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House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila


House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila

A couple of weekends back, Mark and I were invited to yet another Chef's Table gathering at Little Manila. Together with some media personalities and bloggers from the Filipino community here in Dubai, we got to sample the offerings of the restaurant's newest brand—House of Lechon Manok.

Lechon Baka Liempo
Lechon Baka Liempo

House of Lechon Manok offers Pinoy favorite roasted dishes from chicken to beef and duck; and Filipino specialties like Kalderetang Kambing, Sinampalukang Manok, and Pinakbet Ilocano.

Lechon manok in progress!
Lechon Manok in progress!

We got to sample some of them and here are my top picks:

Tenderloin Lechon Macau (Roasted Beef Tenderloin)
This is usually made with pork, but Little Manila's version uses beef tenderloin that's marinated with tropical Asian sauces and roasted sesame seeds and then roasted to perfection on a roasting rack over a charcoal pit. The meat is succulent with that melt-in-your-mouth texture. This is one of my top picks and also Mark's favorite among the dishes that we sampled.

Tenderloin Lechon Macau from House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila
Tenderloin Lechon Macau (Roasted Beef Tenderloin) - AED 25 (combo meal)

Lechon Baka Liempo (Roasted Beef Belly)
Liempo, which can either be roasted or grilled and is usually also made with pork, will surely never fail to be a hit in Filipino feasts. Little Manila's beef version is not an exemption. Usually marinated differently using homemade concoctions in different regions in the Philippines, the most common marinade would be soy sauce, garlic, and calamnsi (calamondin).

Albeit a little tough to chew for some of the pieces that I got, especially those without fat, the Lechon Baka Liempo still captured that grilled meat goodness. Perfect with atchara (pickled unripe papaya) and white rice! Reminds me of our grill weekend feasts with the family back home!

Lechon Baka Liempo from House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila
Lechon Baka Liempo (Roasted Beef Belly) - AED 27 (combo meal)

Lechon Manok Wraps
This is very much like peking duck wraps, but Filipino-style. Soft tortilla filled with Lechon Manok (roasted chicken) strips, cucumber, lettuce, and a special sauce (which according to my palates is made of peanut)--at AED 10 which already includes a drink, this makes for a perfect snack or even a meal that's filling, healthy, and doesn't hurt the pocket.

The next ones that topped my list are not from old brands in Little Manila, but are new in the menu.

Cinnamon Roll ala mode
Cinnamon roll topped with scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream, walnuts, and chocolate syrup—I love how it has just the right blend of sweetness and spice. The walnuts gave a contrast in texture from the soft cinnamon roll and creamy ice cream. Next to the Cheesy Ensaymada, this is my second favorite from Breadshop! Even Mark who's not into anything with cinnamon loved this one to bits!

Cinnamon Roll ala mode from House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila
Cinnamon Roll ala mode
Halo-Halo Supreme
Halo-Halo is a mixture of shaved ice and evaporated milk, plus various ingredients like boiled sweet beans, sago (tapioca pearls), gulaman (gelatin), and fruits; and is topped with a scoop of ube (purple yam) flavored ice cream and a slice of leche flan. This dessert is popular among every Filipinos, but not for me. While others like their Halo-Halo with as much ingredients as possible, I like mine with only milk, shaved ice, plaintains, macapuno, and leche flan. There's this Filipino brand that does its Halo-Halo just the way I like it!

Halo-Halo Supreme from House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila
Halo-Halo Supreme
So that being said, while the rest of the crowd in the Chef's Table were excited to try Fruitas' Halo-Halo Supreme, I was a bit skeptical. Surprisingly, Little Manila exceeded my expectations with its version of Halo-Halo. It has a smoothie-like base made of sweet potato and is just topped with ube ice cream, leche flan, and rice crispies. Some may find it a bit lacking in sweetness but I love it as it is, it's naturally sweetened by the sweet potato base. I'm still not a fan of the ube ice cream, though, but Little Manila's Halo-Halo Supreme can be a quick fix for my halo-halo cravings since the brand that I love is not available here in Dubai. :p

Sweet potato base FTW!
Sweet potato base FTW!

The rest of the new offerings are Lechon Baka Paksiw, Lechon Manok, Lengua Baka Estofado, Lengua Baka with Mushroom Sauce, and Choco Brownie ala mode.

