Monday, November 15, 2010

Lugang Cafe Restaurant - Home of Authentic Taiwanese and Cantonese Dishes

My uncle invited us to eat with them in Lugang Restaurant located in Connecticut Greenhills. It was just the second day of operation since it opened its doors to the public. If I'm not mistaken, this is the first restaurant here in Manila Philippines operated by the Bellagio Group of Companies. They are well-known in the food industry in several Asian countries. By the way, Lugang is pronounced as "Lu-Kang" (pinyin: Lùgǎng) in Chinese and not literally "Lu-Gang". Lugang is a place in China. "Gang" means harbour. More info about Lugang.

Upon hearing it, the first thing that entered my mind was, "This probably is a competitor of Crystal Jade". Crystal Jade is also a famous chain of restaurants in Asia and their first branch is also situated in the Greenhills area. I can sense a new fad on the food industry.

My first impression when I saw the restaurant -- "Wow!" I was told that it was right besides Conti's so I entered Conti's in my car GPS. Before even hearing the "You have reached your destination" alert from my GPS, I already saw the elegant looking facade of the restaurant. Believe me, you wouldn't have a hard time looking for it and ALL the cars passing by will surely notice it as you can have a glimpse of the posh interiors from the outside as it is brightly lit inside with tall pane of glasses.

The parking right in front of the restaurant can only accommodate 4 to 6 cars but parking wasn't hard because they also have this property right (rented, sources say) across the restaurant where you can park, for free. It can accommodate around 20 cars, more or less.

Before entering the restaurant, you will feel relaxed because of the zen-like architecture. They also have this huge wooden door that makes it look like you are entering a Spa. Upon going in, you will feel like you are out of the country as the ambiance is really nice. Not even Peking Garden nor Shang Palace (Chinese Restaurant inside Makati Shangri-la) is as elegant.

Posh and cozy chairs, elegant chandeliers, unique art works  , modern asian accents, greenery here and there PLUS an indoor wall falls that makes the dining experience more relaxing as you can hear the water falling above which is around 25 to 30 feet. A lot of the furniture and fixture was imported from Hong Kong and China. The ground level can accommodate more than 100 pax comfortably. (my estimate)

A little information from Lugang Restaurant,
Based in Shanghai, Bellagio Management Group has spawned several popular dining and cafe concepts in Asia including Bellagio Cafe, La Paleta Tea Restaurant, and La Paleta Bakery. We take pride in the fact that our brand has been acknowledged in the industry as one of the best. Readers from "That's Beijing", a monthly English magazine, have voted Bellagio Cafe as the "Best Late-Night Dining" five years in a row. On top of that, Bellagio Cafe has been featured extensively in various fashion magazines, city guides like Frommer's, Fodor's and even Zagat. During the Beijing olympics, Bellagio was even featured in CNBC Nightly News.

Since opening our first cafe in Shanghai in 2001, our name has been synonymous to quality food and great dining with an emphasis on value for money. Sample our authentic taiwanese and cantonese specialties that are sure to whet your appetite. Our roster of Chinese chefs and our imported ingredients from China and Taiwan ensure that every dish is authentic. Lugang Cafe also offers delectable desserts that will satiate your sweet tooth.

Cozy up in our warm interiors and get the best service from our friendly staff. Cap the day off with friends and loved ones over our special coffee- Relax, unwind, savor, experience. Lugang Cafe is the home of truly authentic Taiwanese and Cantonese dishes and more!
Because my uncle will treat us, I was a bit shy on taking photos so pardon me for not having photos for some of the food we ordered. I took photos of the entire food and drink menu though.

Tapioca Pearl Milk Tea Pot [ Php 140.00 ]
Served in a glass tea pot. Blend is similar to the Singaporean Hot Milk Tea. Pearls or "Sago" as locally known is served in a small cup where you can drink your tea. A must try!

Tapioca Pearl Bubble Milk Tea [ Php 130.00 ]
Cold version of the hot Tapioca Pearl Milk Tea

Cantonese Iced Lemon Tea [ Php 90.00 ]
Not your typical Iced Tea. Literally tea with ice. Don't expect the usual sweet iced tea other restaurants serve.

Pumpkin Soup (?) - Can't identify this soup. Will return and ask what this is.

Cucumber with Vinaigrette [ Php 100.00 ]
An appetizing appetizer. Serves its' purpose, right?

Tofu with Preserved Egg [ Php 120.00 ]
Not as good as the Japanese Tofu but it was unique. Topped with nuts (not sure what kind) with Century eggs by the side.

Hainan Boneless Chicken  [ Php 450.00 ]
I loved this! Very tasty for a simple white chicken. Don't miss this.

Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao [ Php 158.00 ]
Their chef was very good as the skin was thin but the soup was contained. It's very hard to make Xiao Long Bao with the soup inside. Crystal Jade's Xiao Long Bao is better though.

