Sunshine on a Cloudy Day… it’s always warm and welcoming here
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.
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
06 08 Nono's is located at G/F Three Central, Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati. (02) 901 6748.
7 Classic Confections’ Chocolate Oblivion 8 Chef Baba Ibazeta-Benedicto9 Sylvia’s Strawberry Shortcake 09