Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Family Affair: Leonardo's Lechon at Heirloom Kitchen

The traditional Filipino Lechon takes on a new creative and inventive spin...


...meet Leonardo's Lechon's new Carnivore Lechon, a whole roasted pig stuffed with three kinds of sausages, slabs of bacon, roasted garlic and potatoes. It's Lechon reinvented, a true carnivore's dream.


Since 1947, San Juan's Leonardo's Lechon has been at the very heart of many Filipino celebrations, and with the third generation at the helm of the family business, Leonard Aquino (R) takes the iconic Filipino dish to the 21st century with its original Lechon Tagalog and the new Carnivore Lechon. Using only native pigs sourced from the very same communities supported by Leonardo's Lechon for generations, you can be sure of fresh, clean flavors with every order. The consistent quality has made this family business a San Juan landmark and institution for generations. And Leonard Aquino guarantees to keep it that way, as he develops new and exciting variants for a new generation of customers.

The Lechon Tasting Lunch by Leonardo's Lechon was held at 49B Heirloom Kitchen (L) along Scout Tobias in Quezon City, managed by Leonard Aquino's cousins, Chef Erica and Mary Ann Aquino (R), with their own take on family recipes passed down through generations. It's a family affair with Leonardo's Lechon and Heirloom Kitchen.

Our feast began with Heirloom Kitchen's signature Sinigang na Lechon (P 420), a rich, hearty and comforting soup made even better with chunks of Lechon Tagalog from Leonardo's Lechon, with string beans, gabi, radish, and eggplant simmered in a flavorful tamarind broth. The broth is thick, enriched by the chunks of Lechon Tagalog, making the usual and regular pork sinigang pale in comparison. The tender lechon meat and skin adds its own unique flavors to the dish, bursting with rich flavors perfectly tempered and balanced by the sharpness of the tamarind broth. Slice up the chili for that soothing layer of heat to complete the flavors.

Heirloom Kitchen then served their other signature dishes from family recipes, including the rich Beef Lengua (P 375) and the comforting Paella Valenciana (P 355 Small/P 580 Family) with pork, chicken and mixed seafood. Both dishes delivered rustic and homestyle flavors, as Chef Erica faithfully recreates family recipes.  


Then, the Carnivore Lechon, Leonardo's Lechon's newest lechon variant, was served...

Leonardo's Lechon's long-time litsonero carved up the Carnivore Lechon, filling the room with crackling sounds releasing both steam and fragrant aroma amidst the collective amazement and satisfaction of the invited guests. A few steps forward gives you a closer look at the new Carnivore Lechon...


...and the stuffing is revealed in full view. The Carnivore Lechon is stuffed with herbs and spices, with Kielbasa, Hungarian, and Chorizo sausages along with thick bacon slabs, potatoes and roasted garlic. Slow-roasted for hours, the distinct notes of the different ingredients infuse with the delicate pork, adding bold and meaty flavors to the iconic Filipino lechon. Think of it as a version upgrade of the usual lechon, as Leonardo's Lechon takes the iconic lechon to a whole new level.


Leonardo's Lechon's skilled litsonero first carved up a few slices of the thin and crisp crackling, with just a fine layer of fat for flavor. The first bite is announced with a solid crunch, as the thin layer of fat slowly melts in your mouth gently releasing its rich flavors. Subtle hints of the heavily spiced sausages weave in and out, along with the smoky notes of the bacon, for rich flavors.    


After the crisp crackling, the litsonero then carved up the flavorful pork belly along with slices of the sausages, bacon, marble potatoes and roasted garlic...


The rich flavors of the sausages and bacon are absorbed by lechon, and the tender and juicy pork is good even without the traditional liver sauce. The delicate notes of the juicy pork are punctuated by the bold flavors of the sausages and bacon for a whole new way of enjoying lechon. The Carnivore Lechon is available in De Leche (P 5,300), Small (P 5,800-P 6,300), Medium (P 6,800-P8,800), and Large (P 9,800-P 10,800). You can also order the traditional Lechon Tagalog, with prices ranging from P 4,500 to P 10,000.

Every purchase of a whole lechon at Leonardo's Lechon comes with the all-meat Dinuguan (L), a pork stew slowly simmered in pig's blood. At Leonardo's Lechon, you get the whole hog with every purchase. You can also add some of Leonardo's Lechon's Pork Barbecue (P 30/stick, R) to your order for that all-pork feast.

For dessert, we sampled Heirloom Kitchen's signature sweets to cap our epic pork feast. Mary Ann's Chocolate Chip Cookies (P 125), chunky, chewy and chocolatey that's great with a glass of cold milk or vanilla ice cream, and the elegant Hot Ginger Banana Brulee (P 185), sweet bananas with a hint of ginger served with ice cream. 


The new Carnivore Lechon from Leonardo's Lechon, and the comforting homestyle dishes at 49B Heirloom Kitchen combined for a perfect late lunch that day. Leonard, Jeff, Erica, and Mary Ann Aquino lead the new generation in preserving the family's culinary tradition. And things are definitely looking good at Leonardo's Lechon and 49B Heirloom Kitchen...

Leonardo's Lechon is located at 89 J. Basa Street, San Juan, Metro Manila or call 724-3068, 726-9828, 744-5172, 725-6071, 725-8618 qnd 0917-883-3391 for inquiries and orders. You can also visit their Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/leonardoslechon for more information.

49B Heirloom Kitchen is located at 49-B Scout Tobias corner Scout Fuentabilla Street, Brgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City or visit their FB Page at https://www.facebook.com/49bheirloomk for more information.

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