Lorenzo’s Way of living well

Nice appointments greet guests at the restaurant's entrance.

MANILA offers a profusion of cuisines from around the globe. Whatever you’re craving for, there will surely be one restaurant that will cater to your palate’s preference of the moment.

Greenbelt alone has a slew of restaurants hyping particular cuisines and must-eat specialties. The sight of these can make you divert your attention from the current food your tongue is yearning for. As always, the first choice always rules and you pinpoint your choice of resto.

Inviting. Lorenzo’s Way at Greenbelt 5, Makati.

But there are moments that you’re starving but don’t exactly know what you want to feast on. Try my formula—go for Pinoy comfort food. The “classics”, food that you grew up with, will never let you down, and it may take you on a trip down memory lane, to a place where you had fond memories of with family and friends (or lover) sharing a dish or two that became your favorites.
Take for example the Beef Salpicao, which a few restaurants can make well in the metropolis, but say Malate and what pops in my mind is Café Adriatico. It’s the spot where the evening must start whenever I was in the area and the last stop after a night of frolicking to get that Tsokolate at Ensaymada, the perfect duo to have as I watched the sun rises.

I could have the Beef Salpicao I was yearning for but I got distracted by the other offerings.

I could have those in Lorenzo’s Way Café, Adriatico’s sister restaurant, when I found myself in Greenbelt 5 on a recent trip to Manila, and let memories come flooding back— the disco dancing days (that was what it was back then), and (I hate to admit it) the ballroom dancing nights as well (but this was more for research and immersion as Spam’s, the club I was running back then, wanted to inject this program to the discotheuque’s calendar).

The vibe of the place bears the LJC Restaurant stamp. Though this restaurant was brighter than Café Adriatico, the interiors exude the same look and feel— a tastefully decorated Filipino home with the portrait of the padre de familia hanging on one of its walls.

The portrait on the wall. The padre de familia of the LJC Group of Restaurants, Larry Cruz. 

The menu is what any LJC restaurant frequent diner would expect to see, a selection of Pinoy favorites, comfort food to many, and the familiarity can make you nod while smiling, more so knowing that the dishes are priced affordably.

Browsing through the menu, I forgot about the salpicao and tsokolate and craved for something else (in fact, a lot but I had to order what can be finished by two, hungry we may be)- the Crispy Baby Squids (a Bistro Remedios recipe) was a wise choice for the starter. It caught me by surprise and I can definitely finish a couple of orders all to myself; 

Instant favorite, the Crispy Baby Squids.

the Teriyaki Mushroom and Seafood Kebab- fresh shitake and button mushrooms with tofu, grilled and coated with teriyaki sauce, for the vegetable dish; the Seafood Couscous- clams, mussels, squid and fish fillet cooked in a seafood saffron broth, will be a healthier substitute for rice; 

Vegetarian choice, the Teriyaki Mushroom & Seafood Kebab.

Grains instead of rice, and with seafood.

the tender and flavorful Pigeon Adabo con Ajo- two tender pigeons stewed adobo-style, then fried to a crisp, and served with golden fried garlic (a recipe from Abe’s Farm in Pampanga); 

The way I love my adobo- with lots of garlic! This time it’s on slow-stewed pigeons. 

and for drinks, we had to go for the refreshing fruit specialties and ordered the Tamarind Shake and the Green Mango Shake; 

Truly refreshing & delicious. The Tamarind & Green Mango Shakes.

for dessert, I just had to try the month’s special, the Gigil Tart- fresh coconut meat and preserved egg in a custard tartalette drizzled with joggery syrup, which stayed true to its name, it was truly “nakakagigil.”

The Gigil Tart. Caught this on a monthly special.

Truly nakakagigil. The Gigil Tart is like an egg tart with coconut meat.

I believe we needed a third to share the joy with and perhaps finish everything on the table. Like I said, the food portions in this restaurant are generous and the “takaw-tingin” got the better of me. Honestly, there are more entries I would have loved to taste.

Maybe on the next visit I can try a few more of their specialties like the Bangus Belly with Kangkong Balachian- a unique combination of fried milkfish belly and crispy fried glass noodles topped with Malaysian-inspired sautéed water spinach and fermented shrimp paste, and the Sugpo sa Aligue- pan-fried prawns coated with creamy crab fat sauce. Maybe even forget about the no-meat diet and go for the Black Pata- stewed pork leg in soy sauce, cinnamon, sugar, and Chinese spices, and the US Black Angus Rib Eye Steak al Ajillo -- U.S. rib eye grilled and served with garlic and olive oil sauce.

The restaurant with a Pinoy home vibe. 

At Lorenzo’s Way, they “celebrate the art of living well” and with every visit, it’s a dining experience because they "give you and many other food lovers who will always care for the little details that we bring into one pleasurable dining moment, delicious selections from the LJC kitchens that spell our reputation for good, reliable food, tasteful ambience, warm service, and affordability.”

Old capiz windows take new life as doors that open to the restrooms.

Lorenzo’s Way is at Greenbelt G/F Greenbelt 5 and Bonifacio High Street Central, 2nd Level, C2 Building.

For more lifestyle and travel stories, visit http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/ andhttp://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 03, 2014.