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Who does not love lechon? But just imagine this — Spain’s cochinillo asado meets Philippine lechon kawali, then put them together and kick it up a notch. That’s Chef Ariel Manuel‘s famous Pugon Lechon, only at Un Cuenca in Molito at Ayala Alabang. Pork belly perfectly roasted in a pugon or charcoal-fired oven, with the skin super crisp and crackling and the meat beautifully juicy, tender, and succulent. Served with a flavor-heightening liver and mustard sauce (or orange jam, if you prefer) and a side of atchara to cut the porky richness. It’s simply a gastronomic orgasm!

But the lechon love fest does not stop there. Chef Ariel’s brilliant inventiveness transforms his other dishes, too. There’s Lechon Carbonara pasta, with the diced-up lechon replacing the usual bacon, to give it that distinct salty, smoky taste. And the Pugon Lechon Sisig or the Tokwa’t Lechon or the Lechon Garlic Arroz — all are a definite must-try! And, of course, when there is Lechon, there has to be its classic sequent — the Lechon Paksiw.

Nevertheless, Un Cuenca is not just all about pork. It’s really all about great food created playfully and geniusly by Chef Ariel who has had years of experience overseeing the kitchens of Lolo Dad’s and was inspired by his travels through Spain. Like who would think up of Lamb Kalderetta with Dried Mangoes? Or Duck Adobo topped with a perfectly fried duck egg. Or Deep-fried Chicken Wings Adobo with… can you believe it?… Chocolate Sauce! Oh my!

Most people like to call this a Spanish restaurant, but not Chef Ariel. Consider its fabulous fare as the creatively conscious coupling of favorite delicious Filipino dishes with the exciting flavors of Spain. Un Cuenca is unique.

Un Cuenca is at the Molito Commercial Complex (facing the garden) in Ayala Alabang. Call 8154811 for reservations.

p.s. And make sure to order the Sangría! It’s served after brandy has been flambéed and poured into the carafe. Trust me, it’s the best!