Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mr. Cochinillo: Pure Pork Bliss

No celebration is complete without a slow-roasted whole suckling pig, and the brick ovens at Mr. Cochinillo are all fired up...

Noted food photographer and DJ, Tinee de Guzman enters the food scene with Mr. Cochinillo and his signature Cochinillo del Cielo. Pure pork bliss...

Tinee de Guzman's culinary journey began way back, recalling the years growing up in a family that celebrated food leading to his profession as one of the metro's top food photographers. As a food photographer, Tinee de Guzman has worked with some of the best chefs both here and abroad, and sampled a wide range of exquisite cuisine. "For more than eight years now, I have been specializing in food photography, and the experience led me to determine the things that are important to me when I make my own dish," says Tinee de Guzman, as he dons his black "Mr. Cochinillo" apron. After one last check at the ovens, Tinee returns and continues his story. What started as a craving for pizza with close friends led to a purchase of a brick oven, where Tinee experimented with various non-traditional toppings like adobo flakes and kesong puti. Soon, Tinee was slow-roasting everything, from duck to lamb, but like most Filipinos with a love for pork, eventually focused on the iconic cochinillo.

After constant tweaking and several more brick ovens, Tinee de Guzman has finally perfected his own signature version of the cochinillo. And it all starts with a hand-picked free-range piglet not more than a few days old, weaned on nothing else but milk making it softer and more tender than the usual lechon. After tediously grooming and dressing the piglet, it is then ready for seasoning with Tinee's very own secret blend before roasting for at least six hours in the brick oven, constantly basted in its own marinade and olive oil. Roasted in its own juices, the flavors are both delicate yet rich, with tender pork topped with a thin layer of fat and crackling. Mr. Cochinillo's slow-roasted "Cochinillo del Cielo" is then ready...

The aroma of Mr. Cochinillo's Cochinillo del Cielo, fresh from the oven, is an experience in itself. And for over two years now, customers both near and far would head over to Quezon City to pick up Mr. Cochinillo's slow-roasted Cochinillo del Cielo. Each order is packed in a traditional tampipi or native basket and comes with serving instructions, and a platito or small plate that you can use for chopping the cochinillo. Tender and crisp, you don't need a knife for this one. 

To complement your order of Cochinillo del Cielo, Mr. Cochinillo also offers its own take on the traditional Seafood Fideua topped with fresh mussels, shrimps, and squid. Almost like the classic Paella, the Fideua uses noodles instead of rice. Hearty and comforting, definitely different.

Tinee then proceeds with chopping his signature Cochinillo del Cielo with a small plate, and the sound of crisp crackling fills the room, breaking the long silence, culminating with a loud cheer from the hungry guests. Each slice releases yet another burst of savory aroma, with steam gently rising from the slow-roasted cochinillo. And that's your cue to pick up a plate...

The Cochinillo del Cielo has tender, soft, and juicy meat with a subtle and mild sweetness, contrasting with the crisp crackling. Rich and flavorful on its own, you really don't need any sauce at all. Seriously. The tender pork with that thin layer of fat practically melts in your mouth with a creamy and butter-like texture. Tinee recommends enjoying the cochinillo with plain steamed white rice to bring out the delicate flavors. The Seafood Fideua is the perfect side to Mr. Cochinillo's Cochinillo del Cielo, with its own rich blend of flavors and textures from the soft noodles and fresh seafood. A second plate? Absolutely.

You can be sure that Tinee's brick ovens will be busy in the next few weeks as the holiday season nears. And soon, Mr. Cochinillo will roll out new offerings, like slow roasted Black Pig, Wild Boar, Spenfrenkel or German Suckling Pig, Lechon de Leche, and Babi Guling.  The ovens have definitely gone a long way since that pizza craving way back then.

Prices for signature dishes of Mr. Cochinillo are as follows:

Cochinillo del Cielo
Regular Size good for 8-12 people - P 6,000.00
Regular Size good for 14-18 people - P 7,000.00

Seafood Fideua
Regular Size good for 14-18 people - P 4,000.00
Regular Size good for 26-30 people - P 6,500.00

To order, simply call +63-999-881-0810 or +632-633-0043 or email at orders@mrcochinillo. You can also visit their FB Page at

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