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MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – Save the dates, your money, and your appetites, people – 2024 is looking to be a fun and filled year of new eats and new names set to open in the Philippines very soon!
Despite the unfortunate closures of well-loved names in 2023, it’s safe to say that the local F&B industry has been on the road to recovery since the pandemic. To add to the successful expansion of province-based chains around Metro Manila and the openings of famous overseas names last year, here are some local and international restaurants and chains to look forward to this year!
Flying from Paris and Hong Kong is Japanese-Brazilian restaurant Uma Nota, which has made its way to Metro Manila for the first time!
Uma Nota transformed into a more high-end concept for its first Philippine branch, located at Shangri-La The Fort in BGC. The nightlife joint – which formally opened in February – boasts a sophisticated underground location that takes you to the heart of Brazil and Japan with its beautiful interiors that draw inspiration from the historical migration of the Japanese to São Paulo.
It’s a vibrant and festive spacious area that weaves the rich tapestry of cultural influences, meticulously designed by Asmaa Said, founder of The Odd Duck Studio. Drinks and appetizers can be enjoyed at the upscale Living Room, with its eye-catching ‘Hanging Tree’ installation; the intimate but social Bar; the mod Tropicalia inspired by the 70s; and The Meiji Room, with its Japanese mural.
Note that the menu comes at hotel-level prices, so a substantial budget for dining should be considered. The selection is a mix of Japanese and Brazilian influences, with a standout Japanese A5 Wagyu Striploin dish that’s best eaten medium-rare. It’s well-seasoned, buttery, and soft, uniquely served with a fresh and tangy Brazilian tomato salsa and farofa, Brazil’s traditional toasted cassava flour.
Stay for the drinks, because the cocktails pack a punch in terms of alcohol content, flavor, and presentation. Tang is followed by hot spice with the Kyoto Sour, featuring Atago No Matsu sake, grapefruit, green Tabasco, lemon, and agave; or the IG-worthy, tropical Uma Nota Cup Noodle, blending Plantation 3 stars, homemade toasted coconut, liqueur, pineapple, cucumber, lime, and sesame oil. Brazil’s signature Caipirinhas and limemade (Maluco Carioca) are available, too, among many others.
Not a secret any longer! The Bistro Group is bringing Malaysian bakeshop Secret Recipe to Metro Manila by February, the restaurant group confirmed to Rappler.
The branch will be located at One Ayala Mall, Makati City, and marks The Bistro Group’s first Asian-Western cuisine concept that serves savory meals, cakes, and pastries.
Its Philippine menu will consist of Fried Rice with Chicken Satay, Irish Lamb Shank, Laksa, and Beef Rendang, plus freshly-baked cakes like Hokkaido Triple Cheese Chocolate, Butterfly Pea Lemon, Black Forest Milo Cheesecake, and Absolute Durian.
Hot teas like Peppermint Mojito Serenity and Cherry Blush Harmony will be available, as well as signature drinks Citrus Sea of Blue Tea, Pop of Berry Delight, Caramel Matcha, Chocolate Oreo Smores, and Espresso Ecstacy.
The cake shop and café chain was founded in Malaysia in 1997, and has since expanded to 440 branches around Asia.
Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill
Yes, chef! In November, the Gordon Ramsay brand announced that its first Philippine restaurant would be opening at the Newport World Resorts (NWR) in Pasay City in the second quarter of 2024.
Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill, helmed by the Hell’s Kitchen host and the celebrity chef himself, is slated to be one of NWR’s biggest restaurants to date. On the menu will be a curated selection of rare breed steaks, grilled specialties, and fresh market seafood, plus Ramsay’s iconic beef Wellington as well.
Fogo de Chão
Brazil’s award-winning steakhouse Fogo de Chão is heading to Glorietta 4 in Makati City this year!
The Bistro Group first announced its upcoming arrival to the country in July 2022, marking the internationally-renowned restaurant’s first foray into Asia.
The Philippine menu will offer the South Brazilian restaurant’s premium filet mignon, bone-in cowboy ribeye, beef ribs, seafood ala carte, dry-aged wagyu cuts, and lamb chops. The resident “churrascaria” also offers its house specialties of Picanha – a prime cut of the top sirloin – and Fraldinha, strongly marbled bottom sirloin, served with authentic chimichurri sauce.
Founded in 1979, Fogo de Chão is best known for its use of churrasco, the cooking technique of “roasting high-quality cuts of meat over an open flame.” Churrasco is the Portuguese/Spanish term for “grilled beef” from the cuisines of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Gaucho chefs carefully prepare, butcher, grill, and carve these tender meat cuts tableside, and typically season the meat platters with cumin, cilantro, oregano, turmeric, coriander, parsley, annatto, and other native spices and herbs.
Fogo de Chão is headquartered in the US and currently has 66 branches across Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the US, and the Middle East. Its São Paulo branch is part of the 2020 Michelin Guide of Brazil.
Word on the street is that popular US steak restaurant Morton’s Steakhouse is set to open in two Philippine locations – Inquirer reported in November 2022 that the chain signed up for a space in Ayala Triangle Tower Two, Makati City, while Spot.PH also spotted its sign on the ground floor of Uptown Eastgate Tower, Bonifacio Global City.
The Bistro Group is reportedly bringing the brand here in the second quarter of 2024.
The renowned steakhouse – which was founded in Chicago in 1978 – is famous for its prime-aged steaks. Since then, Morton’s has ventured to Toronto, Mexico, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, and Singapore.
Coming in hot from La Union is the surf spot’s beloved coffee shop El Union, whose team is bringing a new concept called Del Union to Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City! As of February, the branch is already open to bookworms and coffee lovers looking for a cup o’ joe and hearty sandwiches.
El Union’s first coffee and sandwich shop in Metro Manila aims to reimagine the local coffee experience for urban dwellers by bringing a taste of provincial life to the urban jungle.
Inspired by the success of El Union, Del Union serves not only its signature horchata, coffee, and grilled cheese, but also new sandwiches crafted by Chef EJ Lagman of MAKAN at Eliseos, a well-loved restaurant in La Union. Expect a charred tenderloin beef sandwich with smoked aioli; beet, leek, and ginger on focaccia; and even all-veggie options! Most dishes will highlight produce from the north.
When one door closes, another one opens! Chef Bruce Ricketts closed down his award-winning omakase Mecha Uma in BGC in December, but is gearing up for mid-2024 with a new concept called Iai Manila, an “innovative sushi kappo” and chef’s counter in Metro Manila.
Chef Bruce Ricketts is also also behind Parañaque gem Sensei Sushi, Japanese fusion resto Ooma, and Mexican joint La Chinesca. As of writing, Iai already has its own Instagram page, but with no posts yet.
Mecha Uma was known as the country’s “first chef’s counter offering an innovative, seasonal omakase experience.”
Organic neighborhood favorite Earth Kitchen, located along White Plains, Quezon City, closed down in July 2023, reassuring patrons that a “next chapter” was in store at a “new and better space.”
However, the wholesome dining restaurant has remained active on social media, with its latest post on January 10 announcing that Earth Kitchen will be back soon with more “fresh and sustainable dining options!”
Earth Kitchen opened its first and sole branch in White Plains in 2015, with an advocacy to eat clean, sustainable, and healthy, while supporting our local farmers and indigenous communities. – Rappler.com