Crab Roe and Pork Xiao Long Bao [ Php 198.00 ]
This is delicious and unique. Better than Crystal Jade's Xiao Long Bao

Pork Pan Fried Dumplings [ Php 190.00 ]
Lengthwise dumplings with soup inside (?) not sure if it was soup or oil but it was delicious. I love Chinese food specially dimsums!

Black Pepper Beef on Iron Plate [ Php 360.00 ]
Nothing special.

Chicken and Mushroom on Rice in Clay Pot [ Php 380.00 ]
I still like Le Ching's Chicken Mushroom rice better.

Baked Red Bean and Sago Pudding [ Php 120.00 ]
It was my first time to try such so I have nothing to compare it with. When ordering this, ask for milk and mix it with Milk to make it more yummy.

Here's the photo I took, Lugang Cafe's food and drink menu:

Looks can be deceiving as the prices do not reflect the ambiance inside.A must try restaurant! Look's like Crystal Jade has a neighboring competitor. More photos to come as I am sure to return any time soon to try out more of their menu.

Lugang Cafe
116 Connecticut St. Northeast Greenhills
San JuanMetro Manila
Telephone Number: 721-9100 ; 570-9011



etsdeleon said...

I went to Lugang as per your recommendation. I actually arrived past lunch hour so the kitchen was already closed. I decided to take out some items as my family can't wait to try this restaurant. Reservations for the next two days were already filled up. The manager graciously took my number, and informed me that they were going to give us a call as to when they can accommodate us. What striked me more than anything was the courtesy they showed to all of us--even though they were so busy. This is a far cry from our experience with Crystal Jade Greenhills, who will curtly tell you No reservations unless you are ten...No take outs unless you happen to dine there, come more than 1 hour or so to fill up the crowded facade for a chance to be accommodated etc etc.. Come on--even if their food was up to the Crystal Jade singapore branch, they still do not have a right to treat their customers as though we have to make a grand request for each service they are willing to give. The other time we were there, we actually ordered for dine in, and take out. After we finished dining, our take out has not yet arrived, so we were waiting inside the restaurant. The lady owner gave us super angry hard stares,and kept on calling the waiters attention to let us know that there were still so many people waiting in line. When I got my take out, I felt like actually throwing it in their face. I work for a food magazine, and we all experienced such treatment- except on the openning day, when the owners knew who we are and who we represented because of our name badge. I am so happy that Lugang Cafe opened. I am sure they will be so successful because they are very service oriented.PLUS- We are now enjoying our take out, and I can say that taste wise it's sooooo worth it. Yum yum nom nom nom

Cheftonio said...

Yes, sadly Crystal Jade is not treating their customers right. I've eaten there thrice and I had no choice but stay there and wait for my number to be called because they will start a count down nd if you're not there, you're out of the list.

Chelsea cafe's system is much better. They will ask you to leave your mobile number and ring you when it's your turn already.

As for Lugang, I believe that thy are also customer oriented. There's no need for Crystal Jade to be that arrogant. I even think that their xiao long bao is just at par with Suzhou dimsum.

Cheftonio said...

And yes, it's sad that they have double standards. Different treatment for media/ bloggers anD diff for paying customers.

Terry said...

Thank you for this post. I went there to try the food last night and we enjoyed it! Looking forward for more articles in your blog.

gina said...

saw it first in your blog and tried it tuesday lunch and im happy to say that i like it here better than crystal jade.

Monchet said...

Actually loved the food here, more than that of Crystal Jade. Their chicken in dry chili and cashew (kung pao) is delicious. But the hot and sour soup was disappointing. Also ordered the sauteed mixed mushrooms which was so-so. But I'd like to go back with a bigger group to get to try their other dishes. If a first-time experience is any gauge, then this resto is definitely better than Crystal Jade.

Anonymous said...

Lugang is over hyped.... the food is greasy and bland and most of all the serving is really really small..... the ambience is nice thou, and it seems that you are paying more for the ambience rather than the food.

Anonymous said...

Lugang is over hyped.... the food is greasy and bland and most of all the serving is really really small..... the ambience is nice thou, and it seems that you are paying more for the ambience rather than the food.

Ferdinand Junio said...

Have eaten twice in Lugang Cafe. Wonderful Xiao Long Bao!!! The Bao that has Shrimp is also very good!! Lousy, lousy, lousy Hainanese Chicken. Great Stewed Pork. Nice Tofu with preserved egg. I like the fact that the Lugang Taiwanese cuisine is not overspiced like the other Chinese regions. I was glad to note that many of the dishes in Lugang DO NOT use 5-spice powder and Star Anise (the flavors from these two spice ingredients are those I hate the most). To me, anything that has 5-spice or Star Anise tastes cheap, cheap, cheap (try tasting the difference between a Pata Tim cooked with and without Star will like the one without Star Anise better).

Lugang rating? 3 stars out of 5.

Anonymous said...

have you ever been to shi lin restaurant at the podium?try their xiao long bao you will love it,maganda yong wrapping ng xiao long bao nila compare to other xiao long bao

May Liang said...

Lugang is in Taiwan not China.... Sorry to correct this but im really touchy on this but it is my hometown.