Chilly January weather calls for a hot lugaw party.
JTG’s Lugawan Republic serves Pilugaw or lugaw with chicken, goto, black mushroom, fried garlic bits, green onions and the secret ingredient—sotanghon. It sounds weird but it actually works.
Cofounder Jojo Salomon said Pilugaw is “an original concoction named after Pilo, the husband of Nanay Norma Luis, former owner of Lugawan Island ng Pilo on Timog Avenue.”
His team had acquired Lugawan Island and rebranded it into JTG Lugawan Republic.
There are three branches in Metro Manila for hungry and tipsy diners. Lugawan Republic on Scout Rallos, Quezon City, and BF Homes, Parañaque City, are both located beside the Filipino restaurant Iago’s (also managed by Salomon and Eva Bronce), serving as a 24/7 after-party stopover.
“Iago’s Restaurant near Tomas Morato was a refurbished house, and Lugawan Republic used to be the garage,” Salomon said.
The menu is straightforward.
Clean-tasting lugaw is the base for the hot items served in a customized tabo-like ceramic bowl that keeps the food warm.
Goto Hell is a spicy lugaw so potent that rap artist Francis Magalona once raved about it on TV.
Salomon said diners called the sobering Goto Hell “pampagising” or “pantanggal ng tama.”
Vegetarian Lugaw is topped with mushroom, spinach or young corn. Japanese lugaw called Okayu has tempura, chicken, nori and seafood, while Chinese Congee has century egg, meatballs and fish fillet.
There’s a Create UR Own Lugaw menu if one feels like tossing a smorgasbord of pork floss, quail eggs, or even pork adobo for an overloaded lugaw.
“Lugawan Republic has hosted many lugaw parties,” Salomon said. “It is budget-friendly, but most of the time, guests like the unique idea of serving simple but delectable dishes without the hassle of preparation.”
Sides are mostly fried: Crispy Tofu, Crispy Tokwa’t Baboy, Chuch Okoy, Fish ’n Chips, Lumpiang Shanghai and the popular Chicharon Aleta.
“Aleta” has become synonymous with thinly sliced flavorful pork chicharon fried to a crisp—like bacon but better. It’s being offered in other restaurants but Lugawan Republic came up with it.
“Aleta is actually the name of our meat supplier,” Salomon said.
Want rice? Lugawan Republic has silog specials: tapsilog, longsilog, tocilog, even fried chicken and sweet-and-sour pork.
There’s also Pancit Canton, Pancit Bihon, dim sum and Dinuguan at Puto for sharing.
Hearty, meaty soups include Sinigang na Baboy, Nilagang Tuhod and Special Bulalo, best paired with fresh calamansi juice.
One dessert is called Da Best Leche Flan, and it’s pretty good, so are the Halo-Halo ni Chuch and Maiz Con Hielo with cornflakes. Brewed coffee is not on the menu but can be ordered from Iago’s.
Lugaw Party packages can be customized according to the number of guests and food preferences, Salomon said.
The quaint Scout Rallos branch has capiz windows with barandilla details and Machuca tile floor ideal for laid-back gatherings. There are function rooms.
JTG’s Lugawan Republic, 56 Scout Rallos St. and Banawe St., Quezon City; BF Homes, Sucat, Parañaque City. Follow Lugawan Republic on Facebook