Fely J's Kitchen - Filipino Comfort Food at It's Finest

Written By clapalisoc on Thursday, 3 December 2015 | 05:00

When you get a message from the looloo crew inviting you somewhere, you just have to say YES! It doesn't matter if it's an Eat-Up (KKB type of Meet-Up where you do something fun, like bowling, then eat somewhere as a group), a Rendezvoos (restaurant sponsored meet-up where you'll get to sample A LOT of a particular restaurant's dishes) or a Food Tour (THE BEST OF THEM ALL! A sponsored food crawl where you'll eat non-stop for hours!). So, when I got that FB message from Pea, it was an instant YES!

A Rendezvoos on a Thursday night - in Greenbelt 5. Sponsor restaurant: Fely J's Kitchen. I haven't been to a restaurant for a long time now serving authentic Filipino cuisine. We've been frequenting Sarsa but that's Filipino Food with a twist. But when asked what Filipino Restaurant I like the most, my answer will always be Abe. Honestly, I haven't heard about Fely J's since we don't frequent Greenbelt restaurants and we usually try international cuisines when dining out. This Rendezvoos was a great chance to get to know Fely J's Kitchen and its offerings.

We got a warm welcome from the management, a private room reserved for us and a menu of what they will be serving was printed out. Mags and Malou accompanied us throughout the dinner while the executive Chef made a cameo to tell us about his inspiration in coming up with new dishes and also told us about his favorite dish from their menu. We had a great time learning about the Fely J's and the LJC Group. Apparently they also own Abe, Lorenzo's Way, Cafe Adriatico, Cafe Havana, Bistro Remedios and Larry's Cafe & Bar.

Fely J's management were so organized. They even provided us with a menu of what will be served then gave us their restaurant menu if in case we wanted to try something else. The spread they prepared was nothing but awesome! Let me drill down.

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls
Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls for 245Php ️

Appetizer: Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

Fresh Rice Paper stuffed with veggies, shrimp and pork. They served this with two kinds of sauces - Thai and peanut sauce. I am very much a fan of this kind of Spring Roll smothered with salty and sweet peanut sauce but Fely J's version was bland. The Thai Sauce was better since it made the each bite flavorful adding character to the plain but fresh rolls. Tried combining them and I guess that's the best way to go.

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Utan Ilonngo
Utan Ilonngo for 260Php

Soup: Utan Ilonngo

Clear vegetable soup with okra, squash, eggplant, sayote and malunggay leaves. It also had shrimps and clams and to add more flavor to the soup, they threw in some lemon grass. The veggies were done right and I loved that it's healthy! It's so simple yet I loved it and will definitely order this for my children! Yup, mommy approved!

Now to the main event - they prepared a lot!

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Sugpo sa Kamias
Sugpo sa Kamias for 595Php

We were thinking along the line of Sinigang since Kamias is sour and can be used as substitute for sampaloc but we were so wrong! Huge shrimps served in a midly curried sauce with tomato and kamias. It was good but I guess I don't like my shrimps with curry.

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Bistek Tagalog ng Kano
Bistek Tagalog ng Kano for 885Php

Any guess why this Filipino household favorite dish was called as such? There's nothing special with the ingredients. Just your typical Bistek Tagalog mix of calamansi, onions, garlic and soy sauce. Fely J's leveled this up with thin strips of US Black Angus Sirloin pan fried in olive oil. The taste of the sauce brought me back home to my grandma's and mom's Bistek. But of course the beef was super tender and married well with the marinade. This was a crowd favorite!

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Chicken "mabuting" Inasal
Chicken "mabuting" Inasal for 380Php

I really don't know why it was called "mabuting" Inasal lol but anyway it was flavorful and the meat was tender. Just like the way we know inasal, the chicken was marinated with garlic, calamansi and spices then grilled Inasal style. I didn't eat a lot of this dish coz there were a lot more to try  

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Lengua Rendang
Lengua Rendang for 399Php

One of my favorites from the spread! I remember growing up eating Lengua in White Sauce when I was a child and it was one of my Lola's specialty. I've always had it like that and I enjoyed it but having it Rendang style was as well awesome! Loved the very tender lamb slices and the sauce that exploded with spices! It had hints of coconut milk and wasn't too spicy.

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Ginataang Nangka at Lamang Dagat
Ginataang Nangka at Lamang Dagat for 325Php

Never a fan of Ginataang Nangka and I have never tried the dish before because I enjoy Nangka on its fresh or sweetened form and can't imagine eating it with rice. But then again I needed to break my No Ginataang Nangka Since Birth life so I tried it. It was weird but okay. Did not taste bad at all but the texture was weird. I honestly didn't know which was the fruit meat and the sea food. I just chewed and swallowed and tasted the rich coconut milk sauce.

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Black Pepper Crab
Black Pepper Crab for 185Php/100g

My FAVORITE of all in the spread! If there is one dish I would say that you should try here, GET THIS! Lol #galitnagalit No exaggeration here, it's really a huge piece of crab and it's so good! The meat was juicy, the sauce was rich and flavorful. Full of black pepper with ginger, it was one spicy but delicious crab!

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Fely J's Temple Crab
Fely J's Temple Crab for 185Php/100g

If you want your crab just plain and simple but still has all the yummy crab flavors, get this dish. Not only will it give you a huge grab but it will also give you a pile of rice! Alimango Crab was fried and topped with loads of crunchy fried garlic and some chilis.
Mags and Malou were also generous enough to let us try their signature Adobo - Aling Ising's Adobo. We talked about signature dishes and desserts of the LJC Group and it led to Mags asking us if we wanted to try their Adobo because it's one of the most requested. Who are we to say NO?

