Connecticut Street in Greenhills has been known to house a wide array of gastronomical goodness including a popular Taiwanese restaurant called Lugang Café. Ever since I read about it from Leslie's blog, I have nothing but a continuously growing eagerness to try the Taiwanese food fare they serve. However as much as I wanted to pay the area a visit, it'll take me a lot of planning and effort since I live quite far. I've almost given up but fortunately, Lugang Café had put up a branch in SM Mall of Asia which opened last December 6.
My date and I came from a lunch feast when we went to the bay-side mall. Although we were still quite full from our previous meal, I didn't want to miss the chance of trying out the Taiwanese restaurant. So after a few hours of strolling in the mall, we got ourselves an early dinner for two at Lugang Café.
Although it was only a few minutes before 6PM, there were already a handful of people waiting to be seated. Usually, I expect waiting customers to frown and look bored. However, Lugang Café managed to make guests feel entertained by having their skilled dimsum makers show off their culinary prowess through a clear-glassed dimsum kitchen.
Lucky for my date and I though because a table for two is easier to whip up, so in no time we already found ourselves inside the lovely decorated Taiwanese food destination. And even though I wasn't able to successfully take nice photos of the place, I can definitely assure any first-timer that Lugang Café's interior will not fail to impress. The place only makes use of white and black as its main color scheme, with some hint of gold and brown here and there. However, the choice of furniture as well as the sleek mirrors and ceiling lights gave the whole place a modern sophisticated feel. They were also able to put a mezzanine!
My date and I wanted to order all of Lugang Café's bestsellers. However, our bellies wouldn't be able to take everything in. So to start our light dinner was a pot of Chinese Hot Tea (P40) to help with our digestion.
We also got an order of the famous Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao (P188) which had 7 pieces of steamed bun containing hot soup inside.
I haven't tasted a lot of xiaolongbao in my life. However, I really liked Lugang Café's version as the bun had the perfect thickness and texture -- at least for me. The filling was also very juicy and delicate-tasting while still being flavorful. Each bite of these babies are truly a wonderful soupy explosion in the mouth.
My date got the both of us another dimsum -- an order of Steamed Shrimp & Pork Shiao Mai (P218) which also came in 7 pieces.
This dimsum dish, although good, left my date quite disappointed. I admit that it was our fault though as we assumed this order to be plain shrimp & pork siomai. In the end, we found out that beneath the shrimp is soup like the xiaolongbao's.
Initially we asked for an order of the appetizer Abalone Mushroom and Jelly Fish (P220). But since it was out of stock, we just got an order of Taiwanese Sausage (P180) served with chopped garlic, green onions and soy sauce.
Although we didn't really plan to get this, we were quite happy as this dish was satisfying. The sausages were meaty and salty, just the perfect flavor to follow our delicate dimsum orders.
After finishing the meal starters, we dug in to one of Lugang Café's bestsellers -- their simple yet irresistibly good Taiwanese Stewed Minced Pork (P180).
At first, I was a little surprised to see that this dish is served in a small bowl. However after taking a spoonful, I realized that the portion was just right. This simple pork dish is very flavorful and tasty that one mouthful will be balanced by at least two spoons of rice. My date also had nothing negative to say about the dish as he really liked it too.
And since I already mentioned rice, my date and I didn't miss this Asian meal staple. We got an order of Lugang Café's Golden Fried Rice with Shredded Pork (P220).
Honestly, this rice dish looked identical to the famous Chinese restaurant favorite -- Yang Chow. However unlike Yang Chow, the Golden Fried Rice was quite bland and lacked a few dashes of seasoning. Good thing though, the Taiwanese Sausage and Taiwanese Stewed Minced Pork we were eating it with were already bursting with strong flavors.
After the light dinner, my mind still wanted to order some items for dessert. However, my stomach was already too full to take anything in. My date felt the same as well. If only we didn't eat a lot for lunch, we would've saved space for dessert and some coffee.
Lugang Café may be a little on the pricier side since their servings are perfect only for 2 to 3 people. However the taste, place and service can easily give justice to their premium pricing. And although I have never been to Taiwan yet, I feel that Lugang Café had somehow brought me a taste of its country of origin.
The next time we'll be in Mall of Asia, we'll also make sure to get a taste of the bestsellers we haven't sampled yet, including of course the desserts and coffee Lugang Café is proud of.
Ambiance - 4.5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Lugang Café, SM Mall of Asia
G/F SM Mall of Asia, Seaside Dr.
Pasay City, Metro Manila