It feels like it was a lifetime ago since I was at UP Town Center (UPTC).
Back then at UPTC, there was just this short strip of restaurants and shops, the amphitheater at the back looked so much bigger and wider, and there was just one overpass. But when I went there last week, I was surprised that now there is a second overpass and a longer strip of restaurants and shops is right behind the old one, sandwiching the amphitheater between them.
What was I doing at UPTC? I was to meet friends-fellow bloggers for lunch.
Pam and Kei surprised me just outside of the place where we planned to eat: Nono’s. It is a newly opened restaurant owned by Chef Baba Ibazeta Benedicto. The interiors reminded me instantly of home: warm, cozy, and even rustic. But we weren’t there for the design. We were there for the food!
For starters, we had the Fried Truffle Cheese Wontons. The crispy wontons hid inside them a delicious melted mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheese, all of them lined across a drizzle of honey and truffle oil.
Kei thought it would better to order from the Big Plates section of the menu, which we did. First to land on our table was Nono’s Homestyle Fried Chicken, which was easily the runaway winner of the whole meal. The two big pieces of deboned chicken thighs – which Kei asked to be chopped into more manageable pieces – had this fantastic crunch that echoed in the whole place. The meat of the fillets was tender but the crisp from that fine frying made me want to bite into it again and again. Dip it in gravy, honey, or both—it was an absolute good. The dinner rolls and the fries that came with it made the whole plate a meal itself.
Our other big plate had the Classic Bolognese. Its description alone told me that I would love it: “Slow-cooked tomato beef Ragu, spaghettini with basil and parmesan cheese”. The sauce was thick and rich, which I picked up with the dinner rolls from the chicken plate than with the toasted bread that was paired with it.
Most interestingly, the plates they gave for each customer is blue. According to color psychology, if a plate is blue, it’s easier to be more conscious of the meal portions because there are so few food items and dishes that are blue. Some individuals prefer to have their plates in that color because it helps with their diet.
Spaghetti and fried chicken is one of those timeless favorites, reminiscent of great childhood days. But it wouldn’t be a complete meal if we didn’t have dessert.
The couple asked from the Our Favorites section and had the Nono’s Chocolate Oblivion, which was a deceptive slice of chocolatey goodness. It looked heavy but, being a flourless soufflé cake, it was light. The whipped layers of chocolate cream appeared so decadent while the outside coating of pralines and walnuts gave it that surprising texture. Bonus fact: it’s named after Chef Baba Ibazeta Benedicto’s father.
As for me, I inquired about their Slice of the Day and was given two choices. I went with the Lemon Torte. Imagine the best brazo de Mercedes you’ve had then add a generous dollop of lemon extract, which would be embraced by the fluffiest cream possible topped by lemon zest. I couldn’t imagine the meal ending any other way.
Consensus: we loved everything we ordered. We were happy that we said yes to Nono’s. And it was nice to return to UPTC.
Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City