3 Reasons Chef Jessie Rockwell Club Never Gets Old
Chef Jessie has been a familiar presence in Rockwell for many years now, welcoming the many fans of Chef Jessie Sincioco’s excellent food and service, including Manila’s most prominent business and society people. If you haven’t visited in a while, here are three reasons why you should head on over to enjoy a meal:
1. A fresh, new look
After four months of renovation, the restaurant is back with a younger, fresher feel. Designed by Cynthia and Ivy Almario, the two-story restaurant now touts a modern colonial look, with big ceiling fans, shutters on the windows, solihiya chairs, and a light gray and green palette that works as an extension of the garden outside. As part of the renovation, Chef Jessie also added another function room on the second floor, in response to more demand for private rooms.
In keeping with the tropical garden motif, the walls sport gorgeous murals of green foliage that are inspired, according to Chef Jessie, by a painting she herself made, now reproduced on the cover of the restaurant’s new menu. This shows how personal of a project this renovation was for Chef Jessie. She describes, “When we do renovations, I always tell people I want the restaurant to look as homey as possible, as welcoming as possible so that when people come in, they would feel that they are seated in the comforts of their own homes, so they can eat comfortably.”
2. Lots more pork
With the restaurant makeover, Chef Jessie revamped the menu as well. Most prominent among the new dishes she has introduced is the Award-winning Sisig, highlighted on the first page of her new menu. This pork sisig won first place (both the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards) at the Embassy Chef Challenge in Washington, D.C. in May, 2018. Kudos go to Chef Jessie’s niece, Abie Sincioco-Mateo, who created the dish as the chef of the Philippine Embassy in D.C. Chef Jessie was there to help her niece, as the proud and supportive aunt that she is.
Another highlight of the new menu are the Chestnut Pork Barbecue and Grilled Olive Pork Steak. At first glance, they may seem like your ordinary Pinoy pork barbecue and pork chops, but they are anything but, using special olive and chestnut pork from Spain. The Chestnut Pork Barbecue, in particular, may look like our familiar pork barbecue on sticks with atchara on the side, but at first bite, the pork belly is melt-in-the-mouth tender, oozing with fat, perfectly flavored with Chef Jessie’s tangy-sweet barbecue sauce—well worth the extra cost.
3. That personal touch
While the menu offers several new dishes, Chef Jessie habitués will be happy to find all their favorites still on the menu: premium Cinco Jotas Jamon Iberico sliced to order, her famous Alugbati Salad, classic French Onion Soup with Gruyère, Certified U.S. Black Angus steaks, and savory and sweet soufflés. They are all still there, together with Chef Jessie’s always personal touch to make each and every diner’s experience special.
And perhaps that’s the real secret to the continued success of Chef Jessie’s restaurants. More often than not, when dining in one of her restaurants, you’re bound to see her smiling and greeting each diner as she weaves her way around the tables. It’s that personal touch that keeps them coming back. “We really want everyone who comes here to feel important, to feel that they are coming to dine at home,” she says.
Chef Jessie has been in the restaurant business since 1991, and close to 30 years later, she is still going strong. Aside from running Chef Jessie Rockwell Club and Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie, she just recently inaugurated her own multi-story building in Makati, blessed by no other than Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle himself. Operating as a commissary to handle her catering business, the building will soon have function rooms, a café and bakeshop open to the public.
What inspires her? She shares, “The people who come here, the people who have been supporting us ever since, our very loyal patrons are really my inspiration. They’re the reason why I have to keep on improving the things that we do, looking for the best supplies I can get, giving them the best that I can offer.” And what keeps her going? It’s actually no secret at all: “I pray a lot, that is where I really get my strength.”
Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, G/F Amorsolo Square, Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City, (02) 890-6543, www.chefjessie.com
Photos and video by Gian Escamillas