At Lechon Republic, it's a rolled pork stuffed with spring onion and more that is cooked over charcoal for four hours. Filipino cuisine is known for its eclectic fusion of cultures but what this little kitchen does is build a range of dishes that add amazing new flavour dimensions to traditional Filipino cooking that will blow your mind! They also make some seriously excellent roast chicken and grilled pork skewers.
It's a tiny place tucked away next to Spargo's on Prospect Road - it is a diner after all - but it's busy and happy. Since opening in October, owner Froilan Lacar and his team have been flat out keeping up with the diner's growing popularity. Once you've tried them once, they'll be popular with you too!
Most of the menu is based on Lechon inspired dishes - each one infused with its own lively and unique personality - and there's also delicious Chicken Inasal (also available whole for takeaway) and char-grilled pork skewers in a soy vinegar marinade with banana ketchup.
First, we went for the Pork Lechon itself. Portions of rich pork are simply served with pickled veggies and soy vinegar sauce. This is where you will appreciate the crispy pork crackle and sumptuous tender meat balanced finely by the soy vinegar sauce which provides the sweet acids to offset the real pork. The sauce really brightens things up and is so good we asked for more.
Second, we tried the Binagoongan. This is the same pork but delivered in a coconut milk sauce with tomato, garlic, onion, shrimp paste, chilli, and spinach. I'm thinking it's the shrimp paste but this one reminds me of Vietnamese style dishes. The flavours are light and bright yet complex and interesting, you do miss a bit of the crispiness of the pork skin but that's okay because the flavour combo will delight you.
Third, we opted for one of their more controversial dishes, the Dinuguan. This is pork lechon served in a black pudding sauce with vinegar, garlic, ginger, and onion. By now the table was filling with food in all colours and textures. The dark Dinuguan is rich, soft, and tasty and the sauce adds a thought-provoking layer of flavour with yes, three dimensions of flavour to think about as you eat.
We ordered char-grilled corn on the cob and rice as sides. The corn is super sweet and tasty while the rice has a little sprinkling of dried garlic over the top to add a layer of flavour.
For dessert, we opted for a Leche Flan and the Halo Halo. Leche Flan is a traditional Filipino dessert that's a bit like a crème brulee but firmer. We gobbled it up on no time. The Halo Halo is where things get interesting – a tall glass filled with sweet beans and fruit topped with evaporated milk, ice shavings, roasted flat rice and leche flan. The Halo Halo is designed to be crunched up and mixed together for an interesting and filling dessert.
Coffee, soft drinks, juices and beers are available by the cup, bottle, can or stubby and wines are available by the bottle only. Lechon Republic also does daily specials straight of a traditional Filipino kitchen that you won't find anywhere else – call or drop by to see what's on offer.
There's not a lot of traditional Filipino food in Adelaide and Lechon Republic is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the amazing range of flavours that have been taken up a few notches by Froilan's skill and talent for designing new dishes. Worth noting is that, as they were leaving, another customer told the team that the Adobo was the "best they'd ever tasted". We'd never taste Lechon before but we both thoroughly enjoyed the engaging and interesting range of flavours in each dish.
Look, it's a bit small in there and I hope they can find a way to open a bigger space in the future. Of course, takeaway is welcome and I'll be sure to take advantage of that soon. It might take four hours to roast the lechon but once that's done early every day, the service is quick.
Lechon Republic is seriously different and you should try it. Closed Mondays and open from 11:30am to 9pm the rest of the week, they're at 101a Prospect Road in Prospect. Bookings are essential on 0412419211. Find out more at their website or follow them on socials to keep up with what's new.