We are just so stoked to finally start our 15-restaurant food tour of Filipino restaurants to experience the joy of Pinoy food at it’s finest. Our first stop: Fely J’s in Greenbelt 5. I’ve always been a fan of this restaurant even when it first opened. We would always make sure to dine there on special occasions. Even before Sooo Pinoy, if you were to ask me to recommend a restaurant that serves good Filipino food, Fely J’s would be one of the first to come to mind. So we decided to dine on some old favorites, but also to try and experience new dishes. So here we go:
My Drink: Pipino Juice
Cutting down on my sugar, I try to avoid fruit juices. So I was glad to see a veggie juice for a change. It was quite refreshing, no sugar added. It might be a bit odd if you’re not used to vegetable juices, but I’m a big fan so this is right up my alley.
Ensalada Ni Nanay
Salted egg, okra, eggplant, tomatoes, green mango, onions and bagoong guisado
I’m a big fan of ensalada, so this was a no brainer. We actually had the option to have it sliced in small pieces and mixed in the usual style, but we loved the presentation so we kept it this way. Nice way to start the meal, a gentle rev to start our engines.
Catfish deep-fried and served with balo-balo
This was Delle’s pick. She loves the taste of hito over the other native fishes. It’s the same in our house. We’re more hito and dalag than we were tilapia and bangus. I also liked the balo-balo, which is also known as buro, a Capampangan favorite, which is traditionally paired with bitter veggies and inihaw na fish. I loved their version of the buro!
An Abe special veggie from the old hometown
This is their version of the pinakbet (or pakbet), with a bit of a difference in the choice of veggies, and not so much bagoong for the sauce. So the result is a much milder version of pinakbet.
Crisp fired pork belly served with lechon sauce and atchara
Now we proceed with the heavy hitters. Usually, it’s no contest: the traditional liver sauce for the lechon kawali. In this case though, the atchara also went so well with the pork belly that I couldn’t make up my mind! One subo it’s lechon sauce, the next it’s atchara.
Bistik Tagalog Ng Kano
Thinly sliced U.S. Black Angus sirloin pan fried in olive oil, garlic, kalamansi, onion rings and soy sauce
Hands down, my favorite of all the dishes. It’s your traditional bistik, but luxurious in its choice of meat. The first few chews you taste the distinctive bistik flavor of toyo and kalamansi. But as you chew further, it becomes more and more steak-like. It like having 2 meat dishes in one! Plus, the meat was so tender it was falling apart in my mouth. Delicious!
The guilt free and healthier way to enjoy kare-kare
Kare-Kare is possibly my favorite of all Pinoy food. Every time kare-kare is available, it’s always among my top choices. So I’m a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to this dish. It’s nice to find a seafood version of this dish because the more popular version is easily the richer meat variety. I just love the interplay of the peanut sauce with the bagoong. Kare-Kare is always a heavenly experience for me.
Fely J’s Dilis-cious Rice
Dilis deep-fried with taosi and generously topped on steaming Jasmine rice
When we tweeted that we’re eating at Fely J’s, many of you guys were suggesting the different types of rice available. But together with the bistik, this rice is the co-highlight of the meal. This is wickedly good. You HAVE to try this if you know what’s good for you. It just gives the meal the extra oomph. But be prepared to shovel this rice into your mouth, because you can’t get enough of this stuff.
Come dessert time, we opted to sample 4 desserts:
Nicer than apple pie and made with fresh guavas
Cassava Bibingka with Buko
Homemade tapioca cake with young coconut
Sikreto Ni Maria Clara
My votes go to the creamilicous Sikreto Ni Maria Clara with the cassava coming in a close second. The sikreto is actually suman at mangga, but swimming in that wonderful creamy froth. Such a unique twist on an old classic. The cassava bibingka was also superb, with that nice contrast of the latik flavor of the cassava and the nutty taste of the coconut.
Overall, it was a dizzyingly wonderful gustatory exploration. Filipino food is such perfect comfort food. Nothing brings back memories and sensations like the classic meals we used to enjoy as kids. It’s just nice that Fely J’s gives us enough of the classics, and some with novel twists. Truly satisfying, I definitely recommend giving this restaurant a visit.
I ended the meal of course with a nice cup of coffee.
“Boss, isang latte. No sugar ha, kasi I’m on a diet…”
(our next stop: Max’s)