This Beef Lengua is So Good, It Got Us Speaking in TonguesApril 30, 2020
- Mikka WeeWords
My mother always found my tastes rather peculiar. As a child and specifically during family gatherings, I’d always race to grab a plate filled with my grandmother’s lengua—something my mom refused to put into her mouth, until two New Year lunches ago when my cousins and I mischievously piled some on her plate. We told her it was some rendition of beef stroganoff, and she wolfed down heaps of it with much satisfaction until my grandmother herself revealed the truth about the slabs of beef tongue that now rested in my mother’s belly. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to know what transpired after that.
Lengua, for me, is staple comfort food. Cooked slowly until melt-in-your-mouth tender and swimming in creamy mushroom sauce, it rarely fails to hit the spot. A recent discovery of—should I dare say—the best beef lengua I’ve had so far in Metro Manila can be found all the way in Quezon City. Along Scout Tobias cor. Scout Fuentebella Streets lies Heirloom Kitchen, a cozy, unassuming family restaurant that I wouldn’t mind coming back to over and over just for their beef lengua.
Served with buttered vegetables and your side of choice (I unabashedly went for the creamy butter mashed potatoes), Heirloom Kitchen’s Beef Lengua is extremely tender, and lavished with a simple mushroom sauce that’s light and anything but cloying. I’ve observed that there are some restaurants that cheat their way into making the sauce by using cans of Campbell’s Mushroom, but Heirloom Kitchen’s is chock-full of savory flavor. The one I had on my recent visit could use a light sprinkling of salt, but you can tell that deft hands have seasoned it with just the right amount of herbs. Speckled with sliced chorizo, the Spanish sausage lifted the dish with hints of pepper and a distinct tinge of smokiness.
Heirloom Kitchen’s Squash Flower Fritters also make for an indulgent companion to the beef lengua. Delicate squash flowers are generously stuffed with herbed cheddar and deep-fried to a crisp. They lend a nice preliminary crunch before the torrent of melted cheese comes gushing out. It’s served with a side of marinara for added punch and tang.
I know my mother will never in a million years eat lengua with as much gusto as I do. But maybe that will change after she tries this one.