Date With Mama At Nono's (May 10, 2017)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Thank you so much again, Nono's!!! 

Mom and I were sooo pampered when they treated us to a Mother's Day date early this month! 

Nono's is now a UPTC favorite we'll always look forward to because of all the homestyle favorites they serve. Chef Baba's vision for this restaurant is to be the sanctuary of all our childhood favorites, reminiscent of the goodness of home. I guess the right word to describe the place is "kanlungan" when it comes to the concept of the food. I felt that the foods brought this feeling of safety and security, because of all the homey feels to them. 

This concept was also conceived by Chef Baba somehow as a tribute to her dad whom she fondly calls Nono. 

This is a very, very prominently placed store so you won't miss it. This is right when you go down the entrance near Merkado Supermarket, the one near the Maria Della Strada church. It's hard to miss, because when you're at Merkado, you're more or less here. 

As Mother's Day was coming up when we dined here, there were plenty of Mother's Day themed sweets. After all, Chef Baba is a renowned pastry chef, the genius behind Classic Confections. She's the one to blame if you find your thighs larger after indulging in her decadent creations.

It's a casual atmosphere in the store. Plenty of the people are here to chill out, meet up with friends, and just absorb the homey feel.

Customers can enjoy Chef Baba's Nono's Chocolate cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Lemon Torte, Red Velvet, and Blueberry Cheesecake. 

We got to try their Fried Kesong Puti with Candied Walnuts (Php325)

This is all about fresh. The baguette slices are so freshly made that while we expect hard toast to taste bland and stale, theirs tasted so fresh. If resto's usually use their old bread for uses like this, we could taste that the bread in this dish is freshly made for this purpose.

 The cheese is also a fresh breath of air because of the roasted and nutty flavor that the walnuts contribute. The sweet direction is also interesting, given that plenty of places tend to capitalize more on the savory. For me, Kesong Puti is by default mild flavored, so it's best to pair it with fresh flavors. I feel that the nutty flavor of the walnuts and the refreshing touch of basil makes for a balanced ensemble. 

This is soo good when freshly served as it's sooo gooey! It's so entertaining when it's still sizzling! Indeed it's a great start to a meal. 

Next up is their French Onion Soup (Php225)

Weeeell, for me, this is the only dish in the whole meal that was a bit problematic for me. In hindsight I didn't ask so I don't know, but I'm not sure if this just ended up too salty by accident or the recipe really is on the salty side. The usual onion soup is on the savory and buttery side with a touch of sweet to the salty, but this leaned more on the salty alone without the savory.

I give them the benefit of the doubt that since it was soft opening time, maybe they accidentally overdid the salt here.  

Nonetheless, there was a very very generous helping of cheese. I think I can testify that prolly like 1/3 of the bowl was filled with cheese. If you order French Onion soup subconsciously because you want to eat so much cheese, then this won't disappoint in that aspect. 

Mom and I were treated to their USDA Beef Tapa (Php325), too. 

Now this is among the best. Tapa is among my most favorite dishes on earth, so I have my own rankings. This immediately entered my rankings and now shares a spot alongside Artsy, Army-Navy and Rodic's as my top picks for tapa. 

The grilled tomato is a real nice touch to the whole ensemble to keep it fresh and light. The beef is just so perfect. Thin (and therefore not tough) and super tasty. The beef itself is of high quality and thus is flavorful on its own, but the marinade also contributes so much. The end result is so savory and mouthwatering. Their vinegar supplier is also laudable, because the woody and spicy flavors to it help the tapa to taste better. 

Somehow for me the choice of vinegar is such a crucial decision to make for hardcore tapa enjoyment. I actually buy all sorts of vinegars because I always like to have good ones to pair with meat all the time hahaha. 

We also got to indulge in their Nono's Homestyle Fried Chicken (Php565)

Their chicken dish comes with corn, bread, and fries. They also serve it with gravy and honey for maximum enjoyment. 

The chicken itself packs so much value for money because the breading is not exaggerated and this is boneless. So what you see in this photo is already more or less the actual amount most people will be able to enjoy. No bones, just juicy meat. 

The chicken itself is so hearty, and the marinade is also something to come back to always. The chicken is so flavorful at every bite, not just at the breading. Their secret blend of spices and seasonings come together in perfect harmony that the end result is chicken that is nutty and savory and umami-full. 

Mom was sooo happy to try their chicken as their secret blend is yet another thing to crave. If KFC has its own chicken, and Kettle, too, Nono's also has its own fried chicken recipe that'll keep us coming back for more and more.

Mom's ultimate favorite was their Mac & Cheese (Php395)

Mom is always into flavors that are light and mellow but so savory. Mom also is allergic to a lot of foods and spices, so partly she feels more comfortable to indulge in dishes like these that are simple and "predictable." I mean it's predictable in the sense that it's just macaroni and cheese. 

But the actual beauty of this dish is something that can't be figured out theoretically. You really must come down to Nono's to experience it for yourself. The perfect balance of savory and mild cheeses make for an entirely satisfying dish. I hate it when mac & cheese tastes like the instant ones, or when it tastes of cheese sauce. Much to my delight, this tastes like cheese and not of cheese sauce or cheese powder at all. It's mild and not overwhelming, but so creamy and so tasty. No "sawa factor" for this dish as it's the perfect blend of flavors. 

I also love the texture because it's soft and smooth. Some mac and cheeses are too thick that it feels too heavy to the taste. And then there are some that have too much cheese sauce that all you can think of is the cheapness of the cheese sauce.

Remember that my mom is so health conscious that she barely eats anything this cheesy. And yet she could not help but chow down on this dish as it's just thaaaat good.

This is a photo of mom's back hahaha. Don't worry, we had a great time. More of mom is just not fond of selfies hahaha. 

And of course, lovely cakes to end a lovely meal. I looove lemon themed desserts so the lemon torte was naturally something I'd go for. It's nutty, buttery, and with the right kick of lemon. I found it to be a very refreshing choice for the summer despite the staff's reco that I go for their Strawberry cake instead.

Their Chocolate Cake is a dream for chocolate addicts. Moist chocolate cake with so much fudge, ganache, and brown sugar crumbles. Definitely sinful and decadent.

So yaaay, be sure to get your fill of homestyle cooking at Nono's UP Town Center. 

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