HAYOP NA DEGUSTACION is a 12-course Pinoy degustation feast with Pepita's Stuffed Lechon as the highlight. Pepita's Lechon by Dedet was the Overall Winner of Ultimate Taste Test 4, where they were first discovered in 2010.
Foodies always rave about Dedet's creative variations of stuffed lechon (roasted pig). My favorites include the French Lechon with Truffle Stuffing, Lechon with Binagoongan Rice stuffing, Lechon with Laing Rice, and their latest creation, Thanh Long de Leche.
In 2012, PEPITA'S KITCHEN launched the Lechon Degustacion, a private dining at the house where the stuffed lechons are prepared and cooked. It has become the best Pinoy-inspired degustation feast in the metro.
Just this September 2013, Dedet introduced the latest edition -- Hayop na Degustacion -- a streamlined version of the original lechon degustation. Together with other food bloggers and some OB Montessori people, we were invited to be the "guinea pigs" for the final taste test of the new degustacion menu.
Here is our Hayop na Degustacion experience at Pepita's Kitchen...
(Tip: Guests are advised to arrive at around 6pm so that the dinner can start promptly at 7pm)
Start your degustation with the best Pinoy rum in the Philippines, aged in oak barrels at the foothills of Mt. Kanlaon in Negros! :)
Just make sure someone in your group brings it as it isn't officially part of the menu.
(Trivia: Chef Cicou shared with us that the French love Don Papa rum so much, they would bring home some with them to France. This actually one of the best pasalubongs you can give when visiting relatives abroad.)
Yes, this is actual cotton candy served in a martini glass, and...
Tendon fried into crunchy Chicharon with Sinigang na Gabi dip. We love the combination of the tendon's crunch with the asim (sour taste) of the dip.
This was another hit -- one big shrimp in itlog na maalat (salted egg) sauce. The shrimp is so big, you have to slice it into smaller pieces first. We don't recommend you eat it all in one bite.
The latest Pepita's Lechon creation unveiled was stuffed with Thanh Long garlic noodles. This flavor is inspired by Thanh Long of San Francisco, a popular Vietnamese Restaurant in the US.
This is the healthiest part of the menu with arugula mixed greens, herbed cheese, cashew, and watermelon. I really enjoyed the playful creativeness of this salad. :)
The deadliest item on the menu -- you scoop out the buttery bone marrow, top it with bits of chicharon, and pair it with some oxtail marmalade!
I immediately felt the cholesterol overload from this dish: it gave me a headache. Eat in moderation.
This sampaloc sorbet is a refreshing treat, perfect for cleansing the palate and a welcome break from the richness of the food.
Have you eaten Mock Tofu with Kamote Chips? Everyone was excited to eat this, but when they found out it was actually ox brain, they didn't have any.
It has since been removed from the final degustacion menu.
Crab claws topped with taba ng talangka! Just the right serving size, it's best to suck the sauce out of the claws. Yum! :)
The basil-dashi glass noodles were just OK. This actually felt a bit out-of-place within the Pinoy theme.
Lamb caldereta served with a triangle of rice. I love the tender lamb meat with the rich spicy sauce.
(Note: Rice is served only at this point. If you want to have rice earlier, you have to inform the staff ahead of time.)
A second lechon is actually optional, but it's always better to have two stuffed lechon de leche for that ultimate degustation experience. We call this the Christmas Lechon because "lechon na, may ham pa sa loob."
(Tip: If you decide to have two lechons, make sure you start your dinner early so you don't eat your second lechon too late in the evening. We were eating our lechon ham at past 11pm already.)
To clean out all that cholesterol, a serving of Ghirardelli chocolate with oatmeal. :) But this was just too sweet and a bit rich.
For dessert, Chef Cicou brought out his signature Kouing Aman, which comes in original or chocolate flavors.
The original-flavored Kouing Aman is a caramel-laminated sweet dough that is a cross between croissant and puff pastry. It's best paired with Salted Caramel ice cream.
(Note: Some people thought that this was introduced as a response to the Cronut fad. This is actually a traditional Britanny dessert and has existed way before Cronuts. It's true, however, that the chocolate version was created when Cronuts became popular.)
Finally, the signature Pepita's Kitchen dessert -- suman with the best sweets of the Philippines (yema, chocnut, ube, pastillas, pili, mangoes).
Admittedly, we were already so full that we barely touched this suman.
All in all, this is the best private dining Pinoy degustation feast in Manila! It's very creative and showcases a modern take on classic Filipino food we grew up with.
The only drawback is it's cholesterol-rich and takes a bit too long to finish. It's a real treat though if you're celebrating a special occasion, like a reunion with your best friends, or taking your balikbayan or tourist guests to experience a good Filipino feast.
Just note that this is a private gathering, only open to friends of friends of Pepita's Kitchen. But they do have a take-out menu of all the degustation items, so you can still serve them within the comforts of your own home.
LECHON DEGUSTACION at PEPITA'S KITCHEN
Private dining in Makati or in the comforts of your own home.
Facebook: Lechon Degustacion at Pepita's Kitchen
Mobile: +63 917 866-0662
Telephone: +632 425-4605
12-Course Degustation Meal at Pepita's Kitchen:
Lunch: P2,250 per person
Dinner: P2,250 per person +10% service charge
- Minimum of 15 people
- Strictly by reservation only
- 3 hours lunch or dinner experience
- Includes 1 Pinoy stuffed lechon de leche. You can choose from:
- Binagoongan Rice Stuffing
- Rice with Salted Egg, Garlic and Anchovy
- Laing Rice
- Sisig Rice
- Bicol Express Rice
- Birthday Lechon (stuffed with Pancit Paranaque)
- French Lechon (special request)
- Additional lechon can be added with the price being divided among the participants. You can choose from the latest premium lechon:
- Thanh Long de Leche (+P9,000/lechon)
- Lechon Ham (+P8,500/lechon)
Live an Awesome Life,
P.S. Don't miss Ultimate Taste Test 11 (or UTT 11 for short) happening for the 3rd time at Rockwell Powerplant Mall this coming Saturday, September 14, from 11am to 9pm.