In recent food reviews, Filipino food has been hailed as one of the cuisines the world needs to look after. From bold flavors to rich sauces, the Filipino food palette is slowly emerging in the worldwide scene. Yet, as our food enters the world stage, some indigenous, rice-infused gastronomy is still sprouting out of its original roots to reintroduce themselves to fellow Filipinos just as how Lutgardo’s Filipino Bistro is doing.
For Nikki Cruz, Lutgardo’s Bistro Filipino Chief of Operations, there is a lot more to discover and taste in the Filipino food scene. “At Lutgardo’s, we offer classic Filipino favorites but, cooked and served on how we do it in Malabon or in Navotas,” Cruz said.
Lutgardo’s Bistro Filipino restaurant is an affiliate of Pancit Malabon Express wherein the company is a nationwide chain of kiosk stores that specializes on pancit malabon, seafood rice and other Malabon favorites.
Located in the heart of Makati, Lutgardo’s is an all-around Filipino comfort food restaurant. Cruz emphasized that through bringing the flavors of Malabon and Navotas, they can provide the food culture of his hometown to the people of Makati in all walks of life. “We want to renovate the gourmet experience here in Makati by adding some more classic favorites and improving the ambiance and thus the birth of Lutgardo’s bistro,” he said.
And while Makati is the city of business, most people are always busy and on-the-go. Having this kind of lifestyle, Makati-based folks want a taste of home and that’s what Lutgardo’s Bistro Filipino offers. “As the generation now becomes more workaholic and busier, it always creates a feeling of going back home and here at Lutgardo’s, it serves the perfect, more than the usual comfort Filipino food.”
The varieties they offer on their menu include the shrimp okoy, crispy pusit, the famous adobo, laing, a wide selection for sisig and their fresh seafood meals.
What sets them apart from the rest of the Filipino restaurants in the metro is their taste of the original and more than the usual. Their shrimp okoy is not your usual okoy that you can buy in stores. Lutgardo’s use live, fresh swahe giving it a sweet taste and a larger serving as swahe is larger than the usual smaller shrimps that are used in making okoy.
Their pancit malabon is of course, one of their specialties. Instead of what people normally eat, the Lutgardo’s pancit malabon is full of seafood, more veggies and other ingredients.
The best seller for Lutgardo’s would definitely be their seafood rice. At a competitive price of only 135 pesos, this meal can satisfy Filipino tastebuds and those who crave for seafood infused with rice dish. “It is definitely the perfect to-go food,” Cruz adds.
The kitchen staff, especially the cooks and chef at Lutgardo’s are all family trained and recipes are handed down for them to learn and master. According to Cruz, “Most of our dishes are our family recipe especially the pancit malabon where my family has been cooking it since the 1960s. We want to give Filipinos the whole package, a taste of the original.”
Their dessert even, is something that would remind Filipinos of their childhood. They offer these delicacies with a twist. Let’s say the turon but instead of the usual banana filling, they varied it with monggo and sapin-sapin in lumpia-sized rolls.
And who would forget the Filipino sorbetes? In Lutgardo’s menu, their best seller flavour for ice cream is their proudly home-made Chocnut ice cream – creamy and sweet. Laslty, bringing the black kutsinta from Navotas and serving it to the plates in the big city of Makati is something Cruz is proud of. “I’m bringing a taste of home – Navotas to here.”
While everything on their menu is a specialty especially the seafood category, food prices at Lutgardo’s Bistro Filipino are affordable. As Cruz explains it, “Majority of our ingredients are seafood and usually the notion of our seafoods are expensive but here, since we get them directly from our suppliers in Navotas or Malabon, they are a lot of cheaper.” Hence, the competitive price.
Cruz wants to grow its loyal base in Makati before he plans to expand the restaurant in other parts of the metro. He maintains that the choice of food in their menu, however affordable, target all market segments.
Lutgardo’s Bistro Filipino caters to everyone, from families who either go to church together or just have a lunch out, residents around the area and even walk-in customers. For sure, they promise to bring more Filipino comfort meals in the future.