Monday, February 12, 2018

Recreating Unique Bonds Through Food at James & Daughters by Le Jardin

It's a story that comes full circle, back to the source of one good friend's inspiration to embark on a culinary journey culminating with James & Daughters by Le Jardin...

Chef Jonas Ng shares his family's favorite soul food dishes at James & Daughters by Le Jardin using the freshest and finest locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients prepared with a whole lot of love. For Chef Jonas Ng, drawing inspiration from his roots is another page in his culinary journey and it promises to be another flavorful chapter in a continuing story from The Chef Next Door... 

At James & Daughters by Le Jardin, it's all about the unique bond one creates with food. Eating and cooking as a family, Chef Jonas Ng brings back the dishes he grew up with and recreating memorable dishes from abroad experienced through numerous family travels or with foreign mentors from his stints in the food industry in different countries. And you can bet these dishes are special, each with its own unique story (for more on James & Daughters by Le Jardin, see my previous posts, Weaving Flavorful New Stories at James & Daughters by Le Jardin on Chef Jonas Ng going back to his roots with his signature dishes and A One-Night Only Pop-Up with Chef Francis Balbarin at James & Daughters featuring guest Chef Kiko's innovative and inspired dishes). It's the kind of place where you can have your own story sparked by one of many inventive yet comforting dishes at James & Daughters by Le Jardin like the Tuna Kilawin (P 420). The freshest yellowfin tuna from the days of the family business in General Santos down south is covered in local coconut vinegar, fish sauce, and coconut milk topped with crispy aromatics, coconut sugar, and red chili served with crispy wheat chips setting the tone for your dining experience at James & Daughters by Le Jardin.

James & Daughters by Le Jardin is Chef Jonas Ng's latest culinary canvas, a new slate poised to be one of the metro's hottest new dining destinations. Yet at its very core is a curated menu of dishes that's special to Chef Jonas Ng, himself an interesting story. As you settle down inside James & Daughters by Le Jardin's bright and spacious interiors, have a refreshing beverage like the Cucumber Lemonade (P 120), a soothing blend of lime juice, fresh cucumber and simple syrup.

But there's nothing quite like a good Scotch Whisky to make a good day at James & Daughters by Le Jardin even better. And for special friends, Chef Jonas Ng brings out the good stuff. A few more rounds and it's all good vibes all the way at James & Daughters by Le Jardin with a little help from Chivas Regal 18 Years Gold Signature Scotch Whisky.

At James & Daughters by Le Jardin, each dish unveils its unique story with a vivid palette of rustic flavors, colorful tales retold in an honest and sincere expression of rich and bold notes masterfully executed each day. It's these dishes, these plated stories, that make James & Daughters by Le Jardin special.

The Duo of Mom's Fried Chicken and Tori Karaage (P 475) combines the family's original fried chicken recipe with a Japanese version from their travels to Tokyo in one dish, while the Seared Togarashi Tuna (P 495) is Chef Jonas Ng's homage to his time spent in Vancouver, both flavorful dishes. 

The Chorizo, Mussels and Laksa Leaf (P 375) with plump stir-fried local mussels, Vietnamese coriander and homemade chorizo in white wine is a deceptively simple dish yet the flavors are intense, fresh and vibrant. The savory richness of the pork chorizo and the briny sweetness of the succulent mussels come together in contrasting yet delicately balanced flavors. 

Chef Jonas Ng takes another game winner from his mother's playbook with Mom's 5 Treasure Soup (P 380), a hearty and comforting dish with native chicken, pork feet, pork stomach, pork tendon, and sea cucumber in a thick and hearty glutinous soup. Chef Jonas Ng recreates his mother's version of a classic Chinese dish recalling childhood memories growing up in San Juan, cooked low and slow bringing all the distinct flavors together in a seamless blend. 

The contrasting flavors and textures of each ingredient make up the five treasures in this comforting dish for yet another glimpse of Chef Jonas Ng's culinary journey.

