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Lampara Is Poblacion’s Hottest New Restaurant Thanks To Its Neo Filipino Menu And Retro Cool Vibe

Some restaurants can get blindingly loud and aggressive when it comes to their signage and façade—as if shouting to customers for them to be seen, tried, and eventually judged for the dining experience. There’s nothing wrong with that—it’s part of the business after all. However, there’s one Poblacion player defying the norm with its discreet name plate beside an unassuming front door. It says “Lampara” on the metal sign, and like a flickering flame, it can be easy to miss if you don’t look carefully. But once you catch it—it sure is a sight, or rather, an experience to behold.   

 

Lampara's quirky, eclectic look 

 

Stylish interiors always Instagram ready 

 

Leading up the stairs to the second floor lies Lampara’s true nature—a stylish abode that impresses even before you sit down in one of the retro chairs. While the place looks swanky and chic by night, I would suggest visiting the place before nightfall, when the streets are calm, and the restaurant fully shows its nuances, textures, and intricacies in every corner—from the modish light fixtures down to the gorgeous dinner plates. My favorite section though would be the cool glass room with its Mad Men-type furniture and fixtures. Betty Draper would swoon while indulging in the house’s signature cocktails that have been baptized with fascinating names and even more fascinating back stories.  

 

An inviting corner with a Pinoy retro vibe

 

The outdoor patio and terrace

 

Pana Kakana Kana with gin, cardamom, black pepper 

 

Gasera ni Simoun with rum, grapefruit, rosemary

 

Asiong with gin, black currant, cinnamon

 

Chefs RJ Ramos, Alphonse Sotero, and Prince Tan are the light keepers at Lampara. Their mission: to present our local cuisine with a modern spin, which suffice to say, is not your lola’s cooking. Lampara relishes in pushing the envelope when it comes to their Neo-Filipino menu by applying modern culinary techniques and coming up with unusual yet incredible flavor combinations for their dishes.

 

In the Lampara kitchen with Chef RJ Ramos

 

While Lampara’s menu is still growing, the current line-up has already been impressing foodies and word of mouth has made it one of the buzziest new restaurants around. Highlights include the flavor bombs they call Rice Cups, appetizers that are filled either with heavenly tofu with ubod or wicked longganisa dressed in crab fat. Both go so well with the spiced vinegar dip. Another is the silky Tofu, a play on RJ’s favorite Chinese guilty pleasure but made more amazing with Filipino ingredients like crispy candy-like pork bits, pickled onions, and an addicting black vinegar syrup, which you can mop off with the pork floss. If there is a starter that should not be missed, it is the Dinuckduckan. Lampara’s rendition of the classic Ilocano delicacy uses smoked duck breast heavily garnished with onions and green peppers then seductively plated on a nest of fried eggs. Not yet contented with the already sumptuous plate, they also sprinkle in bits of crispy duck skin, just because they can.     

 

Rice Cups topped with longganisa, ubod, aligue or bean sprouts, peanut, tofu

 

Of course, the big plates are another story. Don’t be fooled by their understated monikers though—the dishes will have you pondering their creative play in flavors. The Pork dish is a delicious symphony of sorts, starting with the crispy crackling pork skin to the well seasoned meat infused with star anise and other aromatics. The Veal Steak, on the other hand, is a sous vide sensation that takes 48 hours in the making, resulting in meat so tender, all you need is a fork to do the job. Components like rich tomato sauce, bell pepper purée, carrot powder, and shoestring potatoes round off the dish, making this modern kaldereta worth savoring with every bite.   

 

Tofu with pork floss, bacon crisp, black vinegar

 

Dinuckdakan with duck meat, egg, green chili

 

You can cap off the night with one of Lampara’s sweet creations: Yema & Tsokolate. Looking like a work of art, the dessert is composed of several elements: nougatine made with award-winning Malagos chocolate, tablea shortbread, roasted barley cream, toasted yema, and honey isomalt.

 

Yema & Tsokolate with Malagos chocolate, condensed milk, honey

 

Together with his team, Chef RJ hopes to spark within their guests, a renewed sense of appreciation for Filipino food and its innovations. And with a kitchen that’s passionate about promoting our homegrown flavors, matched with casual yet impeccable dining service, and the chefs’ unwavering curiosity and creativity, the future of modern Filipino cuisine certainly looks bright for Lampara.    

 

The Lampara crew with chefs Alphonse Sotero, Prince Tan, and RJ Ramos standing in the center (with blue aprons)

 

 

83 Enriquez Street, Poblacion, Makati City, (0917) 173-5883, IG @lampara.pob, open Monday to Saturday, 6 pm to 2 am

 

Photos by Paul del Rosario