This Instagrammable restaurant in Makati offers quality and affordable food
Nic’s has stylish Parisian-inspired interiors
By Jules Vivas | Images by Roc Verdera
Makati, the Wall Street of the Philippines, is famous for its Central Business District, its shopping malls and skyscrapers, and its pockets of green, like the Ayala Triangle Gardens. The cost of living in this first-class, highly urbanized city isn’t exactly cheap. Dining is no exception as majority of the restaurants are upscale. There are, however, a few special cases where quality and affordability intersect
One such brand is Nic’s, a casual dining, dessert parlor and gift shop, nestled in Park Terraces, Palm Drive, just across Glorietta 2.
At first glance, the place looks very chic and exclusive with its Parisian facade and sleek aesthetic. Its black-and-white stylish interiors, tasteful furniture, and wall accents give off an expensive cosmopolitan vibe that is the opposite of the food on offer— unfussy and reasonably priced.
“Nic’s started in our house,” says Nicole Thorp, who is now helping run the family business. It started as a commissary 18 years ago, and has since evolved into a full-fledged restaurant. Its first-ever branch opened at UP Town Center. Just last year, the second was launched at Ayala Center.
Nicole describes the Filipino-European food concept as “something you would find at home, like your tita’s or mom’s cooking.” Indeed, appealing to the Filipino palate, the dishes are straightforward yet very Instagrammable, reflective of the brand’s tagline “Where fashion meets food, and face matters.”
Because the Makati branch caters to the working-class Millennials, the restaurant serves cocktails. “So during meetings, people have a bottle of wine or they purchase the happy hour cocktails. UP Town is more for students because we’re surrounded by universities,” Nicole explains. “We also have a breakfast menu here, which we don’t have at UP Town because we’re not constrained to mall hours.”
Here are the must-try dishes:
The French Onion Soup (₱175), a full-bodied broth with caramelized onions, topped with a slice of the restaurant’s baguette and melted mozzarella, is a comforting and fun dish served in a mini-kaldero.
French Onion Soup
Savor the meaty Protein Pizza (₱425), a thin crust topped with bacon, serrano ham, and Chistorra, a type of fast-cure sausage from Aragon. It’s perfect for sharing, or you can eat it alone. “Why is it thin crust? Because when I was having my internship in New York, my mom took some pizza-making, bagel-making classes, and things you only learn there,” says Nicole, recounting how she and her mother would incorporate everything they learned abroad into the menu of Nic’s.
One of the bestsellers, the Chicken Parmigiana (₱375), is a crumbed chicken topped with homemade marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese, then served with pasta aglio e olio and the restaurant’s pesto bread. Its subtle creamy taste is highly addictive, and Nicole’s friends would usually order this dish.
The Oreo Cheesecake (₱145) is scrumptious. It is Nicole’s personal favorite. Another dessert option that is almost as good is the Dark Molten Lava Cake (₱135) with its gooey chocolate center.
Cheese rolls (₱75 per piece), the ultra-soft bread filled with melted cheese, is a famous pastry people would order by the box and then give away as gifts over the holidays.
“We took a barista class in Australia because they have probably the best coffee culture in the world. We also did a cocktail-making class, just to immerse ourselves into how people do things,” beams the young restaurateur, after which, she makes everyone try one of the coffee specials, the Macadamia Nut Latte (₱160) that has a rich, nutty flavor.
She also serves glasses of Strawberry Cosmonaut (₱225), a sweet gin-based drink that is just one of the dozen cocktails on the drinks list. Note: Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the prices of most cocktails are slashed by half. “Before we opened this [branch], I was already developing different kinds of cocktails. They’re all basic ones, but they’re quality and they’re good,” says Nicole.
Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Nic’s Park Terraces is at Unit 6 Ground Level Park Terraces, Palm Drive, Makati, Metro Manila.