Since my first visit to Kuya J Restaurant, I have gone back twice. Yesterday, when I met my college friends at Sm City Marikina, we decided to have lunch there because they were all curious about the place. Add to that my eager endorsement in terms of taste and price range.
So the five of us who came to the lunch reviewed the menu and settled for Baked Scallops, Lumpia Presko (fresh spring roll made of coconut hearts), Crispy Pata (deep fried pork trotter), and Sisig (minced pork cheeks and ears cooked in onions and spices). Because we were also celebrating birthdays, we ordered a noodle dish called Bam-I.
I think that for a restaurant to be successful, the food must not only taste great but also everything–food, service, management–must be consistently good. Kuya J seemed to have ticked both boxes, in my opinion. The Crispy Pata and Sisig were great at both branches. The waiters were also very attentive and helpful.
A revelation to me was the scallops. I rarely have them because I’m not a big fan of shellfish. But the scallops were wonderful, even if they were on the small side. The butter and cheese were not cloying, the garlic added just enough flavor to the deceptively simple-looking dish. My friend said that the noddle dish tasted authentic although in my mind, I was still thinking of the Bam-I I usually ate from a Filipino restaurant in Phnom Penh. My only quibble about the Lumpia Presko was that the sauce was bitin-which was remedied by a quick request to the waiter.
My friends equally enjoyed the food and the experience of dining at Kuya J Restaurant. We were so full but that didn’t stop us from sharing a few baked goods when we had coffee at Starbucks.