Noor is one of the newer, hipper restaurants along Forbestown Road. My expectations? Hip, cool, and very cosmopolitan. All were met. Although Noor may come off as rather intimidating – with its doors embellished by a brass insignia, its interiors impeccably styled with hanging fern plants and marble tabletops – trust me: it is not.
As I reach the second floor landing, the first thing I hear is laughter. And although I didn’t know it at the time, it was going to be the recurring theme throughout my night. There is always laughter in Noor over good wine and delicious sobremesa. What can I say? The people are friendly and the food is good, there’s a warm light to everything around it, which makes sense when you consider that Noor means “light” in Hebrew.
I meet two out of three of the part-owners of Noor during my meal. There’s Tir, the lovely lady I first met when I came up the stairs. When I saw her, she was in a denim romper with white stripes and she had her hair up in a bun. She seemed so cool; so comfortable in everything she did whether it was manning the cash register or talking to the customers.
I also met Chef Or, her husband, a tall Israeli man with really cool tattoos peeking out from under the sleeves of his shirt. Needless to say, they are a huge inspiration to Noor as a concept, both having come from Tel Aviv, both having been raised under the Mediterranean sun.
This cauliflower will CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE. (Php350)
I begin my night with cauliflower. Yes, cauliflower: anodyne and inoffensive, something I never would have asked for in the first place. How Noor managed to transform this dull little thing into the savory delight that it is, I have no idea. I just want you to know that Noor’s cauliflower will change the way you think about cauliflower. Don’t ask, just order it, and try it for yourself. You can thank me later.
Moroccan Shrimp (Php470)
Our second appetizer was the Moroccan Shrimp. Laying on a bed of tzatziki and charred eggplant, the Moroccan Shrimp is what balance is all about. There’s nothing overwhelming about it, although the flavors are delicious. The piquancy of the shrimp pairs incredibly well with the yogurt of the tzatziki, the slight flavor of the eggplant. It is satisfying without being overly pungent or sharp, but no one would ever think to call it boring, either.
A true work of art; Lamb Baklava for Php460
You may have seen Noor’s Lamb Baklava floating around cyberspace lately. It makes a beautiful picture, after all: a square of phyllo pastry atop the vermillion surface of raspberry sauce accompanied by sesame dressing. Inside, ground lamb so tender it’s a sin, while atop lay a speckle of ground pistachio nuts. It is more than delicious; it is a work of art, a feast for all kinds of senses.
You’ve never had chicken quite this tender! Chicken on a Skewer (Php620)
We now move on to the main course: Chicken on a Skewer. Cuts of unbelievably tender chicken (I cannot stress how tender the chicken is, I doubt I’d ever had any better) in paprika honey marinade are thrust alongside bell peppers and onions on a skewer then placed atop a plate with a side of Syrian rice. The Mediterranean spices give this dish a unique twist; just remembering it makes my mouth water.
The homemade yogurt ice cream is the absolute bomb. Knafe for Php390
For dessert, we are treated to a plate of Knafe. If you’re unfamiliar with it, that’s fine. I hadn’t heard about it, either, until that night. To break it down, knafe is an Arabian dessert made of a shredded phyllo pastry with white cheese and ricotta, deep fried, and topped with yogurt ice cream. The yogurt ice cream is absolutely unbelievable: refreshing and subtly sweet, it is the perfect palate cleanser to a full meal.
Noor, a gin and tonic cocktail, for Php380
Of course, what is a meal without some drinks? I was sipping on two cocktails the entire evening: a glass of Noor and some Mango Gypsy. The eponymous Noor cocktail is, as you can guess, a local specialty. It’s basically gin and tonic with a twist: a little cucumber and lemon juice. Absolutely refreshing.
Noor’s latest creation, the Mango Gypsy
If you’re looking for something with a tropical twist, try the newly-launched Mango Gypsy! A homage to this country’s national fruit, the Mango Gypsy is a sweet little cocktail that’s perfect for brunch or dinner.
The best thing about Noor is that it’s more than just a fancy restaurant; it’s also a super chill hangout place. Whether for a chill lunch with the family, a fancy dinner date, a meeting with clients, or a pre-game to The Island; this is place to be. With fancy food, refreshing drinks, and friendly faces all around, you’re sure to become a regular at this new BGC staple.
133 Forbestown Rd, Taguig