That was the first though that came to mind when I entered Friends and Family for the first time.
Maybe it was that huge green plant in the middle of the restaurant w.hich I was pretty sure was plastic because it was so perfectly verdant . I was wrong hahaha. Or how it dovetailed with the fabric with the leafy adornment on their chairs..
Maybe it was the generic plates with blue outline.
Perhaps it was the sepia menu with visages of beautiful people of a certain era or simply the uncomplicated name of the restaurant.
Somehow Friends and Family teleported me back to the time when Sundays were spent smelling the aroma wafting from the kitchen while waiting to taste my mom and my grandma's opus which were always made from scratch.
Lola was the master chef while my mom was the sous chef. There can only be one queen in the kitchen after all. They were purists. So any shortcuts by using mixes or knorr cubes were frowned upon.
Sunday lunches are usually feasts with the dining table groaning from the weight of heavy plates or bandehados’ ‘ laden with different dishes
Last night’s abundantly-filled dining table at Friends and Family evoked images and sentiments of a long lost era and my late grandma.
Here were the dishes served:
THE CLASSIC Friends (2 persons ) P225 Family (4 persons) P350 Crispy Pork , Tenga , Face, Liver, Mayo and butter. This was served in a small round cast iron pan garnished with calamansi pierced with a piece of fiery red sili labuyo . This is the traditional sisig I know from my lola who utilized 3 methods - boil, grill , fry and used the same parts as FF
PUTOK BATOK PLATTER P350 Isaw manok, chicharon, kropek, chicken skin, Isaw bilog and mama sita sinamak . Hello cholesterol!
CHEESY GARLIC BUTTER SCALLOPS P375 Topped with calamansi, bread crumbs and garlic parsley butter
CRISPY CATFISH AND BURO PLATTER P375 Home made buro, mustasa leaves, green mango salad, red onions, fresh ginger, ground peanuts, hibi, calamansi, patis, garlic and fresh chilies
ROASTED CHICKEN AND TINAPA RUSSIAN SALAD P220 Roasted chicken bits, tinapa flakes, peas, carrots, potatoes and baguio beans dressed in tartar sauce
SALTED EGG TOMATOES AND ONIONS P95
PICKLED AMPALAYA P 75
ISAWAN PLATTER P550 Served with calamansi, sili, special peanut bbq sauce, and house made atchara
BARBECUE PLATTER P850 Pork bbq, grilled liempo, atchara and sauces
LECHON MANOK SPECIAL P850 Half P220 whole P550
CLAYPOT HUMBA RICE P395 Braised pork belly topped with banana blossoms and grilled pineapple served with fried bananas. Think adobo but with brown sugar. Pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth and sweetly savory. The claypot worked. The rice absorbed all the sauce from the Humba. One order can feed 2 people unless its one of the piggery who orders this .
BEEF TADYANG P795 atchara with lechon baka sauce. Considering its portions, although delicious the serving was just for one and therefore a bit pricey
SIZZLING BULALO STEAK P550 (2 persons) P995 (4 persons) Now this is one happy dish served in a huge sizzling plate and laden with tender looking bulalo steak. This can feed 2- 4 people.
EMBUTIDO P220 This is the embutido your lola used to make. This reminds me of Christmas and holidays
BIRTHDAY SPAGHETTI P250 Now this definitely reminded me of my lola’s spaghetti made from UFC banana catsup, tomato sauce and purefoods hotdog
GISING GISING WITH TABA NG TALANGKA P220 Chili tops, crispy alamang and creamy coconut milk. Looked more like Bicol express because of the sliced green silis and tasted just as good.
SIZZLING PORK SISIG RICE P195 ,BAGOONG RICE, BANOFEE PIE P195, YEMA CAKE P 175
TASTE AND PRICE:
Everything tasted delicious. There were hits and misses on the price however as follows:
The claypot Humba rice, embotido, gising gising and bulalo steak were value for money. Special mention to the Humba which was my favorite hands down for its taste, portion and price.
But there were dishes I found a bit on the pricey side like the Beef Tadyang and the Isawan Platter simply because of its serving size
Barbecue Platter P850 composed of 2 medium sticks pork bbq, 1 stick of what looked like boneless quarter thigh and leg, some liempo pcs were a bit on the more costly side.
Over all an enjoyable night with new found friends and delectable food . Amidst all the trend to tweak our traditional Pinoy food, I am happy that Friends and Family chose to stick with the traditional treatment of the Pinoy’s classic bestselling dishes. One can only do so much before the iconic dish becomes unrecognizable from too much creative license.
Indeed sometimes we just need to have an appreciation of things past.