As a food devotee, discovering a new restaurant is a very special joy. There’s nothing quite like having that first bite and thinking, “Oh this is it. This is the stuff.” It’s an addictive feeling, and something I try to experience at least once every few months.
For restaurateurs, opening up something new is a feat in itself. Aside from how much money it actually takes to set up shop, there’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into seeing a concept come to life from paper. While not all concepts so neatly fly off the page, the ones that succeed should be lauded and supported as much as possible (seeing as how we’re all embroiled in tough times).
While I personally haven’t dined at all of these restaurants (yet), all of these places come highly recommended by trusted friends and people I respect in the food industry. So from one food fan—to hopefully—another, here are some restaurants you should try if you’re in the mood for something new.
G/F 8 Rockwell, Lopez Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City
Open from Monday to Saturday, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Some would probably say 12/10 isn’t strictly new new, but its return is something to celebrate. The non-traditional izakaya briefly closed its doors during the height of the pandemic, but has since returned to service at its new Rockwell location earlier this week.
For fans of omakase, 12/10’s version of the dining experience incorporates unexpected ingredients (like almond milk and oysters) into singular dishes you’ll probably remember for years to come. And we’re letting you know ahead of time, please reserve ahead of time. It’s always better to have a seat waiting for you.
G/F The Crescent Condominium, 29 San Miguel Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Open from Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
In the same spot where Marufuku once stood, Yugen has opened its doors. While Yugen has big shoes to fill, it seems to be doing the job quite swimmingly. According to friends who have already dined there, Yugen is the place to bring family and friends for a traditional Japanese meal.
The restaurant offers a wide variety of well-loved dishes from sashimi and sushi rolls, all the way to heartier wagyu-centered meals. There’s something for everyone who loves Japanese food at Yugen, which is why it’s worth the try.
One World Butchers
8491 Kalayaan Avenue, corner Matilde, Brgy. Poblacion, Makati City
Open Sunday, Tuesday to Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Prior to my experience at One World Butchers, I wouldn’t necessarily say I was a sausage fan. After eating my weight in the specialty sausages they have to offer, though, I can confidently proclaim my love for sausage.
One World Butchers is part restaurant, part deli, and wholly a meathead wonderland. All of the sausages are made in-house, and almost everything from snout to tail is used to prevent food waste—which is something I can get behind. It’s not all weiners, though. The restaurant also grills up some pretty spectacular steaks, ribs, and even vegetables.
If you’re not wholly in the mood for something heavy, the restaurant also serves charcuterie boards and salads with their own cold cuts. Dining at One World Butchers is an immersive, meaty experience, and it also makes for a nice night out on the town.
5663 Alfonso St., Brgy. Poblacion, Makati City
Open from Wednesday to Saturday, 5 p.m., onwards and Sunday from 11 a.m. onwards
What do you get when you mix unconventional cocktails, Asian fusion food, and NFTs? An evening at Keepers. This new Poblacion hotspot mixes what we know (good food and craft cocktails) with something not a lot of us are familiar with: tech.
Keepers is a tech gastropub from the same group who brought us Kravers Cloud Kitchen. In essence, it’s a space for young, like minded people to mingle over a bite and a drink. What makes Keepers unique though is its drive to meld tech with brick and mortar.
The gastropub is part of Web3—which is basically the newest iteration of the internet backed by blockchain, NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and decentralization. It utilizes Web3 technology by offering NFT memberships to people in exchange for perks such as priority reservation, use of the space, and even discounts and deals.
Even if you’re not particularly into crypto and blockchain, you’ll be sure to find a refreshingly new dining experience at Keepers.
Unit 3 Level 1, Escalades East Tower, 20th Ave., Cubao, Quezon City
Open from Friday to Sunday, 6.p.m.
Modan is a private dining concept helmed by chef Jorge Mendez of Ohayo Granada and Tadeo fame. The intimate twelve-seater restaurant serves “progressive Japanese” cuisine, which means you won’t find any California rolls or basic tempura on its menu.
Diners will be greeted by a tasting menu consisting of dishes that sprung from Mendez’s journey, which is an edible tribute to those who have accompanied him on his way. The plates you’ll be served may look unfamiliar (like the chef’s iteration of takoyaki), but they all stem from an idea or dish you’re probably familiar with.
Lots of tasty surprises are in store for people who dine at Modan, because according to them, they “serve the unconventional and unexpected in a delicious manner.”
104 HV Dela Costa corner Leviste St., Makati City
Open from Monday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Kong Noodles is an Asian-fusion eatery that describes their dishes as “not your grandma’s noods.” That being said, they have a playful and fun approach to cooking, mixing, and matching ingredients together to form a wholly unexpected but still tasty dish.
They have six different noodle dishes to choose from, with half being stir fried and customizable in terms of protein, and half being soup based. The restaurant takes a lot of inspiration from Southeast and East Asian flavors, with menu items being prefixed with “Balineese,” “Thai-style,” “Sumatran,” and the like.
The eatery also has an interesting take on the Vietnamese banh mi, which is filled with succulent, juicy pork with the audibly crispy skin still on.
These may not be our grandma’s noods, but we’re still more than willing to partake.