The last time Happyfoodies attended a lunchtime wine tasting event, we left the venue slightly inebriated. As we boarded the lift with some editors, we seem to share a collective feeling of being primed for taking an afternoon nap and foregoing the tasks reserved for the rest of the day. When we set our appointment with Nectar Restaurant in Makati for some lunchtime wine and food tasting, we thought history might repeat itself. Happily, with a bit more restraint, it did not. Oh, we’re not big wine drinkers, certainly no connoisseurs, but the concept of promoting a more democratic wine dining tradition sounded very interesting and too good to pass up.
The shop is small with only four tables and save for some huge prints on the wall, it was rather nondescript, resembling the hole-in-the-wall eateries in Binondo. The two aircon units look fairly new but on several visits, they were never on. Not even the Binondo eateries were this hot. If you close your eyes for a moment and take a sniff, you can imagine being in a Chinatown restaurant instead of a Makati hole-in-the-wall.
The steady stream of Chinese patrons coming and going seems like a good indication of how good (and authentic) the food is. Diners brave the stifling heat at (Old Beijing) Peace and Happiness Dumpling House so the food must be that good, right? That will take a taste test to find out.
The facade looks so much more welcoming with the clear floor-to-ceiling glass covered this time with bamboo slats in lieu of heavy drapes. Stepping inside, the interior is light and airy. The last time Happyfoodies was here was two years ago. A lot can happen in that span, in fact, a few of the restaurants we reviewed has sadly come and gone. Happily, Aquaknox has stayed on, reinventing itself along the way.
It literally takes a lot of guts (pun intended) to call your shop, “Offbeat,” when you’re located at The Collective in Makati City which is an art-meets-commerce kind of space, and adjectives like ‘quirky’ and ‘unusual’ are terms shared by all the shops. Short of offering bizarre food, how can Offbeat, The Wieneke Kitchen be true to its name? That we intended to find out for ourselves.
There were bread crumbs on the table. Crumbs on the tray liner. And more crumbs on the saucers. A nuisance? If the crumbs were from ordinary bread, they would be. But we were having Paris Delice breads for breakfast and notwithstanding the proliferation of French bakeries in the metro, it really doesn’t take a cultured palate to know these breads are different from all that came before them.
With all the new eating places cropping up, it’s safe to say that there’s no shortage of pasta places to go to in Manila. The issue rather is where to go for good pasta that’s more imaginative than usual, tasty and yet won’t clean up your pocket as fast as you can clean up your plate. Your Happyfoodies happened to chance upon Pasta Box at the far corner of The Collective along Malugay in Makati and the clean, spic-and-span interiors worked like a charm in pulling us in and giving this place a try.
Yeah, I know the drill. Eat your veggies. Eat more of ’em. And eat ’em more often. Well, I’m no veggie hater; it’s just that pork, chicken and beef are just too commonplace and admittedly, too good to pass up come mealtime. Vegemeat dishes are okay but there aren’t a lot of places that serve them, and honestly, the dishes fall short on taste. Call it serendipity or luck but your Happyfoodies are just too happy to have stumbled upon a really nice veggie place — Wabi-Sabi Noodle House & Vegetarian Grocery at The Collective in Makati. We’re just too glad to find somewhere we can seek penance for all those trips to the nearby 8065 Bagnet.
I remember passing by Reposo many years ago on the way to Saint Andrew’s Church along Kalayaan and the Makati municipio farther down the road, driving past a row of restaurants and establishments that include the familiar white structure that is Budji Layug’s shop. Fastforward to the present: the street is now called Nicanor Garcia, Budji now shares billing with Royal Pineda and there are newer shops and offices along the row but a lot of the restaurants have either moved or are now gone. One of the holdovers has a familiar name but the façade looks new to my eyes.