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Lola Isings's Adobo
Lola Isings's Adobo for 395Php

Imagine, fall off the bone pork belly marinated and slowly cooked in a very flavorful adobo sauce - ohhh it was a crowd favorite. The meat was so tender that you can even use a spoon to cut a piece! Odell R fell in love with this Adobo and he can't stop praising Lola Ising!

We also had two more kinds of rice --

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Pina Rice
Pina Rice for 265Php

My favorite! Most times I would opt for a salty fried rice, the YangChow type, but then I liked this one which was a little sweet. It was loaded with chicken strips, shrimps, chorizo and of course, pineapple chunks. A breather from all the salty dishes!

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Fely J’s Dilis-cious Rice
Fely J’s Dilis-cious Rice for 225Php

Steamed rice generously topped with deep fried dilis and taosi. They say it’s their best seller but didn’t quite appeal to me. Maybe I expected something like an anchovy rice or tuyo rice but it wasn’t. The deep fried dilis tasted a bit bitter for me. But then again that’s just me coz this was a crowd favorite too.

Then there was dessert ---

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's San Rival Cake
San Rival Cake for 175Php

Classic Sans Rival made up of alternating layers of crisp meringue and buttery frosting with cashew. It wasn't too sweet and I liked it. I also asked Mags if they have their own bakeshop because they serve cakes and pastries in all of their restaurants so it's but wise to put up their own. According to Mags, they actually own Polka Dot Bakeshop which can be found just in front of Abe in Megamall. They sell mini cakes and whole cakes there, including the Sans Rival.

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Maja Blanca
Maja Blanca for 95Php

A different presentation to the usual Maja Blanca. We are so used to the one served in squares or rectangles with bits of corn kernels inside and topped with latik - coconut meat that have been fried with some coconut milk until all it's natural oil comes out and then the meat becomes dark brown crunchy pieces. Fely J's version had a rich and creamy coconut milk based custard, which again reminded me of my Lola's Tibok-Tibok (Kapampangan for Maja Blanca), but was covered with a thick and creamy coconut milk sauce and more corn kernels. Really good I must say!

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Cassava Bibingka with Buko
Cassava Bibingka with Buko for 120Php

This one was pretty good too. Sticky Rice cake that was served warm, topped with young coconut shavings and some caramel sauce. Level up version of your usual Cassava Bibingka. Loved the medley of the fresh coconut meat with the sweet caramel and warm rice cake. A little heavy for a dessert though.

Then we also had another off the Rendezvoos Menu dessert which was talked about because we have seen it in a couple of looloo reviews and the reviewers were raving about it - Sikreto ni Maria. According to Mags, this is a best seller dessert available in most LJC Group restaurants. They didn't want to discuss what it had until it was served to us.

So, what was the secret behind Sikreto ni Maria?

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Sikreto ni Maria
Sikreto ni Maria for 175Php

When it was served, it didn't look so appetizing. Maybe because everything was covered in a semi-frozen Macapuno ice cream. Just all white and plain. When you dig in, you'll discover that it has usual Kapampangan dessert stuff in it - ripe and sweet mango plus suman or sticky rice and then there were crumbs of panotsa which was basically muscovado sugar. You can say that there is nothing sort of special here but really, the Macapuno ice cream made this dessert so good and tied everything together. I ate a lot of this and still dreaming of it right now.

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's Felyjini
Felyjini for 140Php

They also let us sample one of their best seller drink that had a medley of fruit juices and topped with fruit cocktail. It was sweet and a little sour but didn't really appeal to me.

Overall, I loved our dinner at Fely J's. I haven't tried a Filipino restaurant in a while serving home grown Filipino dishes. I loved that they were able to capture the flavors of authentic Kapampangan dishes without any complications. According to Mags, Lorenzo really wanted to offer Filipino dishes without the usual gourmet plating but rather how dishes are usually being served at home. His vision was for Filipino families to have a place to gather together outside of their homes but still feel that homey vibe with home cooked meals.

LJC Group Restaurant Fely J's

Liza, the server, should also be commended. She knew each and every dish served, answered our dish related questions and even gamely posed for the camera while holding some of the dishes.

Mags was also very accommodating and she was more than willing to share her experiences with the LJC group since she's been with the company for about 8 years already. We got to talked a little about Cafe Adriatico and Bistro Remedios which were very familiar to me since they were the go to for upscale restaurants before around the malate area when I was still in college. She gave us a glimpse of how the LJC Group started and encouraged us to try their other restaurants too.

Looking for an affordable buffet serving ribs and all other American dishes? Maybe you should go try Cafe Havana's Weekday Lunch Buffet at roughly about 500Php. Mags said that they serve good food their as well. She also offered for us to try Bistro Remedios since it was just me and Elizabeth who were familiar with the place.

It was also the ONLY looloo rendezvoos where the restaurant gave out something for the reviewers to take home - tablea for that yummy Chocolat-eh drink! Not only that, they also gave us each a CD that featured Fely J as a restaurant, it's dishes and the LJC group in general. So generous!

P.S. Who is Fely J? Fely J is the mom if the founder of the LJC Group - Lorenzo J. Cruz with a nickname of Larry - thus the name of the two restaurants (Lorenzo's Way & Larry's Cafe and Bar). Abe, if your curious about it, is the name if Larry's dad.

4 out of 5 Stars for Fely J's Kitchen!

--- Fely J's Kitchen: Level 2, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City

About clapalisoc

I am a workaholic mom who is also trying to be the best wife ever. I am a self proclaimed food lover, a frustrated cook and pastry master. I have a thing for books and scrap booking fills up my free time. Blogging? It's something I do once in a while when I can squeeze in some "me time" in this super busy life.


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