For a dining experience that has been dubbed as unusual but surprisingly good, Lulu restaurant is definitely that, and more.
Restaurant ownership is one of the most highly stressful endeavours. But it’s also one of the most gratifying successes. If there is one person who truly knows about it, the chef Tom Hines would be it. Coming from almost 20 years of restaurant business experience, Hines, of British descent, has been moving a lot around Asia, coming up with innovative restaurant concepts that transforms not only the local palate landscape but the service approach as well.
The latest of his projects is the re-creation of the Rockwell-based Lu restaurant. Together with main partner Jerome Smooth, a former DJ for Magic 89.9, they have envisioned a full-service restaurant that caters for anyone and everyone in the community. Says Hines: “We try to be conscious of these things. We are a community here in Rockwell. We have mums, business people, yoga practitioners, pet owners so we try to cater for everybody. We have a diverse clientele. We have those who like healthy dishes, we have gourmets, vegetarians, meat lovers, but we have something for everybody. Why do we have to compromise because you have issues?”
Lulu, the reinvented name, has adapted the philosophy: “Your lifestyle, your choice.” And they take that seriously. From the Mediterranean-themed menu of the former Lu, it now features over a hundred choices: from appetisers, soup, main courses (of American, Spanish, French, Italian, Filipino, Mexican, Thai-style cooking), sandwiches, salad and desserts. And when they say they have something for everybody, they really mean it.
Their dishes are now diversified, too. From simply roasting and braising, Hines also uses the Sous-Vide technique, popularised by NASA to preserve the flavour and texture of the meat while in outer space. The process involves vacuum-sealing the meat in food-grade packaging with its concoction and cooking it for longer hours; 72 hours is not unusual in this process. Lulu offers its best-selling 12-hour slow sous-vide Mediterranean lamb shank and green tea salmon. The results are full-flavoured and succulent dishes that are greatly satisfying.
To further demonstrate the seriousness of their concept, Lulu has come up with Pre-fixe lunch, meant for business lunches and quick bites for the working persons; Dog day Afternoon is a Saturday date for pet owners and their lovelies with the chef preparing gourmet dog food treats; there’s also one for mums and their babies, an opportunity to socialize with fellow parents and where the resto features organic baby food; Sunday brunch brings out a special menu perfect for weekend get-togethers, as well as The Lounge, the mezzanine that will soon to be transformed into a vodka/wine/Champagne Lounge. There’s also a lot of variety in their wine collection. They have both old-world and new-world wines, as well as the organic wines and white merlot from Italy.
Hines adds: “You take care of the details, the bigger pictures are taken care of, that’s how I operate.”
Ground Level, Joya Bldg.
Joya Drive, Rockwell
Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines