When In Manila, there are hundreds of restaurants you can visit to enjoy an awesome night out with friends. However, if you’re looking to impress a special someone, there are only a handful of restaurants I would personally recommend.. and one of those is Ninyo Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge in Katipunan. From the moment you step in, you’d already be greeted with beautiful yellow lights, several potted plants, and some hanging vines that will definitely make you feel like you were entering some sort of secret garden. The private gazebos outside also add an even more romantic kick to your already very special night.
Besides the very romantic and proposal-worthy venue, Chef Niño also has several Asia-European fusion dishes for guests to choose from. Though they serve single orders, I’d go for their set menus which offer customer 5-7 course meals! WOW! The serving size is not bad either.
Every Valentines Day, Chef Niño comes up with a variety of dishes that will make Valentines Day memorable for both your heart and tummy. This year, the theme is all about Chef Niño’s NOSTALGIA. So what exactly is Chef Niño’s nostalgia? For kids of the 90’s, I’m pretty sure you’d enjoy this theme as every bite is a sweet reminder of our awesome childhood. Before I proceed with this post… here’s a little clue.
There’s the clue guys!…and nope, I didn’t mistakenly post the photo above in this article. Everything you see in that grocery cart is exactly what Ninyo Fusion Cuisine’s Valentine special is all about! The sweets and treats we grew up loving as children, these are what will make this year’s Valentine’s Day at Ninyo Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge EXTRA special and EXTRA sweet!
Ninyo Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge: Degustation Nostalgie
*Comes with a glass of red/white wine
APPETIZER – Sweet Duck of Mine
- Pulled duck leg confit and gobo open-faced HAW FLAKE petite sandwich
- Torched duck breast magret and uni nigiri with soy and yuzu braised ORANGE SWITS
- Torchon of foie gras lollipop with strawberry POP ROCKS
If you check out this dish’s description above, I intentionally used ALL CAPS for the sweets used for this nostalgic dish! I mean c’mon, have you ever imagined eating POP ROCKS as part of a fine dining restaurant’s appetizer?? Let me describe each of the appetizers the best way I can. Try picturing it out with me.
So first there’s the pulled duck leg confit and gobo open-faced HAW FLAKE petite sandwich. The pulled duck leg sorta tasted like corned beef, it had just the right amount of flavor and texture, but then comes the twist. After biting into it, right before you swallow, you start tasting something sweet. You’ve just bitten through the haw flake! Sweet and fruity mixed with the meaty duck was just amazing.
Then, there’s the torched duck breast magret with the ORANGE SWITS. Familiar with those orange gummies? Similar to the haw flake, the orange swits added a last minute blast of sweetness in this appetizer. It takes you by surprise as you don’t usually mix uni and orange. Moreover, you’d even expect the flavors to clash, but it surprisingly just comes together. As a bonus, the gummy texture also made this dish all the more exciting.
Lastly, the foie gras lollipop with POP ROCKS! Oooh, this was one of my favorites! I’m pretty sure your friends would be so surprised when you tell them all about the foie gras that popped in your mouth! (haha) The pop rocks didn’t really have much flavor as the foie gras probably overpowered it. This particular dish was really more about the experience. You can’t help but giggle like a child while eating this!
SOUP – L.O.V.E.
Applewood smoked tomato Alphabet consommé with silken tofu, edamame and assorted Japanese seaweeds dusted with dehydrated miso powder
Ninyo’s version of this alphabet soup uses tomato that was smoked for 6 hours! WOW! The smoked tomato adds a sour taste to this mouth-watering dish. I can’t exactly describe the taste but I promise you its good. The powdered miso with a little spicy and sour flavoring really made it a unique blend. What I especially remember about this dish though is the play of textures! The slightly gummy seaweeds, the soft alphabet noodles and edamame/beans, the chewy tomato… YUM!!!
SALAD – Hooked On a Filling
Harumaki salad roll filled with Triple E squid flakes, mixed greens, tsuka wakame, served with shiitake mushroom confit, drizzled with 100% maple ponzu vinaigrette
Familiar with those dried squid sold in packs that we just can’t stop munching on? Ever pictured that to be in your salad? Ninyo’s Valentine Harumaki Salad has got to be one of the most unique and interesting salads I’ve ever had. Besides the play of texture yet again, this salad also tapped on all the different flavors. Salty squid, sweet maple syrup and sour vinaigrette! It might look kind of small but everything you need for this salad is in that roll. You’d be surprise how much veggies and ingredients are stuffed in there!
ENTRÉE – How Deep is Your Love
Sakanami, herb and parmesan crusted Chilean sea bass marinated in wakame pesto served with wasabi potato gratin, Sun-Maid layo quinoa salsa and saffron mussel emulsion
Yey for SAKANAMI!!! I used to love snacking on those fish sticks as a child, and I still love them today! The sea bass was cooked perfectly. It was soft and tender and just exquisite! It was already good on its own, but then adding the wakame pesto for flavor and the Sun-Maid layo quinoa salsa and saffron mussel emulsion for texture just made this dish heaven. Just a little tip, when you eat this, make sure you include all its content in that spoon for maximum flavor and happiness.
Stand By Beef
Char grilled Wagyu Rib Eye topped with raclette cheese, served with Ninyo’s version of crispy Cow Label brisket, truffled risotto, porcini mushroom miso beef au jus, toasted nori sour cream and pan seared faux foie gras
I’m a steak lover… I absolutely LOVE steak! Nothing compares to it in my book. So when I saw that steak was included in this set menu, I got giddy and excited. What got me curious though was that this steak was served with Ninyo’s version of Cow Label! I’m used to eating steak with just a little gravy or maybe some mushroom, but this one had cow label like brisket above it, how cool is that? Just like most of Ninyo’s dishes, this is best eaten together. So make sure that when you take that first bite, you include a little of that brisket with the steak. The cow label’s saltiness is their way of adding flavor to the steak. Why use salt when you can use this right?
SORBET – Ice Ice Baby
Trio of Melon Ice pop: Honeydew, Watermelon and Cantaloupe
Out of everything in Ninyo’s special Valentine menu, this ice candy sorbet is what got me nostalgic! Though this is still available in the market, I don’t recall when was the last time I actually bought one to eat. While all my friends were busy eating their “classy” sorbets, I was having fun sucking on mine! The 3 flavors in it were not bad either. Though meant to just be a palette cleanser, I honestly wanted more!
DESSERT – Pop! Goes my Tart
White Chocolate glazed Green tea POP-TART, CHOCNUT pretzel crusted cheesecake, Raspberry sorbetes and HAW HAW milk crumble
And finally, with a stuffed and happy tummy, I bring you dessert! While my friends were trying out their usual desserts such as creme brulee and panna cotta, I was happily experimenting with the different flavors of mine. 3 different desserts to end a sumptuous meal, all with a little something to offer. The CHOCNUT cheesecake is one of its kind. Anyone who loves chocnut will surely enjoy this treat. The green tea pop-tart on the other hand was like an Ninyo’s version of an apple pie. The texture was very different but you could really taste the green tea and pop-tarts. Lastly, the rasberry sorbetes with HAW HAW flakes. HAW HAW is basically a milk candy, so just imagine rasberry ice cream with some milk flakes. The rasberry was a bit sour and the haw haw sort of evens out the flavor.
Ninyo’s Valentine DEGUSTATION NOSTALGIE is one for the books. Take your sweet heart on a nostalgic dinner treat and reminisce all those childhood memories over dinner! More than just a valentine treat, I highly recommend each of you (especially those who grew up loving these treats) to just drop by and personally experience Chef Niño’s talent and passion in cooking as he whips up all these delicious dishes with sweets and treats we never saw coming.
The Valentine menu will only be available for a limited time, so be sure to drop by!! Be sure not to come empty handed though and plan your date to perfection with THESE TIPS from us.
Ninyo Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge
66, Project 2, Quezon City, 1108 Metro Manila, Philippines