Ninak

10:52:00 PM

Ninak | Awesome in Manila

There's another Kapitolyo favorite seeking to capture the hearts and appetites (and spending capabilities) of Makati's foodies, and it goes by the name Ninak. The fare is (South East?) Asian comfort food (not fusion but, like, SE Asia at large), with the menu representing a diverse range of cuisines in our part of the continent. 

There's a bit of Malay in there, as well as Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Singaporean and, of course, Filipinobrought together by the uniting powers of Asia's staple food: rice. Which also gave Ninak its name. (C'mon, you can do it. You got it. Yes.)

Ninak is fully Filipino-owned, just like Brothers Burgers (if you didn't know that) because, duh-doi, they have the same owners. We got to meet all three of them and, despite their intimidating bearings, they were quite welcoming and good-humored. (A few weeks have passed and I'm still not sure about whether one of them really part-times as a sumo wrestler.)

If you ask me, moving to Makati is (at least, almost) always a good idea for restaurants because, ugh, we all just love to eat around here. The growing selection of good grub is making it harder to decide what to have for lunch but, consequently, it has also made it easier to convince friends from outside the city to come over.

Some weeks ago, I found myself again in the company of new faces, courtesy of Aldous who organized a food tasting event at Ninak. (Note: I have never been paid to do reviews and that is not about to change.) I had a wonderful time listening to the stories passed around in our table, and the food that was served only made the lunch meeting more interesting.

What we had:

Ninak | Awesome in Manila

Let's begin with my favorite because...who cares about dramatic structure, right? If I could only recommend one out of everything served to us, I say don't miss out on the Chicken Satay (P270). The coating is a perfect combination of sweet and salty, and the provisions for the chicken chunks are satisfying. I like it best with the peanut sauce, but do switch it up with the cucumber relish for a lighter, fresher taste. I would have Ninak's chicken satay again and again and again!

Ninak | Awesome in Manila


I gave this one a pass, but all the laksa lovers at our table were pleased. For P320, you get a huge bowl of squid balls, chicken fillet, shrimps, boiled egg, rice noodles, bean sprouts and tofu, drowning in traditional Malaysian coconut curry soup. (Yay for descriptive menus!) The serving is enough to be shared by a small group.

Ninak | Awesome in Manila

Their Chilean Mussels (P315) are also a must-try. I love that the meat on those sweet, tender mussels are sizeable. The broth is a spicy coconut-based curry, infused with cilantro. If your taste buds are capable of imagining that, then I'm expecting you'd be halfway out the door by now. Kthanksbye!

Ninak | Awesome in Manila

Those with a death wish would do well with a plate of Crispy Beef Belly (P380)—US meat generously sprinkled with garlic (noted with thanks!) and chilli. The promised crunch delivers, so does the juicy ticket to cholesterol highway.

You can't say I didn't warn you.

Ninak | Awesome in Manila

GURL, LOOK AT THAT BODEH. So good, it hurts.

Ninak | Awesome in Manila

On days plain rice just won't cut it, Ninak has options. Tinapa sounds perfect for breakfast, and I'll certainly have moods for Chicken and Bagoong. Perhaps the most flavorful of them all—in case you're up for a little festivity in your mouth—is Nasi Goreng (P175). The Indo-Malay recipe is fried rice mixed with chicken and topped with fried egg. It's on the sweeter side, which makes it great to have with salty dishes.

Ninak | Awesome in Manila

Ninak | Awesome in Manila

Vietnamese Soft Shell Crab (P380) is served atop garlic egg noodles. The noodles, I like. The soft shell crab is, uh, an acquired taste? The appeal is lost on me. It's hard to describe the flavor. I just found it challenging to swallow. I'd stick with the hard shell kind, thank you.

Ninak | Awesome in Manila

Ninak is yet to include Seabass Sambal in its menu, but it is worth the anticipation. You would be able to tell at first bite that the fish is fresh. Sambal is an Indonesian relish made out of chilli peppers mixed with a few other spices, and it does a great job at giving the fish character.

Ninak | Awesome in Manila

For dessert, we had Red Ruby (P130). A popular dessert in Thailand, red ruby is essentially shaved ice dressed up with sweetened water chestnuts, langka and coconut cream. What a wonderful way to be introduced to the game changing (?) fruit that is the water chestnut! The fruit's texture is a little nutty and the taste a little bland, but it does adapt to the rest of the flavors well.

Ninak | Awesome in Manila

Ninak's Mango Sticky Rice (P180) is Asian comfort food at its finest. It's delicious, not overwhelming and quite satisfying.


Ninak is a great option for groups. Price ranges from P150 to P480, with servings good for two to three people. It can get crowded during weekday lunch hour, but it is worth the curiosity and effort for a dinner or weekend visit. Highly recommended!

Getting to Ninak:
From EDSA, drive straight further into Pasong Tamo until you spot Don Bosco Makati. There is a street you can turn right into before passing the school (you will not drive past Don Bosco compound). Look for the blue building.


Ninak
GF, V&P Building,
Don Bosco Street, Pasong Tamo,
San Lorenzo, Makati City

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3 comments

  1. Oh my gosh, all of this sounds and looks so amazing!!

    xx Chelsea
    www.organizedmessblog.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Napressure ako dun sa Rice giving Ninak its name haha

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kaya mo yan, Aldous. Wala namang time pressure! Haha.

    ReplyDelete

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