MANILA – Chefs Rolando and Jackie Laudico are known for adding a twist to Filipino favorites as seen in their restaurants – from the upscale Bistro Filipino in Taguig and the all-day breakfast cafe BFast at the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati.
Their newest venture, Guevarra’s, takes modern Filipino food a notch higher, with several dishes served buffet-style at a renovated 1920s home in San Juan.
Rolando, known to many as Chef Lau for his stint as a judge of the reality cooking show “MasterChef Pinoy Edition,” said the idea of Guevarra’s is letting the customers feel like they are enjoying a meal at their grandmother’s house.
“The concept was just an old house na parang kumain ka sa bahay ng lola mo,” Lau said in an interview on “Kris TV” aired on Thursday.
Jackie, for her part, said: “Parang family get-together, ganon.”
Lau said the 200-seater restaurant easily gets full during weekends and at dinnertime during weekdays, so it’s best to reserve a table in advance.
The chef attributed the success of their restaurant to “word of mouth” and social media platforms such as Facebook.
“We’re blessed na maraming nagsasabi na okay [ang Guevarra’s],” he said.
On “Kris TV,” Lau and Jackie showed host Kris Aquino and guest co-host Angeline Quinto the buffet spread at Guevarra’s.
Some of the appetizers include crispy crablets, mini lumpia cones, fried dumplings and “dinamita,” a deep-fried treat which is Lau’s take on the Bicol Express.
Other starters include steamed vegetables, and mini lumpiang ubod, which is served with three types of sauces – guava vinaigrette, bagoong balayan and "Kuya Cesar" dressing.
“Ang inspiration diyan is Caesar salad dressing, pero we use itlog na maalat,” Lau said of the Kuya Cesar dressing.
Guevarra’s also has a “roast and grill” area which has squid, local gindara and lechon, as well as Angus beef served grilled and roasted.
For the main course, the restaurant offers modernized Filipino favorites such as Angus beef kare-kare, fried chicken adobo, pakbet bagnet, tuyo rice and "squid law."
“Squid law is my take on the sinuglaw, which is like kilawin with grilled liempo or pork. Imbes na pork, squid ang nilagay ko,” Lau said.
Other dishes in the buffet spread include seafood ala pobre, halabos na hipon, baked pangat, beef caldereta, chicken pastel, seafood pesto and sotanghon guisado, which Aquino said tastes a lot like the one she grew up eating at home.
“You know, it tastes like the sotanghon that my mom used to make. ‘Yung sa house namin, ganyan ang lasa ng sotanghon,” Aquino said.
For dessert, Guevarra’s has anything from ube soft-serve ice cream, which is Jackie’s own recipe, to ensaymada, banana cake and kakanin (rice cakes) such as maja blanca.
Jackie said all the dishes at the buffet, including soda and iced tea, costs only P399 per person for weekday lunch, P499 for weekday dinner, and P599 on weekends.
Asked about the difference between lunch and dinner offerings, Lau said: “Lunch is not much different, wala lang lechon. Pero may pork belly.”
387 P. Guevarra corner Argonne Street
San Juan, Metro Manila
For reservations, call (02) 705-1811 or 705-1874