There’s over a hundred restaurants in Metro Manila that serve fusion cuisine. About half or more may have similar things on the menu, and at least a dozen of them are being run by chefs who have trained at prestigious dining establishments. Ninyo Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge in Katipunan, Quezon City is all of these things, but it’s also pretty different. And more importantly, it’s really, really good.
Starting out as one of “Manila’s Best Kep Restaurant Secrets,” Ninyo has now become a gem of a dining haven for people looking to escape into a cozy, intimate, and relaxing setting. It’s popular as a venue where momentous occasions (such as marriage proposals and birthdays) are being held. Louie and I celebrated our seventh-year anniversary here last May 1 (Labor Day). He made a reservation a week before and got us seats in the al fresco setting, which is absolutely perfect for a romantic date. 🙂
Review of Ninyo Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge (Katipunan, Quezon City)
If you’re expecting ornamental embroidery, wooden chandeliers, minimalist-looking table lamps and rose petals scattered beautifully everywhere, there’s definitely something for you in Ninyo Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge. The environment looks very homey, and this is mainly because Ninyo was the Laus’ family’s 50-year-old house that was transformed into a restaurant in 2006 in fulfillment of Chef Nino’s lifelong dream of having a restaurant he can call his own.
At Ninyo, you can enjoy the garden view at the al fresco area or stay cozy indoors in the first or second floor. This reminded me most of The Sugar Palm in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Both give an impression of a secret garden with an inviting appeal.
My eyes feasted on the charming setup of candlelight dinner served in the private gazebos, with rocks, plants, and wooden accents on the side. Waterfalls, the fountain, and the koi fish pond are creative additions that make a tranquil space. Light music was played in the background to enhance the mood. It’s summer now in the Philippines but it’s nice that weather that night wasn’t too sweltering hot.
Also part of the scenery are the love locks displayed at the front part of the garden. Several couples have immortalized their love with their names written on the padlocks. It’s cheesy and adorable. Love it! 🙂
The wait staff was warm, attentive, and receptive. He offered wonderful yet simple service and took care of requests with ease. I liked that the dishes were served in a relaxed pace but not frustratingly slow, just so we could have enough time to talk and enjoy the night while eating. Complimentary warm bread with butter was served at the start of the meal and in between, we were also surprised with a free spoonful of calamansi sorbet to cleanse our palate.
Chef Laus’ dishes are often described as inventive, adventurous, and unpredictable. He never ceases to surprise and amaze his guests with something new or unusual all the time. Food here is essentially fusion, with a heavy emphasis on Japanese and European influences. Marrying the culinary traditions of two countries that are thousands of miles apart and then offering a fresh twist to the dishes make Ninyo truly remarkable.
We started dinner with a delicious appetizer: Salmon Belly Wasabi Tempura Roll (PhP 395). It takes a lot to impress with us with salmon, but this did the trick. It was filled with pleasant surprises with textures of all kinds! Stuffed with braised gobo and carrots, the bite-size tempura rolls were a flavor bomb of soft salmon with crispy Japanese Burdock roots. I thought wasabi on the wrap of the roll was supposed to make it spicy, but the spiciness was not felt apparent at all. In any case, I’m a fan.
For our main course, the Grilled Chicken Balsamic Teriyaki (PhP 450) served with grilled Japanese rice, grilled leeks with miso, tomatoes and onion was spot on. The balsamic vinegar gave the tender chicken a great depth of tang and sweetness without being too sweet, while the shiny teriyaki glaze brought a good balance of barbecue sauce and soy sauce with sweet and salty flavors. You can’t go wrong.
Pasta Alle Vongole (PhP 420) was sublimely simple. It consisted of linguine pasta with Manila clams sautéed in garlic and chorizo deglazed with sake. The silky noodles were coated in briny, garlicky flavor from the sauce and studded with tender morsels of the clam itself. The portion is good for sharing.
When asked what’s the most recommended dessert, the waiter suggested Chocolate! Chocolate! Cake (PhP 295) and Mango Pavlova (PhP 245). We got the latter. It was a meringue dessert, crispy on the outside but light and fluffy inside, topped with vanilla ice cream and fresh mango slices. I went to the restroom before the plate landed on the table, so I was surprised that it had a greeting on it. Thank you very much, Louie! 🙂
Price for Value:
Looking for a fancy date spot in Quezon City? Ninyo Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge won’t disappoint. This is the place to be, if you want to try a mix of Asian and European cuisine. Prices may be quite a splurge, but food came out awesome, and ambiance and service were exemplary. I promise it will be worth it. Double or group dating with a bunch of friends is not a bad idea either. 😉
Monday 6:00pm – 1:30am
Tuesday-Saturday 11:00am – 2:pm, 6:00pm – 1:30am
Sunday 11:00 am – 2:00pm, 6:00pm – 10:00 pm