.
Outside China, it is known as Lugang Cafe, currently with 7 branches in the Philippines, and recognition as a recipient of Philippine Tatler’s 100 Best Restaurant Awards.
Walking in to Lugang Cafe’s O Square branch in Greenhills Shopping Center, I can’t help but be impressed by its sleek, contemporary yet decidedly Asian decor. It has floor-to-ceiling windows that let in lots of natural light (great for food photography!) and even allows passersby to peek at the chefs at work in the kitchen. It has distinctive wall art, fixtures and furnishings that give the place a luxurious and premium look and feel, quite a departure from the usual down-home (and sometimes shabby-looking) Chinese restaurants.
Even though the place was packed with the Sunday lunch crowd, we were lucky to find ourselves a table with the help of a very accommodating hostess. There was a frenetic kind of energy to the place, what with the servers rushing here and there and the din of clanging utensils from the diners.
For my Sunday lunch together with Hubby and my daughter #ExhibitA, we ordered an array of dishes that showcase Lugang’s penchant for carefully selected ingredients imported from China, cooked fresh (with no chemical additives), and developed by the 14 world-class chefs it employs.
Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao (Php268 – 8 pieces). Did you know that in China, making Xiao Long Bao, also known as the soup dumpling for the flavorful pork skin broth that accompanies the pork leg meat inside the fine, delicate hand-rolled skin, is considered an art form? Lugang’s take on this challenging dish results in a very light and delicious dumpling that whets the appetite for more.
Steamed Vegetable and Pork Dumplings (Php268 – 8 pieces). A lighter take on the usual pork dumplings as the meat has to share the limelight with some greens.
Steamed Pan Fried Siopao (Php268). Another departure from the run-of-the-mill cuisine, this version of the steamed siopao has bottom which has been seared to a crisp texture, adding an interesting contrast in texture to the light fluffy bun that envelopes the meaty filling.
Spicy Beef and Tendon Noodles Soup (Php320). Tender choice cut beef sirloin slices and melt-in-your-mouth tendons are accompanied by a savory and spicy broth and firm handmade noodles (that I had trouble cutting with my soup spoon, hahaha!) and topped with aromatics. This is definitely something I would want to sip on during cold rainy days.
Pineapple Fried Rice (Php320). A twist on the regular fried rice, with cashew nuts adding texture and pineapple bits lending some sweetness to the dish. Although it went well with the viands we ordered, I think this rice is a bit too oily for my taste.
Beef Tenderloin with Crispy Garlic (Php680). A new dish offered by Lugang first introduced in this very branch last year, it features tender cuts of beef braised in a flavorful garlic sauce, quite a flavor grenade!
Fried Prawns with Oats (Php580). Humongous prawns covered in an oat-filled batter and deep-fried to a golden brown. While it has an interesting texture, I think that the oats do not do much to enhance the prawns’ taste.
All in all, our Sunday lunch at Lugang Cafe introduced us to a host of absorbing new tastes and textures, as well as wowed us with the luxurious restaurant interiors. We definitely wouldn’t mind returning and revisiting our favorites or trying out the other dishes being offered.
Which brings us to…
Lugang Cafe’s UlTEAmate Feast
From August 28 to September 28, weekdays at 2.30 to 5.30pm, diners can eat all the Steamed Pork Xiao Long Baos their hearts desire, together with other unlimited dumplings, for only Php298 per person at all Lugang Cafe branches. For more details, visit Lugang’s Facebook Page.
I might have some difficulty availing of this offer – what with work schedules and all – but take heart, I vow to find a way!
Lugang Cafe’s Lauriat Feast
Did you know Lugang can deliver platters and packed meals with your favorite Taiwanese dishes right at your doorstep? Check out the price list and delivery branches here.
This Lugang Cafe branch is located at Ground Floor, O’Square, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan City. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 906 2176217. Other branches are located at:
- Level 1, Main Mall, South Arcade, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City (Tel: +63 906 2176216)
- 2/F The Block SM North Edsa, Pag-asa 1, Quezon City (Tel: +63 2 3328725 or +63 915 7469693)
- Skypark, Level 5, SM Aura Premier, 26th Street corner Mckinley Parkway, Taguig City (Tel: +63 2 5195663 or +63 906 4555873)
- Glorietta 2, G/F, The New Ayala Center, Makati City (Tel: +63 2 4033303 or +63 906 4555879)
- F Fashion Hall, Bldg D, SM Megamall Edsa cor. J. Vargas, Brgy Wack Wack, Mandaluyong City (Tel: +63 2 6316436 or +63 915 1742243)
- Level 1, Pedro Gil Wing, Robinsons Place Manila, Ermita, Manila (Tel: +63 995 7564734)
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