GJ’s Grill, 8Street food court, Docklands.
8Street is a new indoor arcade of Asian eateries – it’s pretty much right under the big ferris wheel.
So new is it, we’re here on opening day for the lot of them.
Or, rather, it’s opening day for all the businesses, but we’re here for just one – the purveyor of Philippines eats known as GJ’s Grill.
We’ve tried – once – the original GJ’s in Franklin Street, near Vic Market, with OK if not memorable results.
Very long-time readers will know we have a certain, um, ambivalence about Filipino food.
But we’re definitely up for trying the new GJ’s.
Because we’re in the expert hands of the Urban Ma, Jacqui, hubby Wes and their kids.
They’re big GJ’s fans and besides it’s been way too long since we’ve enjoyed a catch-up.
And we’re heartened by the knowledge the menu (see below) is all about grilled/roast meats and nothing at all about the braises and so on that often fill bain maries in Filipino eateries.
The routine is regulation food court – pay at the counter and wait for your number to come up – and the food is served in cardboard containers.
I’m a bit nonplussed that the photos for this story make the food look unlovely, parsimonious and unadorned.
It’s none of those things – we eat well and affordably.
Bennie has the beef talapa with garlic rice ($14.50).
Jacqui has warned us that the meat will be well done in the Pinoy style.
She’s right, but it’s still good eating.
And this is another of those dishes that could be included in a mooted CTS story about dishes that come with an egg – you know, nasi goreng, com tam (Vietnamese pork chop with broken rice), bandeja paisa (Colombian beans and rice), like that.
Biryani? Well, that means hard-boiled egg – but an honourable mention, anyway.
With the same garlic rice comes my lechon – crispy skin pork.
It’s excellent – and sinfully rich and fatty; quite like classic Chinese roast pork, but without the seasonings.
Both our meals are lifted in the zing department by serves of atchara – a liquidish pickle concoction made from grated unripe papaya.
We’re powerful hungry, so also get a couple of the classic pork skewers.
These are awesome and much more generous than we’ve had in the past, so the $5 each price tag is no problem.
The meat is tender, succulent, perfect.
It’s too rich for me, but my dining companions also share a serve of another classic – sisig ($19).
This is an offalish jumble that is a bit like the topping of an HSP – without the chips!
It’s tricky to gauge how GJ’s and its neighbouring 8Street establishments will go at Docklands.
Parking is a problem here.
But if you’re there anyway, GJ’s is worth checking out for something a little different.