Spanky had built up the excitement to our much-anticipated dinner at Pepita’s Kitchen by way of sending an invite with blurred words about the food line-up that awaited us that night.Never did I think that the menu would consist of 15 courses, with four of the courses comprising of stuffed lechon cooked in different flavors or styles. Our lechon-eating fest now holds the record as my most sinful dinner this year (even though 2011 is clearly not over yet).
Dedet Santos of Pepita’s Kitchen is more of a food purveyor and enthusiast rather than a mainstream seller.She only accepts the occasional orders for her stuffed lechon but plans are afoot to open her cozy home in Makati for private dinners. I was certainly honored to get an invite to her abode because her culinary concoctions were superb.
This lechon bread, specially ordered from a bakery in Antipolo, greeted us at the table laden with elegant stoneware. Need I say more that this dinner had a “pork” theme?
On with the appetizers. Bowl on the left is called the Pinoy pate because it combines balut and wine. But it seems I preferred Bowl No. 2 called the Pinoy Caviar which is sauteed fish roe or bihod. I found it so delectable with the crackers.
The second round of appetizers was the rellenong bulaklak (stuffed pumpkin flowers) which I found hard to photograph because of its form. It was a different matter when I bit into it though. I absolutely loved the taste! Dedet tells us about frying the flowers stuffed with native cheese & bagoong. A most unexpected pairing, in my opinion.
This is a salpicao of balut, the famous Filipino delicacy. Whole balut was sauteed in garlic and olive oil and I tasted it with trepidation. I don’t take to balut like ducks are to water (no pun intended) but my seatmate Rochelle liked this so much.
The rest of the night came in a daze as we tasted four different kinds of lechon which Dedet roasts in customized pugon ovens right in her own home.
The Pinoy lechon was stuffed with sisig rice. The Chinese lechon had herbs, chestnuts and mushrooms a la machang.The German lechon reminds one of the “spernekel.” The pork’s tummy isn’t lined with rice this time but with irresitible roasted garlic and potato.
My favorite, however, was the French lechon stuffed with the so-called truffle rice. I found it to be most flavorful of the batch. The combination of truffles, mushrooms and rice proved to be exquisite. Plus, the lechon was just roasted to perfection. All that meat, fatty layer and crispy skin (plus rice!) brought me to gustatory euphoria, no doubt.
In between our lechon binge, there’d be something served to cleanse the palate and break the ice, so to speak. There was the divine sabachara or, as the chef patron calls it, the “acharang saba.” It was really delish. The Pinoy-style carbonara pasta was sprinkled with cheese and chicharon. The “cholesterol sweeper” listed in the menu turned out to be oatmeal champorado served in a shot glass. I finished this with gusto. Darna’s Surprise was a butterbeer drink inspired by Harry Potter and prepared by no less than Dedet’s daughter Pepita. It was awesome.
And for dessert, we had dayap cheesecake and Pinoy-inspired ice cream prepared by one of Dedet’s friends. The guava flavor tasted like the real one!
This photo op was taken on a break of our lechon degustacion. Thanks to friends and fellow bloggers for sharing the hefty dinner. My wish is for Pepita’s Kitchen to open soon to other foodies in Manila. It is highly recommended 😉
To contact Pepita’s Kitchen,
call 4254605, 0917-8660662