Friday, August 9, 2019

First Bite: Friends & Family

Today's food scene has never been this dynamic. There are so many new and innovative concepts that would intrigue anyone. But one thing that trumps all trends and gimmicks is familiarity. And that is what Friends & Family focused on.

Hello, Friends & Family.
Friends and Family made its mark in the foodie community with its nostalgic take on several Filipino dishes such as Birthday Spaghetti and. It grew even more popular when The Raintree Group's Executive Chef Kalel Chan came up with Ube Champorado. And when it launched a very tempting Buy One Get One deal on two of its comforting dishes perfect for this rainy weather, I've decided that it's time to stop delaying my visit.
The Rainy Day Merienda by Friends & Family is available from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily until end of September. Score two picturesque bowls of Ube Champorado for just PHP195 and Arroz Caldo at PHP220.
And I was so happy that the hype was real. The ube champorado was indeed good! It had that pronounced taste of ube which went well with the glutinous rice. It had that faint sweet taste which could make this dish double as heavy dessert. The danggit was a nice touch though I prefer if it was topped with tinapa or tuyo flakes.
I don't know why Friends & Family's Arroz Caldo is taking the back seat here as it was one of the best I've had! The generous topping of chicharon, crispy pork bits, chicken shreds and toasted garlic made this dish a winner in my book! 
I didn't even need to put anything in it to enhance the flavor. Each spoonful was oozing with bold flavors. It also had that slight tangy taste which I love. I'll definitely grab more of this hearty dish soon.
If you want something lighter and healthier, grab a plate of Fresh Lumpia (PHP220) made fancy with arugula.
We also got 7 Kinds Barbeque Isawan Platter (PHP575) which I found overpriced. Some were overly grilled too while others tasted too weird for my liking. Best to go with Two Pieces on a Stick (price starts at PHP75) instead if you only like some of the highlighted street food favorites.
If you dine on a Saturday, make sure to grab the day's special, Lechon Paksiw (PHP295). It had the perfect balance of saltiness and tart that would make you want another serving. And be ready for your plateful of rice as the tender pork chunks are best enjoyed with carbs. (No photo though as it was served separately.)
And true to its namesake, Friends & Family offer several dishes that are great for sharing.
Lechon Manok Special (PHP695, whole) was roasted to perfection! Though it taste very close to good ol' Andok's, this is your closest option when in BGC. The smokey and slight tangy taste is to die for! Go crazy with the gravy for that extra oomph.
Kare-Kareng Gulay (PHP250) is also a must-have if you want a saucy viand. 
The thick and rich peanut-y sauce was great and it being all vegetables made me feel healthier indulging in this dish. 
I am a big fan of bulalo and this ginormous plate of Sizzling Bulalo Steak and US Beef Belly with Gravy (PHP995, family) did not disappoint. The beef chunks were unbelievably tender! This is best enjoyed right away as the gravy tend to dry up and get too chunky or lumpy. One serving of gravy wasn't enough for this huge serving though and I have yet to confirm if asking an extra serving is complimentary or with a fee.
And of course no Filipino feast is complete without rice! We had Tinapa Rice (PHP195) and Sisig Rice (PHP195) which I found bang for the buck given the serving size.
Both were flavorful as is and the type you can call "kanin pa lang ulam na". But I found Tinapa better than Sisig. I might be biased though as I like my rice fluffier.

Overall, it was a lovely meal. Food was great and so was the company! This is definitely one place I'd bring my family and friends for a scrumptious meal.

Friends & Family is located at Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Friends and Family Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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