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What’s new in Manila? |

Food and Leisure

What’s new in Manila?

IN BETWEEN DEADLINES - Cheryl Tiu - The Philippine Star
Whatâs new in Manila?
Team Wildflour: Allen Buhay, Walter Manzke, Ana De Ocampo, Marge Manzke, BJ Mantuano with US Ambassador Sung Kim (third from left) and Canadian Ambassador John Holmes (second from right) at the opening party
Photos by Cheryl Tiu

Five restaurant openings to check out

With new restaurants left and right, Manila diners are spoiled for choice. Here are our favorites (in no particular order) that have opened up in the last couple of months, up to the last couple of days.

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Wildflour Italian

Bombolini and chocolate chip cookies

Seven years after the first Wildflour Bakery and Café was born — and now with four brands across 17 restaurants around the metro — the group opened its first Italian concept yesterday, June 5. “In our existing Wildflour menus, our Italian offerings have always been one of the top sellers and we have been able to develop these dishes over the years,” shares co-founder Ana de Ocampo.

Pizza margherita made from Wildflour Italian’s brick oven

“Apart from that, we took our first bites of international cuisine through Italian food, thus, we felt an homage needed to be paid. Beyond that, travels with my sister (Marge Manzke, who was recently in town to launch her book, Baking at République — Editor) opened our eyes and mouths up further to what else Italian cuisine could offer. All that inspiration has been distilled into Wildflour Italian — a true labor of amore from the Wildflour Group.”

Wildflour Italian opened its doors yesterday, June 5, and is currently open for dinner. They will be serving lunch in the coming weeks

Some of the items on the menu include wood-fire oven pizzas, homemade pastas like bucatini cacio e pepe and spinach cavatelli, and desserts like tiramisu and mascarpone cheesecake. Wildflour Italian is currently open for dinner and will open for lunch in the coming weeks.

G/F, The Finance Centre, 9th Ave cor. 26th St, BGC (right across Maybank Theater). +632 2443930;

Osteria Daniele

Bistromania Group’s Uri Singla, Dani Aliaga and Sergi Rostoll

We’ve been to Rambla, Las Flores, Tomatito and BCN numerous times, and now the boys from Barcelona have ventured into Italian with Osteria Daniele. “It’s been so many years we wanted to do Italian but we were always busy with Spanish concepts,” shared Bistromania Group managing director Sergi Rostoll.

Osteria Daniele’s smoked burrata with prosciutto and anchovies

“In Barcelona, we grew up eating Italian and we have been going to Italy every year for the past few years (to research).” The end product, which opened its doors in mid-April, is a stunning space with floor-to-ceiling windows, a central bar festooned with a brass chandelier, and chairs swathed in either leather, velvet or brocade.

Vitello Tonnato: roast beef with tuna mayo and capers

The menu by chef Alfredo Rodriguez is a juxtaposition of classic and modern dishes. Standouts include the smoked burrata, vitello tonnato; bucatini carbonara; risotto al limone with seared foie, and grilled octopus with roasted carrot orzotto. So who exactly is Daniele? No one in particular, but we can all pretend it’s marketing director Dani Aliaga!

Osteria Daniele is the beautiful Italian concept by the folks behind Las Flores, Rambla, Tomatito and BCN

G/F, Tower 1, High Street Corporate Plaza, 9th Ave. cor. 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. +639158745792;

Made Nice

Made Nice chefs Raul Fores and Jack Flores with general manager Gabbi Flores

When Made Nice opened at Legaspi Village in 2016, serving excellent food in a beautiful space, the chefs and partners were lauded for succeeding at such a young age (early 20s). Today, husband-and-wife Jack and Gabbi Flores, along with Raul Fores, are a little more grownup (now between the ages of 25 to 32), and their restaurant, now at Joya Building in Rockwell, has likewise grown with them.

Scotch eggs made with century eggs cradled in duck and pork sausage

Interiors are designed by Jorge Yulo with rods of forcefully rusted steel hanging from the ceiling and on the walls. The menu has likewise become more familiar. “We aren’t trying to be as creative as the old Made Nice,” shares Jack. “Before, we were trying too many things and playing too much.

