Photos by Fj Daniel Chua (@personal.danioell)
Video by Mark Anastacio (@mark.anastacio)
Stepping foot into the Maginhawa domain of Up In The Clouds feels almost akin to immersing yourself in a Wes Anderson set — if only a tad bit millennial, and a lot more into ice cream. This is why, if you’ve seen anything at all of this establishment, it was probably accompanied by photos meticulously curated to subtly show off the enviable interior.
Their Nutella Cookie Cake (P260/quarter; P1000/whole) also comes in Matcha and Funfetti (P220/quarter; P860/whole) variants
Case in point is the lyric laden wall that’s quickly become an Instagram favorite. Imposed on the surface are the lines to a certain Temper Trap song that uncannily captures the experience of dining here. Because I swear, the moment you get a taste of their signature ice cream you will understand why the line “sweeeet dis-po-sitiooooon” is sung with such elongated vowels.
Order up your scoop as either a Cloud Cup (P95) or Cloud Cone (P110)
But that came as no surprise to my team and me. They are, after all, quite well known for their creamy concoctions. What we were pleasantly surprised to find out was that it’s not just desserts they excel at. Jonathan Co and Jessica Sumagaysay don’t pull any punches even when it comes to their savory menu, appetizers and main course alike.
Start off with any variant from their newly developed poutine line and you’ll see what I mean. The Tocino Poutine is equal parts sweet and salty, striking that precarious balance that manages to get the best of both worlds. The Pizza Poutine and Sisig Poutine both make a play for that eternal yearning of comfort food, successfully achieving the quintessential parts of each flavor as well as the feeling of, well, comfort that comes with it. My personal favorite had to be the Steak Fat Poutine where golden fried potato wedges topped with pieces of steak were made gloriously indulgent with the addition of the beef fat.
Formidable as these appetizers are, the main dishes proved a worthy opponent in matching them point for point. The Buttermilk Fried Chicken (P245) evokes a feeling of contentment and vague familiarity with its crispy skin distinctly reminiscent of local flavors. However, the truffled maple syrup it’s paired with takes the dish to new heights. In the same way, their Good Morning! Carbonara (P220) plays on two classic components (carbonara and tocino) to create a new, fun take clearly palatable to Filipino sensibilities.
It stands as a testament that after being served the entire menu—yes, literally every dish on the menu—each member of my team had a favorite dish or two of their own. None of our choices coincided in the slightest, with one swearing by the Chicken Katsu Parmo (P240) and its flirtation of East meets West by way of pairing a special béchamel sauce to the viand. Another preferred the Wagyusilog (P240) with its perfectly cooked pieces of Kitayama Wagyu tapa and guilt-inducing steak-fat fried rice.
A sleeper hit, the Black Fish and Chips (P190/P250) may seem like your run-of-the-mill British snack at first, but the delicate nuances soon make themselves apparent. Perhaps a product of the activated charcoal beer batter, the skin’s crunch was second to none and created quite the contrast with the creamy dory. In contrast, the Char Siu Glazed Pork Belly and Kimchi Fried Rice (P290) makes for a crowd favorite, the mix of origins harmoniously coming together to produce the perfect bite of crunchy pork belly and spicy-sour kimchi rice complemented with a sweet barbecue glaze and topped with a fried egg to temper it all.
The unconventional dips of Sriracha, Wasabi and Honey Mustard aioli nicely rounded off the plate
The Seared Tuna and Thai Fried Rice was the star in my book, the sashimi slices serendipitously partnered with superbly seasoned rice to pull off the ultimate flavor goal of umami. Coming in at a tie for my top spot, the Kitayama Wagyu Steak was a dream of all the cliches you hear about wagyu: wonderfully tender, melt-in-your-mouth, unendingly juicy. Obviously, you can see why I couldn’t make a choice between the two.
Truth be told, each and every single member of my team has a professed sweet tooth. The alluring display case of ice cream, cakes, and cookies were what immediately caught all our eyes at first. But we quickly realized that Up In The Clouds has so much more to offer. It’s definitely a place we see ourselves going back to over and over again—whether craving a bite of something sweet or hungering for a fuller meal in itself.
From unique ice cream flavors to new takes on old favorites, there’s definitely something for everyone within the walls of this quirky haven. Let us know what dish caught your attention!
Up In The Clouds
99 Maginhawa, Diliman, Lungsod Quezon, 1101 Kalakhang Maynila
Hours: 10am-11:30pm Monday to Thursday || 10am-12:30am Friday to Sunday