MANILA -- Since early this year, James and Daughters, the restaurant of chef Jonas Ng (Le Jardin, Chef Next Door) has been quietly serving "global" comfort food in Bonifacio Global City.
“It’s comfort food from around the world, from the places that I’ve lived and worked in, and the memories I’ve had. This is our family’s favorite food from around the world,” explained Ng.
Surrounded with greenery, the restaurant is a welcome respite to the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the city, something that will be missed by its regulars, as Ng will move the restaurant to another location before the end of the year.
The old adage “enjoy it while it lasts” applies heavily here, as Ng puts his best food forward in James and Daughters’ changing menus (although he does keep the bestsellers), veering away from the pomp and rigidity of his previous restaurant, to something that’s very honest and reflective of this vibrant chef’s personality.
Here's what we tried at a recent tasting with select food bloggers and writers.
1. Stir-fried XO Prawn Noodles
House-made XO sauce makes for a spicy noodle dish, with the tiger shrimp adding a buttery layer of flavor. Simple and tasty. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
2. Crispy Roasted Pork Belly with Rice
Cebu-style with some porchetta spices—a generous portion of fragrant pork belly with the requisite crispy skin comes to the plate with rice, vinegar, fermented mustard leaves, and some Bicol Express sauce. I enjoyed putting all the ingredients in a bite -- sour, sweet, salty, creamy, and spicy. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
3. Mom’s Kiam Hee Lo Ba
Braised pork belly with a salty umami backnote thanks to salted fish — heavenly when eaten with rice, especially when you mix in the boiled egg. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
4. Mom’s 5 Treasure Soup
Chicken, pork feet, pork stomach, pork tendons, and sea cucumber make for home and comfort in a cup of collagen-thickened broth. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
5. Dessert Gils
One of my favorite things in Le Jardin’s old menu, this dish takes the best characteristics of an Eton Mess and transforms it into a frozen treat -- meringue, vanilla ice cream, strawberry sorbet, and adds a bit of nougatine for texture. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
6. Fondant au Chocolat
A molten chocolate cake that’s fudgy, creamy and decadent. Classic and delicious. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
7. Ginataan Two Ways
Hot and cold, Ng offers a new way to enjoy an old favorite. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
8. Suman a la Hasset
An homage to his late chef-partner in Le Jardin, Hasset Go, this dish brings the best of Philippine desserts to a plate — as a rice suman, with a filling of ube halaya is topped with a slice of leche flan, served alongside a buko sorbet, and finished with a drizzle of sweet and rich latik sauce. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
9. Plate of Kakanin
If you want to taste a plate of very delicious Filipino desserts, Ng has you covered. This plate holds nothing but soft and delicious things -- cassava cake, sapin-sapin, and pichi-pichi with cheese, and some langka ice cream to further sweeten a bite. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra