#FoodTrip: A matter of taste at Greenbelt 5

Kai Magsanoc

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The hub of fashionistas is also becoming a haven for food lovers

FOR FOODIES AND FASHIONISTAS. Greenbelt 5 is not just for shopping — it's also for trying amazing food that will REALLY make your day. All photos by Kai Magsanoc

MANILA, Philippines – Greenbelt.

For stylists like myself, the word immediately brings to mind high street brands, fashion shows and my favorite Filipino Zone at the second floor of Greenbelt 5:

Fashion-wise, Greenbelt was a territory well-explored. The enticing restaurants were another matter.

So imagine my joy when I received this #FoodTrip assignment. I stepped into these restaurants for the first time that day, and immensely enjoyed my afternoon party of one.

FELIX: Asian-Continental fare

FELIX. Ground floor, Greenbelt 5

I arrived at Felix at 10:30 am, 30 minutes before their opening at 11 am. Officer-in-charge Susan Salicanan and her staff gave me a warm welcome.

“Felix” is the name of the father of Chef Florabel Co, the restaurant’s owner. Chef Florabel is also the lady behind the restaurants Crisostomo, Elias and the restaurant named after her, Florabel, in Podium.

Felix opened on April 3, 2008 and has been serving cuisine that Susan described as “Asian-Continental.”

“Our dishes are a mix or fusion of dishes of the different Asian countries,” she said. “The way we prepare them is not traditional. There is always a twist.”

After tasting these dishes, I completely agreed! My verdict: Felix has such an extensive menu that one visit is not enough, and having the same dish over and over is doing yourself injustice. I recommend you try them all.

FELIX'S INTERIORS. Roomy and perfect for big groups or families

FELIX'S AL FRESCO AREA. Those chairs are comfortable enough for long meals

GENSAN. Raw tuna with wasabi mayo served with garden salad. Healthy, fresh and tasty. I love the crunch that comes with every spoonful!

ARATA SALAD. Prawns, scallops and garden salad with assorted fruits and sesame dressing. This is a very tasty Asian salad that can stand as a meal on its own.

TANGO. Duo of sea bass and scallop served with mashed potato and vegetables. The sea bass and scallop melt in your mouth.

GREEN TEA WITH ORANGE. Felix's refreshing homemade signature drink. I wish I could do this at home.

SKINNY DIP. Olive oil, parmesan, basil and tomatoes. I love it.

Felix is offering a “buy one, take one” promo on wines for the Christmas season. Cocktail lovers will also enjoy their “buy one, take one” on cocktails every night. No need to wait for happy hour!

Business hours: 11 am to 11 pm

Contact numbers: 729-9062 / 945-7912 / 710-1696

Website: www.felix.ph

Email: info@felix.ph

KAI: Neo-Japanese 

KAI. Ground floor, Greenbelt 5

Kai was probably the oldest of the restaurants I visited that day, having opened in Greenbelt 2 in 2002. They transferred to Greenbelt 5 in 2008, where they now also enjoy an al fresco area. 

According to management trainee Shella May Layno, “Kai” means “gathering” in Japanese. This Greenbelt 5 branch is the only branch they have in the Philippines. 

“We serve modern Japanese with a twist,” said Shella, who told me they also offer catering services. 

By the time I got to Kai from Felix, it was full-on lunch time, yet the restaurant’s atmosphere was not at all noisy. In fact, it was very relaxed and calm — very Zen, very Japanese.

SIMPLE INTERIORS. Kai's almost-all-white interiors are very relaxing. I photographed this side of the restaurant to respect the privacy of the diners that filled the other side.

SOFT SHELL CRAB ROLL. Kai's best-seller and recommended appetizer for first-timers

ROASTED GRAPES AND TOMATO SALAD. Kai's vegetarian best-seller topped with deep fried shiitake mushrooms. Very tasty and rich in texture. Those cherry tomatoes burst in your mouth. Love the sweet and spicy sesame dressing, too.

PAN-SEARED CHILEAN SEA BASS. Kai's best-selling main dish. The mushroom sauce has truffle oil, so there's a sweetness that accompanies the juicy meat of the fish.

TOFU CHEESECAKE WITH YAMAMOMO. Light dessert perfect for the diet-conscious

Kai has been around for 11 years and has a loyal costumer base. First-timers are very much welcome. 

The verdict: I recommend Kai to everyone, including solo diners, for the ambiance, the simplicity yet tastefulness of the food and the warm service that was extended to me.

Business hours: 11 am to 2 pm, 6 pm to 10 pm (Friday and Saturday, 6 pm to 12 mn)

Contact number: 757-5209

Facebook: Kai Neo Japanese Cuisine

LORENZO’S WAY: Mediterranean with a Filipino touch

LORENZO'S WAY. Ground floor, Greenbelt 5 (side opposite to Felix and Kai)

The day was not going as smoothly as I hoped for my #FoodTrip, and I almost thought I was going home with reviews of only two restaurants. Thankfully, the well-trained staff of Lorenzo’s Way opened their doors for me, even if I had arrived while they were closed for the afternoon.

I remember posting a photo of the restaurant on my social media accounts and thanking them for saving my day. They continued the warmth and hospitality first extended to me at Abe in TriNoma, also a member of the LJC Group. 

According to marketing manager Malou Evidente, Lorenzo’s Way was envisioned by founder Larry J. Cruz to be a couscous bar that featured his favorite Mediterranean dishes — Seafood Couscous, Baklava, Race Course Road Fish Curry (from Singapore) and Paella (from Spain).

Lorenzo’s Way opened in Greenbelt 5 in May 2009. The second branch in Bonifacio High Street opened in February 2012. 

HOMEY INTERIORS. That it looks like your own dining kitchen at home is not an accident. Lorenzo's Way caters to a market that enjoys their food and their company while having it.

LORENZO'S WAY'S AL FRESCO AREA. The tables are far enough from the passers-by to ensure privacy as you enjoy the dishes

SPANISH GARLIC CHICKEN. Tender chicken baked in olive oil. I love the chicken but I love the sweet, juicy garlic even more. I would order this dish again and again.

BRAISED LAMB SHANK. Tender lamb braised with wine, cranberry, honey and saffron sauce. This is so flavorful that it's perfect for sharing. Another reason why you must try this dish is the mashed corn (you read it right: CORN).

BAKLAVA. Served with vanilla ice cream. Rich with pistachio and made fresh — I could tell because it immediately melted in my mouth, unlike 'gummy' ones I've had in other places. This is perfect with coffee!

SWEET POTATO CHIPS. This isn't part of my review but I absolutely love this. This is what they serve while you wait for your order.

TAMARIND SHAKE. Also Lorenzo's Way's signature drink, like sister restaurant Abe. Refreshing each time.

The verdict: Lorenzo’s Way is perfect for everyone who appreciates good food and who takes their time having it. Great for dates or nights out with friends, and on weekend lunches or dinners with the family. 

Business hours: Monday to Sunday, 11 am to 3 pm, 5:30 pm to 11 pm (Friday and Saturday, 5:30 pm to 12 mn)

Contact numbers: 729-0013 / 729-0014

Website: www.ljcrestaurants.com.ph

– Rappler.com

Read our other #FoodTrip stories:

Kai Magsanoc

Kai Magsanoc is the former editor of Rappler’s Life and Style section. She is back to freelancing, covering lifestyle events for Rappler, and styling campaigns for her retail clients. Follow her live event updates on Twitter at @KaiMagsanoc. Watch out for her blog, Coffee with Kai, coming this December.

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