The venue was Lugang Café –a three-story restaurant on Connecticut Avenue in Greenhills serving Taiwanese and Cantonese cuisine.
The ambiance is perfect. The interiors are posh and opulent in a modern oriental design. The owners have taken every effort to make sure the overall look, feel and appearance of the restaurant would justify the price range of the food, which is a little bit on the high side.
Level of service is excellent and consistent throughout the whole visit – from the time we arrived and looked for parking space, to when we waited to be seated up to the time we were served our food.
We arrived at the place a few minutes past 6pm. It was early enough to be able to get a slot at the resto’s parking lot across the street assisted by very able parking attendants. However, we were already number 3 in the waiting list and had to wait for almost thirty minutes before we got seated.
Considering that the place was full of customers all the way to the third floor, the staff were trying their best to be on top of the situation.We got seated in the dining area on the third floor. We pre-selected our orders while waiting for our seats, but they did not start cooking the food until we were seated.
And probably in their desire to provide quick service, at one instance even the janitor served a plate of food when the waiters were busy getting the other viand from the kitchen in the lower floors.
And now for the food.
Putting Lugang Café’s Oyster Omelette to Test
Somebody from Chinatown told one of my sons that a good barometer of how well a chef cooks Chinese food is via the taste of his oyster omelette in sweet spicy sauce. We always thought the better test was via pork or fish in sweet and sour sauce. But since we all agree that we may be biased for our own kitchen’s version of sweet and sour sauce, we decided to check the correlation between the oyster omelet on one hand and the other Chinese food that we will order that evening on the other hand. So that was the first dish we ordered and tasted for the night.
The verdict: 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 for the dish. After the dinner, we agreed that this rating has a strong correlation with the way overall rating we gave to the dinner — majority of the food were very good but one or two may stand some improvement.
Xiao Long Bao and Steamed Vegetable and Pork Dumplings
These are soup-filled dimsums which have become popular offerings in the past year by new Chinese restaurants. Lugang Cafe has one of the better versions.
The pork xiao long bao is good. The skin was thin but the soup is contained. As you bite into it the juice oozes and you enjoy the taste of the filling that’s you should into the soy vinegar with ginger slices.
The steamed vegetable and pork dumplings is delicate and delectable. We had to make a slurping sound as we put the dumplings into our mouth or else we may have burned our tongues with its broth.
Stir-Fried Beef with Chilli Peppers
Served on a hot pot, a fair amount of dried chilies accompany the dish. It has the heat spunk but is totally tolerable unless you eat the actual chili or chili seeds. The very thin slices of beef has splinters of fat on the side. These absorbed the flavor of the sauce, resulting in a tender and flavorful bite.
Kung Pao Prawns (650)
The kung pao prawns was cooked in sweet and spicy sauce with rings of red pepper and lots of cashew nuts. It tasted sweet, spicy and tart. It was good enough but not great. This may have been due to a high expectation we had of Chinese restaurants as regards to the way they cook prawns and crabs. Moreover, we thought that for the size of the serving , it is a bit overpriced.
String Beans with Salted Egg (220)
This is the dish that impressed us the most. The vegetable was cooked just right and has retained its crunchiness. The addition of salted egg brought out just the right amount fo saltiness to the dish. While eating we made some effort at trying to identify what other ingredients may have been included in the dish — with the intent of cooking one in our kitchen.
Dong Bo Pork with Gua Bao
The Dong Bo Pork is best eaten tucked in-between a sliced Gua Bao.The pork is very fatty, with a soft-stewed skin still on the cube. The meat breaks apart easily and is tender. The fatty layers between the meat is soft and juicy.
This dessert was the big come on of the evening. It is a a tower of shaved ice, with all sorts of beans, tubers, sago mixed. We had a great time sharing and enjoying the dessert.
There are still a lot of items in the menu that are worth trying. I am sure that we will go back to Lugang Cafe some other time to try its other dishes and desserts.