New eats: Chef Luigi Muhlach tweaks pulutan classics in Greenbelt beerhouse

Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at Jan 23 2018 06:07 AM

Chef Luigi Muhlach poses in his new restaurant LUMU. Photo by author

MANILA -- LUMU is the latest restaurant by chef Luigi Muhlach and it's a glorious and delicious throwback to the Pinoy beerhouses of old.

From sliding steel doors to a wall plastered with newsprint ads of long-gone products, guests are given a peek into the seedier side of Manila. 

This is definitely not your trendy gastropub despite its posh Greenbelt 3 location. No doubt about it, this is a beerhouse where the food is sinful and the alcohol is relatively cheap.

LUMU has an accent wall of old advertising posters plastered with gawgaw. Photo by author

The name can be either interpreted as "Love U, Miss U" or a shortened version of Muhlach’s name. 

“I like rich, ‘deadly’ food -- aligue, pork skin, chicken skin. The same food that goes very well with beer,” Muhlach explained of his modern take of his favorite pulutan, which are the stars of the menu.

Having drinks at LUMU is an experience. Muhlach just throws away the expectations that beerhouse food is one note and just a deep-fried cholesterol chow oozing with oil served on a sizzling plate. 

Rather, the menu has something for everyone, especially diners wanting a “safe” way to try out the Filipino cuisine’s more adventurous dishes and washing them down with a cold bottle of beer.

Here's what to expect at LUMU.

Taro and Camote Nachos

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Want nachos? Muhlach’s version uses fried razor thin strips of taro and camote topped with mayonnaise and adobo flakes. Crispy, and chewy at times, it sets itself apart from the traditional way of serving nachos.

Grilled Tocino

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Grilled tocino, which is something Metro Manila foodies would go all the way to Angeles, Pampanga for, is another winner on the menu. Don’t miss the burnt sweet bits as the caramelized sweetness nicely mingles with a splash of vinegar and atchara.

Tomahawk Bagnet

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Bagnet and beer is a match made in beerhouse heaven. LUMU’s Tomahawk Bagnet is a huge piece of porky goodness on a bed of Muhlach's own liver sauce that just begs to be washed down with one of LUMU’s mucho bottles of beer.

Kambing Sampler

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An entire section of the menu is devoted to goat meat. LUMU’s Hardcore Kambingan Sampler which features papaitan, gotong Batangas and kinilaw na kambing, should please those with an adventurous palate. Although the papaitan and gotong Batangas have been toned down for those first-timers who just want to try it out, guests can request to make them more potent upon request.

Kaldereta

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Its upscaled kalderetang kambing is also not to be missed. Love You Kaldereta – de Vino has red wine and shitake in its tomato base, while the Miss You Kaldereta – de Nueva has coconut cream and green olives.

Sausage Platter

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LUMU makes nine different kinds of sausages. These creations can be thought of as bar chow favorites in sausage form -- Kupido (Bicol express), Nagdurugong Puso (dinuguan), May Asim Pa Talaga (sinampalukang kambing), Like an Explosion (menudo), Cheesy Mo (kaldereta with cheese), Walang Kamatayan (chicken and pork adobo), Sisig, Humba, and Kansi. The best way to enjoy these is to order the LUMU A-Bangers Sampler which has all of these with a side of vinegar and atchara.

Chicken Dinakdakan

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Chicken skin is also used in Muhlach's dinakdakan. With roast chicken cubes and liver mixed in with ginger and chicken skin, this is a somewhat healthier alternative to pork sisig.

Shrimp with Puso ng Saging

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Looking for something lighter? Puso ng saging stewed in coconut cream topped with shrimps is a healthy option for non-meat eaters.

Sinuglaw

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I personally like sinuglaw, a dish made of inihaw and raw fish in vinegar. Muhlach’s version uses raw tuna, grilled liempo, and chicken skin to add crunch to the dish.

Grande Beer Bucket

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A beerhouse isn’t complete without drinks. LUMU’s main draw for beer drinkers is its bucket of Mucho Beer. Stella Artois, Heineken, San Miguel Pale, Tiger, and Red Horse are available by the liter.

Sago't Gulaman Overload

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If you’re not in the mood for beer, have a big glass of the Sago’t Gulaman Overload, which uses lychee poppers instead of sago. This is also available spiked with rum and playfully dubbed Lokong Sago’t Gulaman.

Pastillas Cheesecake

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If there’s one thing that’s not expected in a beerhouse, it’s desserts. LUMU’s Pastillas Cheesecake is topped with frozen carabao milk pastillas with dulce de leche sauce on the side with whipped cream. 

Pichi Pichi

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The Pichi Pichi served on cast-iron skillet is a swanky version of the cassava cake favorite made cheesier and creamier. These desserts would go well with a cup of coffee which LUMU still has to add to the menu.

LUMU Beerhouse is located at the 3rd Level of Greenbelt 3 and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.