Foie gras torchon cured in miso for seven days before sous-vide

Now we are trying to make it more relatable.” So while their bestselling octopus and halibut dishes were retained from the old menu, everything else is new. Standouts include the silky smooth foie gras torchon (cured in miso for seven days before being sous vide); Scotch egg made with century egg cradled in duck and pork sausage; chitarra with basil, pesto and Parmesan; roast duck breast with carrot pure; and tres leches sponge cake. And yes, they now have a proper bathroom!

Made Nice Rockwell’s interiors were designed by Jorge Yulo

G/F Joya Lofts & Tower, Rockwell Center, Makati City. +63917 183 NICE (6423)

Ricksha Streetside Tandoor

Pierre, Amma Rebecca and Cyril Addison

Ricksha Streetside Tandoor is husband-and-wife Cyril and Pierre Addison’s passion project — celebrating Cyril’s mom, “Amma” Rebecca Addison’s favorite recipes and dishes that Cyril enjoyed growing up in Bangalore and Chennai — which opened its doors in Kapitolyo, Pasig last April. The family-run 20-seater eatery doesn’t claim to be “authentic,” rather it’s all about “good taste.”

Chicken tandoori with biryani rice and fryums

Favorites include chicken tandoori served with biryani rice and fryums, bhelpuri (a puffed rice snack), butter chicken, their selection of dosa (South Indian breakfast pancakes), palak paneer, tandoori hot wings and gulab jamun! And of course with Cyril and Pierre being notable figures in Manila’s F&B industry (currently consulting at Gallery by Chele), you can expect great selections of wines, beers and cocktails — just look straight at the wall when you enter! P.S.: On Sundays they serve a buffet brunch at P495 per person. If you want to make it boozy, there’s unlimited sangria (+P395) and unlimited sparkling wine. (+P595).

Masala dosa

23 E. Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. +63917 637 2113

Elephant Grounds

The kitchen at Elephant Grounds is helmed by Nicco Santos and Quenee Villar, formerly of Hey Handsome and Your Local. The Standard Group’s Mike Concepcion (left)

Popular microroaster and café from Hong Kong, Elephant Grounds, is now in the Philippines by way of The Standard Group, led by Mike Concepcion. Designed by JJ Acuña/Bespoke Studio, the space features predominant woodwork, plants and stadium stairs, a familiar sight to anyone who’s been to their Hong Kong outposts.

Duck Krapow: stir-fried duck, crispy fried egg and cucumber and papaya salad over rice

Coffee is imported from Brazil, Sumatra and Costa Rica, and they offer specialties like Black Tie (iced black, condensed milk and cream) and Dirty (double shot espresso with chilled milk). The kitchen here is helmed by Nicco Santos and Quenee Villar, the duo behind Hey Handsome and Your Local. (As the former has closed and the latter, sold, Elephant Grounds is currently the only place in Manila fans can enjoy their cuisine.) “I don’t believe all concepts from abroad can work here. Manila deserves more intention and thought put into food offerings,” shares Nicco.

High Societea: Earl Grey ice cream in between chocolate chip cookies

“We did a skeleton of the menu in Hong Kong and studied people who live around the area to keep the same DNA but (created dishes) made for Manila.” Starting with their rice bowls: Duck Krapow (stir-fried duck and crispy fried egg) has remnants of Hey Handsome; and Tapa Donburi (beef yakiniku and roasted eggplant salad) and Prawn Paste Chicken (crispy chicken thigh and pickled papaya salad) are reminiscent of Your Local. As Elephant Grounds is known for their ice cream, it is imperative to make room for dessert. Nicco and team have crafted flavors specifically for the Philippines like toasted rice and their version of Earl Grey. Elephant Grounds opens its doors soon.

Elephant Grounds Manila’s interiors were designed by JJ Acuña / Bespoke Studio

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LG/F, One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 28th Street cor. 5th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. +632 631 1406;

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