Lorenzo’s Way @ Bonifacio High Street Central
Whether your goal is to impress a date or spend quality time with family or friends in a social gathering When In Manila, Lorenzo’s Way at BGC High Street Central is a highly recommendable restaurant serving the best, authentic Filipino-Spanish cuisine. Borne from the same vein as the insanely popular Cafe Adriatico some three decades later, Lorenzo’s Way serves the best of the best dishes from the LJC Group including Abe, Fely J’s, and Cafe Havana.
Direk Floy Quintos gave the title “Lorenzo’s Way” to his narrative of Larry J. Cruz in Malate: A Matter of Taste.
Starting out Cafe Adriatico not as a chef nor a seasoned restaurateur but a well-travelled diner due to his profession as a journalist, Lorenzo J. Cruz is a prime example of how our passions can move us to do great things in life. Writer and director Floy Quintos wrote about his good friend Larry in the 2001 coffee table book Malate: A Matter of Taste, a book that centers on the rise of the Malate district as a social hub for artists, the elite, and social movers of the time. Direk Floy narrated Larry’s unique journey as a restaurateur and aptly entitled the chapter “Lorenzo’s Way”.
The first Lorenzo’s Way at Greenbelt 5 opened the same year the eponymous journalist and restaurateur passed away. Lorenzo’s Way is a tribute, a celebration of the philosophy that guided LJC as he ventured into the restaurant business, rediscovering his Kapampangan and Spanish heritage and inviting the equally curious to revel in a dining experience like no other.
Lorenzo “Larry” J. Cruz’s culinary philosophy welcomes guests as they dine in Lorenzo’s Way.
Today, the same invitation is given to us.
At the entrance of the restaurant, LJC’s words invite guests to dine – to enjoy the food, the place, with someone. The wooden panels and furnitures, three-piece brass chandeliers, and carefully selected paintings contribute to the turn-of-the-century feel of Lorenzo’s Way.
Portraits and artworks look on as diners begin to fill the long tables in front of the bar.
The long tables are very familiar to us: it’s something taken out of Noli Me Tangere where the importance of sitting at the kabisera (or not sitting there for most of us) is first brought to our awareness. The porcelain dinnerware, cutleries, glasses, and rattan placemats accent the unique combination of class and gourmet with the warmth and coziness of the restaurant.
Rustic chandeliers complement the cozy, elegant interiors of the restaurant.
It was date night for Annalyn and I. She’s not too big on alcohol, so for aperitif, we had the restaurant’s signature Sangria. The traditional Sangria is red wine mixed with fruit juices. In Lorenzo’s Way, Sangria is spiked with brandy and red wine, topped with apple and orange juices and garnished with apple, orange, and lemon slices. It is a mild, fruit-forward cocktail, but branch manager Elbert Galvez says guests can always request for added proof in their cocktails.
Sangria (PhP 195)
Our Sangrias were paired with Cheesy Spinach and Banana Blossom Dip and warm focaccia bread sticks. The cheese’s saltiness blended well with the spinach and roasted garlic, though the banana blossom was masked by the strength of the other ingredients. This appetizer is good for group sharing; we asked for more focaccia bread after consuming just about half of the dip with our first batch of breads.
Cheesy Spinach and Banana Blossom Dip (PhP 235)
Lorenzo’s Way prepares different soups for different days of the week. During our visit, they were serving Cream of Mushroom. I loved how generous they were with the chopped button and shiitake mushrooms! The Cream of Mushroom was literally crunchy and very flavorful with every spoonful of the soup.
Soup of the Day – Cream of Mushroom (PhP 145)
Next, we ordered their Heart of Palm Salad. It is by far the freshest heart of palm (ubod in our local tongue) I have tasted! Served in a bed of lettuce, Lorenzo’s Way cuts them julienne style and lightly tosses them in vinaigrette before topping with boiled shrimps, ripe mango, sesame seeds and oil. My mom loves heart of palm, so I will definitely be bringing her to Lorenzo’s Way to try this salad!
Heart of Palm Salad (PhP 275)
For our mains, we tried their bestsellers Spanish Garlic Chicken, Costilla de Ternera Guisada, and (the iconic) Paella Valenciana.
Prepared with boned chicken legs baked in olive oil and lots and lots of garlic cloves, the meat amazingly becomes succulent, juicy like well-roasted pork. It’s a very unique dish; the cooking process rarely used in other restaurants I’ve visited.
Spanish Garlic Chicken (PhP 325)
Hands down, the Costillas was my favorite dish of the night! Tender beefy short ribs braised in red wine and its own beef stock resulting in a brown sauce that is insanely delicious, with baby onions, chopped carrots, and black olives slow-cooked to perfection. I love tender beef. It signifies for me the love, care, and attention a chef invests on a single dish; something that the bad witch with the candy house in Grimm’s fairy tales would prepare when a Hansel and Gretel or some other child with a sweet tooth chances upon her home. In Lorenzo’s Way, they prepare the Costillas as tenderly, as lovingly as I want my beef to be.
Costilla de Ternera Guisada (PhP 625)
And what Spanish dinner would be complete without Paella Valenciana, a concerto of shrimps, squid, clams, mussels, chorizo, chicken, green peas, chick peas, string beans mixed into white rice and a combination of spices.
Paella Valenciana (PhP 595)
To cap our date night, we had Gigil Tart and Banana Chocolate Volcano for dessert.
Filled with custard, fresh coconut meat, and salty egg, the Gigil Tart has a good blend of sweetness and saltiness. I prefer spreading the cream on top of the tart before cutting a portion and scooping it with some syrup. Personally, it reminds me of bibingka, only more consistent and flavorful.
Gigil Tart (PhP 175)
The Banana Chocolate Volcano is a chocolate cake with ganache in the middle, in a sea of coffee cream sauce and topped with roasted bananas. The chocolate cake was quite salty for my taste, but was complemented well by the sweetness of the bananas and the creaminess of the coffee sauce.
Banana Chocolate Volcano (PhP 175)
When In Manila, enjoy the best Filipino and Spanish dishes only at Lorenzo’s Way BGC High Street Central. Aside from the great food and the warm, rustic ambiance, Lorenzo’s Way boasts of very knowledgeable, hospitable waiters that answered all of my questions always with a smile. We had a fantastic time, and we’ll definitely go back with friends and family, especially for their Heart of Palm Salad, Spanish Garlic Chicken, and my Costillas Ternera Guisada!
Where Taste Matters
Southeast Upper Ground Bonifacio High Central
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
(632) 621.3163; (632) 621.3164
Lorenzo’s Way BGC: The Best of the Best Filipino-Spanish Cuisine for Dates or Social Gatherings