Whenever I’m in a buffet, I often gravitate first towards the area with Filipino food. I love Pinoy cuisine so much, and I’m guessing that the reason is probably because I grew up in the province with my mom’s cooking that are of course, mostly local dishes. I’d say that my mama’s cooking is the best, but I’m pretty sure that you’d say the same for your mom too!
Aside from my mom, my kuya also likes to hang out in the kitchen and experiment with the culinary skills he learned from my uncle. In our house, the guys are just as interested in cooking as the ladies, although personally I enjoy eating a whole lot more.
I’ve already seen a few restaurants that make a reference to mothers and this is quite understandable because hey, it’s usually our moms who prepare our meals. This is why it was quite a refresher when I learned of Kuya J Restaurant. Formerly known as “Ang Kan-anan ni Kuya J,” it started as a humble eatery along the streets of Cebu, and eventually grew to 18 branches given its dedication to being the best kuya to satisfy every Filipino’s appetite. About time that we recognize that kuyas can be pretty adept in the kitchen too!
I was able to try their specialty dishes and I can tell that these are something that a loving kuya would prepare. Allow me to take you through what we had for dinner:
Grilled Scallops – Php 230.00
I’m not a huge fan of shellfish but surprisingly, I enjoyed Kuya J’s grilled scallops. It’s probably because the cheesy-butter and garlic toppings gave it a unique flavor that’s a nice combination of salty and creamy. This easily ended up as one of my favorites.
Lumpia Presko – Php 95.00
I often hear about Lumpiang sariwa but this is the first time that I encountered Lumpia Presko. What makes this version different is that the stuffing is composed of sautéed crabmeat and bamboo shoots, while the wrapper itself has been infused with malunggay.
Chorizo Dinamitas – Php 170.00
These deseeded jalapenos are made more exciting by stuffing it with genuine Cebu chorizo and cheddar cheese. Dipping it in garlic-mayo dip made me gobble up several “sticks” in no time!
Danggit Rice – Php 175.00 (Good for 4-5)
Nothings screams “Cebu” better than a nice serving of fried danggit. The garlic rice is fried with danggit bits and to make the whole thing more interesting, three danggit pieces sit on top of the heap.
Humbinagoongan Rice – Php 175.00 (Good for 4-5)
Because one kind of rice just isn’t enough. If the Danggit Rice had danggit pieces, this one has actual pork binagoongan sitting on top of the rice, together with strips of green mangoes, bell peppers, and red onions. I kinda wished there was more of the pork because it tasted so good!
Sizzling Sisig – Php 190.00
One of my all-time favorites! This dish is tasty enough to be either pulutan or ulam.
Pinakbet – Php 170.00
I didn’t pay much attention to the Pinakbet because I spent much more time on the meaty dishes. But for those who like veggies on the side, Kuya J’s version of pinakbet has thick broth with a distinct taste of the shrimps.
Pochero Bulalo Tagalog– Php 375.00
I love pochero and bulalo is one of my favorite soups so a fusions of these delicious dishes should be foodgasmic! Swimming in the thick, reddish soup together with the beef shank are pieces of banana, camote, baguio beans, and pechay.
Crispy Catfish – Php 295.00
Seafood is also a significant part of a pinoy diet so I wasn’t surprised when we were also served with the Crispy Catfish. The catfish has been battered, deep-fried, and seasoned with spices for flavor. It goes best with sukang-tuba!
Kare-kare -Php 399.00
Kuya J takes pride in their Kare-kare’s “reinvented” peanut sauce. I just wished though that there was more meat because hey, I’m borderline carnivore.
Kuya J’s Crispy Pata – Regular Php 490.00; Family Php 695.00
When the crispy pata was served, everybody craned their necks to see the highlight of the night! We were served with a huge pata meat having perfectly deep-fried pork skin. The dish definitely justifies the “crispy” part of its name! No wonder Kuya J takes pride in this specialty!
Whew! That was a mouthful! Now after all that meat, sauces, and spices, it only makes send sense that we have some nice dessert!
Kuya J Mango Pandan – Php 80.00
Mango and pandan cubes are swimming in delightful, sweet cream. Caramelized sugar is added on top of the jar as garnish. This is also something that you can stir into the mixture for added sweetness, although the distinct taste of condensed milk is already sweet enough if you ask me.
Cebuano Mangga Cheesecake – Php 130.00
Kuya J seemed to be fond of jars because that’s where this lovely cheesecake is served. A few spoonfuls were already enough for me because the taste’s a bit overwhelming.
Tablea Coffee Flan – Php 85.00
This is definitely one of the most memorable dishes of the night! This flavor is one happy combination of sweet and bitter, that I was able to eat more than one serving. I’m coming back for this! By the time I finished dinner I was stuffed yet I wanted some more!
But the surprises doesn’t end with the meal because Kuya J also announced their newest ambassador, who also exhibits the restaurant’s strong values of being matapat, malasakit, maaasahan, mapagmahal and maalalahanin – Jericho Rosales!
He’s perfect not only because his name also start with a J, but also because “Echo” very much echoes a Kuya. He’s the type whom you’d love to spend time with because he likes to have fun and always gives off good vibes. He stars in Kuya J’s latest TVC too!
So, how will Kuya J Restaurant be a smashing hit? Well, let’s just say, like Jericho, it has all the makings of a superstar. And we all can’t wait to another taste its blockbuster dishes!