Family trips to Kuala Lumpur serves as the inspiration for Chef Jonas Ng's next dish, the BBQ Stingray with Laksa Rice (P 575) with delicately char-grilled stingray wing wrapped in banana leaf  and served with laksa rice, spicy house sambal and green mango salad for distinct Southeast Asian flavors.  But Chef Jonas has another surprise...

The Lobster Cheese Butter Noodles (P 1,800) recreates the flavors of Hong Kong with soft stir-fried egg noodles draped in a creamy melted cheese sauce with succulent locally-sourced slipper lobster. It's one of the family favorites from numerous trips to Hong Kong, and Chef Jonas Ng's version takes you along for the ride with their travel adventures to Asia's World City. The fresh briny notes of the slipper lobster comes through layered by the creamy cheese sauce for another flavorful combination that tempts the palate leaving you wanting even more. It's a noodle dish that just brings you to a happy place, seriously. 

The Pugon Oven Roasted Crispy Skin Pork Belly (P 1,800 Sharing Portion) brings you back to the comfortingly familiar regional flavors of Cebu, with juicy pork capped by a lightly crisp layer of crackling. It's pure pork love on a platter, and perfect for sharing. 

The delicate notes and subtle sweetness of the juicy pork and the richly seasoned crackling deliver an indulgent richness that can only come from pork prepared with a lot of love. Stuffed with a variety of aromatics, the brick oven charcoal roasted pork belly's flavors are capped by just a whisper of smoky hints, perfect with James & Daughters by Le Jardin's spiced house blend vinegar sauce to temper the richness. Here's an inside tip. Try the pork belly with James & Daughters by Le Jardin's Bicol Express Dip, an inventive spicy dip made with red and green chili, garlic, ginger, onion, pork belly, fermented shrimp paste and coconut milk served with fresh mustard leaves. Just perfect.

More colorful stories were shared with the arrival of even more dishes, including the Grilled Tuna Cheeks from General Santos...

...and James & Daughters by Le Jardin's impressive juicy and fall-off-the-bone main course. And this one tastes as good as it looks.

The Forty Clove Iberian Chicken (P 2,200) highlights an elegantly plated wood-fired oven-roasted Pamora whole free-range organic chicken coated in extra virgin olive oil with garlic and served with roasted potatoes. Slow-cooked in a wood-fired oven, the meat is fork-tender and comes cleanly off the bone. Rich and juicy with bold hints of nutty garlic and olive oil, definitely one of the metro's best kept secrets. Until now.   

The stories reach a decadent climax with James & Daughters by Le Jardin's indulgent desserts...

...led by their signature Suman A La Hasset (P 200) named in honor of the late Chef Hasset Go. Gone too soon, Chef Jonas fondly recalled Hasset's love for suman. The local steamed rice delicacy is filled with purple yam and topped with vanilla custard and coconut glaze with a side of coconut sorbet for an upgrade of the local dessert, just the way Chef Hasset Go would have it. 

The Ginger Milk Pudding (P 100) is a light and airy steamed milk pudding with ginger and basil seeds inspired by trips to Vietnam. The rich and creamy milk pudding is perfectly balanced by the sharp notes of ginger with the basil seeds adding both texture and flavor.

The elegantly plated Dessert Gils (P 250) is Chef Jonas Ng's homage to one of his mentors from Ho Chi Minh with berry sorbet, vanilla ice cream, nougatine, meringue, and coulis. A day at James & Daughters with an epic feast like this is a story in itself. Different stories expressed with a variety of elegantly plated dishes, each one triggering fond memories and strengthening the bond that connects us all through food. It's a story worth coming back to and enjoying again and James & Daughters by Le Jardin.

James & Daughters is located at the Ground Floor, The Westin Residences Manila Sonata, 21st Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City or call 0917-817-6584 for inquiries and more information. You can also visit their FB Page at for more updates.

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