Fely J’s Kitchen is part of the LJC group of restaurants. Our family has been a long time fan of their their flagship restaurant Cafe Adriatico (known for it’s Spanish cuisine) and Bistro Remedios (known for serving chic Filipino fare) in Malate as long as I can remember. Fely J’s is a restaurant dedicated to the the memory of Felicidad de Jesus-Cruz, mother of the late restaurateur Larry J. Cruz (LJC). It features Fely J’s recipes she picked up in her travels. It not only serves Filipino food but other Asian dishes as well.
We ate here for another birthday celebration, this time my nephew’s. They gave us a private room for our party of 13.
We are given complimentary kropek or fish crackers while we wait for our order.
For starters we got Utan Ilonggo a Visayan style vegetable soup with clams, shrimp, lemongrass, malunggay and saluyot leaves. This soup was just sublime, it looks very simple but was surprisingly flavorful. My sister’s and I all agree we can eat this by itself.
The sizzling sisig which is finely chopped pig’s cheeks sauted in spices and served in a sizzling plate was hit with the young ones, my 3 nephews and niece can’t get enough of it and say’s this is one of the best they have ever tasted.
We also had Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls – fresh rice paper rolls stuffed with vegetables shrimp and pork with a peanut and Thai dipping sauce and Fried Calamares – deep fried squid with sweet chili sauce.
For the mains we had Tilapia with sweet plum sauce – whole deep fried tilapia that was graciously sliced and served to us by our waitress.
Lamb Kaldereta which is stewed lamb in tomato sauce, red pepper and olives.
For veggies we had Gule Magalang a vegetable dish that is similar to Utan Ilonngo but it is heartier and also a favorite of mine and Stir fried broccoli with mushrooms.
Last the Chicken Inasal which is grilled chicken marinated in garlic, calamansi and spices.
For dessert we had Minatamis na Saba – sweetened bananas with milk which took me back to my childhood as this was commonly served as a snack.
The Sikreto ni Maria Clara was a surprise and became the crowd favorite, it was sticky rice and mangoes covered with softened macapuno (coconut) ice cream then topped with grated panocha (similar to muscovado sugar).
Canonigo with Mango Balls – caramelized meringue with custard sauce and mango balls. I remember my mom making this for us but using canned fruit cocktail instead of mangoes.
Maiz con hielo is sweet corn kernels served with shaved ice and milk and sago’t gulaman which is considered a cooler is tapioca balls with jelly sweetened with brown sugar syrup.
Overall I would describe Fely J’s to be home style Filipino food with flavors that are refined and sophisticated. Spices are not too strong and overpowering and would not give you a cloying or greasy after taste. Service was excellent since they have well trained staff.