Nono’s

Sun­shine on a Cloudy Day… it’s al­ways warm and wel­com­ing here

Let’s Eat - - NEWS - PHO­TOS BY GABBY CANTERO

I’ve got sun­shine, on a cloudy day… when it’s cold out­side, I’ve got the month of May!” I’m sure you sang those first two lines, the in­stantly rec­og­niz­able open­ing lyrics of the Mo­town clas­sic from The Temp­ta­tions, “My Girl”. It could very well be the theme song of the com­fort food spe­cialty restau­rant chain named Nono’s.

The bursts of sun­shine, in this case, are the restau­rants’ warm and bright and col­or­ful in­te­ri­ors, and the girl is Chef Baba Ibazeta-Bene­dicto, who af­fec­tion­ately named her restau­rant after her fa­ther. Long time PBA fans will quickly put two and two to­gether and re­call Nono Ibazeta, who was the San Miguel Beer­men’s board rep­re­sen­ta­tive dur­ing the bas­ket­ball league’s hal­cyon days. Re­mem­ber their grand slam era with Hector the Di­rec­tor, The Trig­ger­man Al­lan Caidic, and of course, Sam­boy? Great mem­o­ries in­deed!

And mem­o­ries are the foun­da­tion upon which this fast grow­ing con­cept – three branches opened in just one year, with a fourth in Alabang open­ing soon—is built on. I love the fact that the mu­sic they play isn’t just back­ground muzak… it’s a well cu­rated playlist of Top 40 hits from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The songs that will make you hum along as you pe­ruse the restau­rant’s im­pres­sive menu of all-day break­fasts, starters, sal­ads, soups, sand­wiches, in­cred­i­ble main dishes, big plates for shar­ing, and those desserts that you’ll want to or­der twice. The first, to en­joy im­me­di­ately after your meal, and sec­ond, to take home! After all, Nono’s started off as that well-loved pur­veyor of cakes and pas­tries and all sorts of spec­tac­u­lar sweets, Clas­sic Con­fec­tions. Their peren­nial best­seller? A deca­dent and rich cake called

“Nono’s Choco­late Obliv­ion”. Oh, Mr. Ibazeta, your nick­name re­ally is your girl’s lucky charm!

Chef Baba’s restau­rant is a pro­gres­sion of her cre­ations, a most per­sonal jour­ney into her child­hood, and into her home. It also is a show­case of her pro­fes­sional ac­com­plish­ments. It’s a “Great­est Hits” com­pi­la­tion of the Cal­i­for­nia Culi­nary Acad­emy alumna’s best­selling items through the years. You’ll find them all at Nono’s: her Al­mond Crunch candy that be­came a pop­u­lar fla­vor of a na­tional ice cream brand. Her fa­vorite cheese sticks, reimag­ined as crunchy Truffle and Two Cheese Fried Won­tons. The lus­cious Straw­berry Short­cake she named after her mother, Sylvia. And best of all? Her

But­ter­milk Fried Chicken. Per­fectly crispy bone­less chicken thighs, paired with coun­try style gravy and pre­mium honey, served with but­tery corn on the cob and freshly baked soft din­ner rolls. You’ll find it on ev­ery ta­ble. Ev­ery­one loves it and or­ders it, again and again. And why not? It is the def­i­ni­tion, the epit­ome of the com­fort food that Chef Baba so adores: “Com­fort food is sim­ple. It’s heart­warm­ing, it’s nour­ish­ing. It’s full of happy mem­o­ries with loved ones. Com­fort food is… home.”

I com­pletely and whole­heart­edly agree with the chef. And the ul­ti­mate beauty and value of com­fort food, for her, and for me, is this: it will never need to try hard and change to be trendy, be­cause com­fort food? It’s time­less.

WORDS BY SPANKY HI­ZON ENRQUEZ

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05 03 1 Home­style Fried Chicken2 Nono’s Sal­cedo Vil­lage In­te­ri­ors3 Nono’s House Salad4 Fried Truffle Cheese Won­tons5 Truffle Cheese Pasta6 Roasted Beef Belly with Bal­samic Glaze

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06 08 Nono's is lo­cated at G/F Three Cen­tral, Valero St., Sal­cedo Vil­lage, Makati. (02) 901 6748.

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7 Clas­sic Con­fec­tions’ Choco­late Obliv­ion 8 Chef Baba Ibazeta-Bene­dicto9 Sylvia’s Straw­berry Short­cake 09

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