“Style” and “Taste” are the two words that come to mind when the name of Larry J. Cruz is mentioned. He is the man responsible for transforming the ho-hum Philippine dining scene into the classy, popular places-to-be-seen-in today. The many restaurants he opened during his illustrious career as a restaurateur epitomized the good life that he espoused.
When he opened Café Adriatico at Remedios Circle, Malate in 1979, Larry set in motion the country’s burgeoning café society. Manila’s bright minds, celebrities, politicians and socialites had a place where they can meet and dine in stylish comfort.
“A good meal is one that satisfies all the senses. Meals are about good food. More than just looking good, it has to taste good. Whether I’m emptying my wallet in an expensive restaurant, slumming in a coolie joint, or out on a picnic, I could have a really good meal. The food must match the setting. More important for me, it should be enjoyed with someone.”—Lorenzo J. Cruz, founder LJC Group of Restaurants
Larry was a journalist and publisher first, and a restaurateur second. He acquired his love for food and the good life from his father, the esteemed writer, editor, painter and bon vivant Emilio “Abé” Aguilar Cruz. Indeed, at all LJC restaurants, diners are assured of experiencing his legacy of good food, great service and old-world charm.
From that initial venture, he pressed on, opening one restaurant after another that offered his vision of the good life. Bistro Burgos, Bistro Lorenzo and Bistro Remedios offered local foodies a chance to experience the bistro way of life. Ang Hang introduced Oriental cookery with an emphasis on the spicy hot. Larry’s Bar gave Makati and Ortigas yuppies a venue where they can unwind with a drink at the end of the busy day. Camp Gourmet brought memories of the Forties and World War II with its menu of comfort food and staff dressed in khakis and camouflage. There were also ventures, which were considered ahead of their time: Prego was an Art Deco Italian restaurant, while Paper Moon was revamped into In The Mood Dance Bar when the disco fad ended. Today, the LJC Group includes Café Adriatico, Bistro Remedios, Café Havana, Larry’s Bar & Café, Mojito Bay, Abé, and Fely J’s Kitchen.
Throughout the years, the LJC restaurants concocted numerous signature dishes that became popular. Café Adriatico became known for its chocolate eh, offering diners a chance to savor chocolate, a favorite of Spanish friars, as described in Rizal’s “Noli.” Bistro Burgos became known for its Kare-Kare Klab, oxtail and tripe stewed in a rich peanut sauce, as well as its Stewed Oxtails Akuw’a, a Yemeni-style dish of oxtails cooked with Middle Eastern spices.
Now, you can enjoy la bon vivant the way Larry experienced it at Lorenzo’s Way at Bonifacio High Street Central at the Bonifacio Global City. The new outlet opens two years after the first Lorenzo’s Way was started in Greenbelt 5 to bring diners the best of the LJC Group of Restaurants.
Conceptualized to honor Larry’s memory, Lorenzo’s Way serves the dishes that have become known in such popular LJC restaurants as Café Adriatico, Bistro Remedios, Abé, and Fely J’s Kitchen. Other dishes come from LJC restaurants of old, such as Bistro Burgos, Camp Gourmet, and Ang Hang.
Lorenzo’s Way at Bonifacio High Street Central is an enhanced version of its Greenbelt 5 counterpart .with its a spacious dining area that can seat 80 guests. It has three function rooms, each good for 10 guests; but when taken together, the function rooms can accommodate as many as 36 guests.
Guests who prefer to dine al fresco may do so at the terrace dining area, which can seat 64 guests. The terrace overlooks a central garden amphitheater that has a dancing fountain illuminated by colored lights at night.
Some of the dishes foodies young and old could try at Lorenzo’s Way include Costillas de Ternera Guisada, braised beef short ribs in wine sauce; Spanish Garlic Chicken, deboned chicken baked with a marinade of garlic cloves and olive oil; Braised Lamb Shank with Cranberries, Honey and Onions, a whole lamb shank braised till tender in a wine sauce; and Seafood Couscous, couscous served with clams, mussels, squid and fish fillet cooked in a seafood saffron broth.
The restaurant has become a popular destination among foodies, because it offered a chance to sample the best dishes from different LJC restaurants then and now. In fact, it has been nominated twice to the Miele Guide, which ranks the 20 best restaurants in Asia.
To date, LJC restaurants include Café Adriatico, Bistro Remedios, Café Havana, Larry’s Bar and Café, Abé, Fely J’s Kitchen, and Abé’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga. Lorenzo’s Way is at Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center and Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. For inquiries, please call 09274769460 or 5220403.
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