John Viojan spent a week watching Chef, Jon Favreau’s food epic, before he decided to chuck in his job and open a restaurant with his friends, Caitlin Caballero, Maria Navarro and Mark Boros. Given their shared Filipino heritage, Niño’s was never going to be about anything other than Pinoy classics. The dilemma was how to make their favourite foods – not always known for being aesthetically pleasing – look as good as they taste.
The menu steers away from home-style food, instead focusing on meals you’re less likely to cook yourself. Think time-consuming dishes such as the crispy pata – a four-hour, braised pork hock that’s deep-fried in hot oil, to be pulled apart at the table. Follow it up with halo halo, a multi-layered dessert with no less than 10 different components. It’s made even more striking by the scoop of purple ice cream on top.
Breakfast and easy to-go lunch options are also available. You’ll find bacon, eggs and smashed avocado, but choose the rice if you want something traditionally Filipino.
Artworks from Lucky Duck Design Co. highlight Filipino culture’s festive approach to eating. The 6.9 per cent Red Horse beers and cocktails flavoured with coconut and calamansi – that’s sour citrus – also help.
Things are kept family friendly with a niño’s and niña’s menu for the kids.