The other weekend, we were invited into the home of Tinee de Guzman for dinner.
We were served two variants of his famous cochinillo, and a Spanish feast including Rabo de Toro, Fabada, and Fideua. Dinner was superb!
The cochinillo is very popular with his upscale customers, and I can understand why. Their consistent orders keep him very busy throughout the Christmas season.
What is a cochinillo?
Cochinillo is the Spanish word for piglet or suckling pig. In this case, we are talking about Tinee’s mouthwatering, brick-oven-roasted, 28-day old suckling piglets with thin, crispy skin.
For gatherings where you only have about 20 people or less, ordering a whole lechon seems too much, and we have to allot ref space for the leftovers and need to worry about turning them into lechon paksiw.
In such cases, a cochinillo might be the solution! A regular cochinillo can serve 8-12, while a large cochinillo can serve 14-18 people.
What’s special about Mr. Cochinillo?
Tinee is very particular about the piglets that he uses for his cochinillo. He chooses 28-day old milk-fed piglets that are “malaman”. He meticulously cleans the piglets, even the ears, the nose, the nails, and removes nose/ear hair. Hearing this, I felt confident about eating any part of this roasted suckling pig, assured that everything was cleaned very well and that no spots were missed.
Tinee is also hands-on for every cochinillo he makes – this keeps the quality level up to his standards.
After cleaning, the piglets are marinated and then roasted for hours in brick ovens.
Here’s Tinee showing us his brick ovens:
Tinee is not a professional chef. He likes to cook at home and experiments on Sundays while entertaining friends. He started baking pork belly, but eventually settled on making cochinillo instead. His friends started ordering food from him and that’s how Mr. Cochinillo came to be.
We were served the regular Cochinillo del Cielo, as well as a version that Tinee has just developed where he infuses the skin with goose fat. The goose fat version is priced P1,000 more than the regular Cochinillo del Cielo.
The cochinillos are so tender that you can slice them with a plate! We took our turns cracking the cochinillo with a plate. No knife was needed. The thin, crispy skin though! There was hardly any layer of fat underneath the skin.
J made a beeline for the goose fat cochinillo to the exclusion of anything else. 😀 The goose fat cochinillo skin was redolent with goose flavor – crispy thin lechon skin and the rich, creaminess of goose fat combined – it’s heaven on a plate for him.
While I enjoyed the goose fat version, I preferred the original – simple, thin, crunchy. The cochinillo meat is soft, tender, and pulls apart with a light tug. Compared to the usual lechon that is loaded with herbs and salt, this cochinillo is just mildly flavored and highlights the natural taste of the pork itself. No sauce is provided, and none is needed.
Also served for dinner was Seafood Fideua (pronounced fidoowa) – this is very similar to a paella, but instead of rice, short pasta is used.
The Fabada is a white bean and meat stew that uses smokey cochinillo meat! It reminds me of a cassoulet. It doesn’t have tomato sauce, just the way I like it! It is slightly salty on its own but just perfect with some white rice.
Aside from the Cochinillo, my favorite dish that night was the Rabo de Toro (Oxtail Stew), of which I had seconds and thirds 🙂 It is similar to a rich, slow-cooked, Spanish-style caldereta but without many of the extender vegetables we usually see in calderetas. This will make you eat more rice than you had intended to, haha 🙂
We had a wonderful dinner – the food was great, the drinks flowing, the conversation witty!
You may order the cochinillos, as well as the other Mr. Cochinillo dishes, for your Christmas parties, get-togethers, birthday celebrations and other special occasions. The details are below.
HOW TO ORDER
Mr. Cochinillo does not deliver. You can pick-up your order at their address. It’s that good that people make the effort to pick up their orders 🙂 They also accept pick-ups via Grab Express and Lalamove, but they cannot guarantee how the orders are handled by Grab / Lalamove.
This is their Menu / Order Form:
When we arrived at Green Meadows, we were able to get in at Gate 3 (led by Waze). The guards were already familiar with Mr. Cochinillo and were able to give us directions.
Pick Up at: 5 Parakeet St. cor. Swallow Drive, Green Meadows Subd., Quezon City
Call: 633-0043 and 952-4102
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!