I’m not fond of eating pork, but who can resist lechon? When I heard that Cebu’s famous Rico’s Lechon had finally made its way to Manila, I quickly took a cab right to its Fort Bonifacio branch.
Rico’s Lechon is located along BGC’s Fort Strip, an already busy hub of restaurants and bars. Wanting to be one of the first customers that day, I arrived at the restaurant early, 10:06 AM to be exact. Just beside the entrance is a transparent wall where you can watch the lechon being cut into strips.
The waitress by the doorway cheerfully greeted me and took me to my table.
Looking at the interiors, the restaurant reminds you of an old-fashioned yet stylish Filipino mansion. There are huge photos of the owner and local celebrities hanging on the walls.
The branch has two floors. However, only the ground level is for customers. The second floor has a VIP room with a seating capacity of 16.
There are around 180 seats on the first floor – about 20 were taken when I got in. An hour later though, the restaurant was so full that a line had started to build up outside.
If you’re in a rush though and can’t dine-in, take-out is available starting at 9AM.
Rico’s Lechon serves two types of lechon: regular and spicy. As a first-timer, I ordered the classic which is what put Rico’s on the culinary map in the first place. I’m telling you, it’s one of the juiciest and tastiest lechon I’ve ever eaten!
With it’s tender meat and crispy skin, you could eat the meat on its own. But! Unlike other establishments that provide a certain gravy for you to dip the meat in, Rico’s serves their own homemade vinegar called Sukalami (PHP150) instead.
For variety, I’ve also ordered two of their seafood stars: Sinigang na Hipon (PHP360) and Baked Scallops (PHP290). The sinigang had just enough sourness to tease my taste buds, while the scallops were both dainty and delectable.
Other must-try Pinoy favorites include a fried rice trio with three kinds of dried fish (tuyo, danggit, and tinapa), lechon sisig, seafood kare-kare, pinaputok na pusit, eggplant salad with egg, and monggo. Appetizers and desserts are also served.
If you’re into traditional Filipino cuisine, then you’ll find Rico’s Lechon a wonderful haven.
Apart from the food, the top attraction at Rico’s Lechon is the Roasting Pit. It’s the first of its kind in the city, where people can watch how the lechon are grilled to perfection.
As fascinating as it is though, it’s different from how things are done in Cebu where the lechon are roasted in the ground.
To maintain the authenticity of taste and quality of the meat, the restaurant has employed Cebuanos to work the Roasting Pit.
Rico’s Lechon closing time is indefinite. They only deny entry when “naubos na ang lechon“, according to one of the staff members.
Eight more branches in Metro Manila are expected to open soon: Cloverleaf Mall and UP Town Center in Quezon City, Glorietta in Makati City, Ayala Feliz in Marikina, Ayala Macapagal and Blue Bay Walk in Pasay City, as well as Tiendesitas and Portico in Pasig City.
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