As a long-time resident of Pasig City, I was overjoyed when I found out that a new lechon belly restaurant called Belly Good Boneless Lechon Belly (BGBLB) has finally opened near the city proper in late 2016. It took me a few more months to visit the area where it's located -- the Hampton Gardens Arcade in Barangay Maybunga -- but that first visit soon became almost a weekly one. I just couldn't get enough of the restaurant's succulent oven-roasted pork belly and its crackling crispy skin. Lechon belly has become part of my diet since then.
Owners Andrei and Cha Sarmiento are celebrating the first anniversary of their new business venture. It's only been a year but the overwhelming response from local diners has been great according to the married couple. The ambiance is a cross between upscale and casual because of the dining area's industrial-meets-chic details. Don't look for anything native like a bamboo chandelier or an ultra rustic seat to remind you of how roast pork was promoted in the '80s. In this age of selfies and Instagram-worthy flat lay shots, the interiors of BGBLB is anything but dated.
After being at the helm of numerous experimental businesses, Andrei finally ventured into his passion which is cooking. He did grow up assisting his grandmother at the kitchen as a kid on special occasions, so fulfilling his dream of working in his own kitchen as an adult just felt inevitable.
There was a time when the long C. Raymundo Ave. in Pasig City looked like a no man's land for being inundated with factories and warehouses. The sight is totally opposite today when both sides of the road are constantly bustling with commercial activities with the presence of restaurants, groceries, bakeries and condominiums. The site of the complex where BGBLB is located can't be more attractive as a venue for Andrei's oven-roasted creations.
|Andrei Sarmiento of Belly Good Boneless Lechon Belly|
|Seafood Marinara Pasta|
|Tuna Basil Pasta|
He has managed to keep the menu streamlined with stellar lechon belly-centric dishes and only introduced this November a couple of new seafood dishes to match the discriminating taste of their patrons along with the Salted Egg Shrimp, Fresh Lumpia, and the Kapampangan-favorite Gising-gising.
If you've dined more than once at the restaurant, chances are you've requested for pasta. Fortunately this month, BGBLB has the mild-tasting Tuna Basil and Seafood Marinara, two pasta dishes that can definitely compliment a table filled with roasted pork orders.
|Barbecue Ribs with Potato Salad|
For those who haven't tried BGBLB, the lechon belly called Bellychon can be ordered solo for only Php165. And that's with a serving of steamed white rice and red iced tea already! It's served with atchara and lechon sauce. You can upgrade the rice to Bellychon Rice which is both delicious and healthy for having a turmeric mix.
If you're on a date, you can opt for the Php210-worth Bellychon Duo, a hefty plate of oven-roasted pork belly that's good for two people. Simply order rice to add to it and you're set to enjoy your meal. Other variants include the Family (4 to 5 persons) for Php410, the Barkada (8 to 9 persons) for Php800, the Party (roughly 2 kilos for 15 persons) for Php1,600 and the Feast (full slab for 30 persons) for Php2,800.
BGBLB favorites also include the Kare-karechon, a bowl of "bellychon" slices in homemade peanut sauce and served with eggplant, beans and cabbage. It also comes with bagoong and can satisfy two to three persons for only Php275.
Based on my dining experience at BGBLB, other standout orders are the Barbecue Ribs that's served with a complimenting Potato Salad and the potent-tasting Sizzling Squid that's topped with garlic confit and served on a plate of BGBLB's signature soy mix.
Deliveries and Special Events
For deliveries of the Bellychon variants, simply call the mobile number at the end of this article. For exclusive events, you can book the whole restaurant for a consumable rate.
There's really no point leaving Pasig City for the nearest mall if you're in the mood for a sinful meal. And if you're just outside the city, Belly Good Boneless Lechon Belly is definitely one roast-errific reason why you need to close the fridge at least once a week and simply order what can make you smile.
Photography by Aubrey Gacer and Karl Acepcion
Aubrey Gacer is a Manila-based freelance photographer. Check out his work at Gacer Photography.
Belly Good Boneless Lechon Belly
Official Facebook fan page of Belly Good Boneless Lechon Belly
Address: Unit 208 Hampton Gardens Arcade, C. Raymundo Ave., Brgy. Maybunga, Pasig City