Lechon Baka Paksiw (Roasted Beef Stew)
Lechon Paksiw is a Filipino dish usually made from leftover roast pig, which is known as Lechon, and is cooked with vinegar and garlic. Most Filipinos will agree with me that if you have a feast today and there's lechon, it's for sure that you'll have lechon paksiw for lunch tomorrow. :p It's basically a practical way of recycling leftover lechon.

Let me just set things straight, Little Manila's Lechon Baka Paksiw is not recycled from their Lechon Baka. They just basically cooked the meat from the lechon baka in vinegar and garlic, with some seasonings and sauce from the roasted beef.

This would have been one of my top picks had the sauce been not overly sweet. It was too sweet you won't even recognize a hint of vinegar in it. If there's one thing that I liked in this dish, it's the fork-tender melt-in-the-mouth beef chunks.

Lechon Baka Paksiw from House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila
Lechon Baka Paksiw (Roasted Beef Stew)

Lechon Manok (Roasted Chicken)
Being the namesake of Little Manila's newest brand, I was expecting their Lechon Manok to be the actual star of the menu. Unfortunately though, it didn't meet my expectations. It smelled really good when the platter was served to us, the lemon grass wasn't overpowering which is a plus, but it looked dry and I must have inhaled all its goodness that the meat tasted almost bland. Probably the chicken wasn't marinated enough that the flavors only lingered up to the skin.

House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila
Lechon Manok

Another downer was the sauce—it was just a tad too sweet and I guess they were too liberal with adding cornstarch to it thus it's sticky-almost-gelly-like consistency. I'm sure it's the same sauce that they used in the paksiw. It's their original recipe but it just didn't work for me. I know this would be biased but I think my homemade Lechon Manok and sauce tasted better.

I'd really love to give it a second chance as it would really be a steal at only AED 45 for a whole 1.4kg chicken with 2 rice and 2 drinks, had the chicken tasted just like the once that we have back home.

House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila
Lechon Manok

Lengua Baka Estofado and Lengua Baka with Mushroom Sauce
I was waiting for the Lengua Baka Estofado to be served, not realizing that it has been sitting right in front of me all the while. It didn't look like estofado to me, that's why. I gave it a try and just confirmed my initial impression. If you know what Menudo or Afritada tastes like, Little Manila's Lengua Baka Estofado kinda falls to that flavor. It didn't look and taste like the estofado that I grew up knowing.

Lengua Baka Estofado from House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila
Lengua Baka Estofado

The Lengua Baka with Mushroom Sauce didn't also make it to my list. I can't actually taste the mushroom flavor as the sauce was way too salty. There's this one restaurant in Manila that serves a yummy ox tongue dish and I was quite trying to find that in this lengua dish but it's just not there. If there's one consolation though, for both dishes, the lengua was very tender and didn't have any odd aftertaste at all.

Lengua Baka with Mushroom Sauce from House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila
Lengua Baka with Mushroom Sauce

Choco Brownie ala mode
Mark and I didn't get to try this one, so I can't really tell how it was. But it totally looks delish!

Choco Brownie ala mode from House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila
Choco Brownie ala mode

Little Manila has definitely grown so much ever since they started. I heard they'll be opening up a new branch in Deira City Centre and Abu Dhabi in the coming months! Aside from their offerings which truly capture the hearts and tummies of Filipinos here in Dubai, I think what brought them to where they are right now is their openness to customer feedback and willingness to improve, as well as their innovation to also cater to the international palates.

Newest Filipino offerings from House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila
Have you tried the newest offerings yet? Which one's your favorite?

I can't really wait for the time that they'll be fully embraced by the rest of the international and local communities here in the UAE.

Have you tried the newest offerings yet? Which one is your favorite? I'd love to know! Share it in the comments section below. :D

Newest Filipino roasted dishes that you'll surely love!  

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House of Lechon Manok at Little Manila

You can also check out Little Manila's other brands here:

•  Noodle Depot: Noodle Depot at Little Manila
•  Jay-jay's Inasal: Kalayaan Boodle Fight from Little Manila

LITTLE MANILA
K6 Building, Next To West Zone Supermarket
Al Muraqqabat, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 (0)4 2999315
www.littlemanila.com

We were invited to try the new offerings at Little Manila and our meal was complimentary, but as always, this post is sincerely written and all opinions are my own.

All photos were taken with an iPhone 6S Plus.

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