Kuya J Restaurant is a lightning fast growing chain of Filipino restaurants. Kuya J started in Cebu as “Ang Kan-anan ni Kuya J” and currently has 18 branches nationwide with plans to open 50 by the end of 2015.
This was my first time to visit Kuya J restaurant and the interiors were really different from the usual Filipino restaurant. Clean and homey with relaxing furniture makes you enjoy the food even more.
Kuya J Restaurant invited us over to unveil their new brand ambassador, Jericho Rosales. He’ll be headlining their new TV commercial too showcasing how much heart the people at Kuya J Restaurant put into what they are serving.
The Grilled Scallops (P230) remind me so much of Cebu because every restaurant there has some version of this dish. Each scallop shell is covered in a generous amount of cheese and garlic that enhances the umami flavor of the seafood. Best eaten when it’s hot but I bet you’ll be ordering your second plate even before a piece goes cold.
I was apprehensive about trying the Chorizo Dinamitas (P170) thinking they might be super spicy but a initial bite led me to eating three pieces. Chopped Cebu chorizo and cheddar cheese makes it a salty sweet appetizer with a nice crunch and mild spiciness.
The Lumpia Presko (P95) takes the common fresh lumpia and infuses the wrapper with malungay giving it green tinge and speckles. Sauteed crab meat has also been added to the bamboo shoots filling to give it more sweetness. A refreshing take on a classic.
Crispy Catfish (P295). My friend has been telling me how much she loves this dish in Cebu and I have to agree the batter is light and well seasoned with no hint of oil. Kick it up a notch with your choice of chili tuba or bagoong mayo.
If you are by your lonesome and looking for a quick fix at Kuya J then the Humbinangoongan Rice (P175) should be at the top of your list. It has a bagoong sinangag (fried rice) base topped with sliced green mangoes, bell peppers, onions and pork humba. A Filipino version of Thai bagoong rice that can be eaten as a meal in itself
I found the presentation of the Danggit Rice (P175) very whimsical. The three pieces of fried danggit looks like want to escape from the rice. The rice is very tasty with generous bits of crushed danggit, garlic, and chives.
Sizzling Sisig with Egg (P190). Another classic dish done right using pork belly mixed with onion and chili and top with a raw egg for extra creaminess. You won’t even notice that they used pork belly because it is also very meaty at the same time packs lots of flavor and of course crisp skin.
The star of the feast at Kuya J is their Kuya J’s Crispy Pata (P490/regular, P695/family). Served on a wooden board with a serving ready to cut up the crispy pork trotter into easy to eat pieces. The skin is satisfyingly crispy with tender, juicy and flavorful meat inside. The fat is also just a thin layer between the skin and the meat, perfect.
Another dish they are proud of is the Kare-Kare (P399). It’s laborious to make this at home so we order it when eating out. The sauce goes really well with rice while the ox tail has been cooked fork tender. This will really make you eat more rice than you intend.
Put a little more vegetables on your table with the Pinakbet (P170). I love how they cook the vegetables properly so they are tender unlike what a lot of places are wont to do. They also added strips of meat and small shrimps to pack in more flavor.
Be sure to save room for dessert like this showstopping Mango Pandan (P80). You’d hardly expect a glass of mango and pandan jelly cubes with condensed milk to be topped with beautiful spun sugar. A sweet ending to a Filipino feast.
After trying the food at Kuya J Restaurant, I’m not surprised how much people love their interpretations of Filipino favorites. The dishes are also very reasonably priced.
Kuya J Restaurant
Branches: SM Megamall, SM City BF Parañaque, SM City Marikina
SM City Sta. Mesa, SM City Novaliches, SM City Fairview
SM Center Pasig, SM City Dasmariñas, SM City San Mateo
SM City Manila, SM San Lazaro, SM City Pampanga
SM City Clark, SM City San Fernando, Escario Street, Cebu
SM City Cebu, SM City Consolacion, SM City Bacolod