Edi Tekeli makes good on a promise to return to Manila and brings with him a true taste of La Bella Italia with Ristorante Paper Moon, writes Marga Manlapig
Ristorante Paper Moon, Edi Tekeli’s latest import, gives local diners the magnificent flavours of authentic Italian cuisine
Turkish entrepreneur Edi Tekeli is best known to Manila’s fashionable denizens as the man responsible for bringing brands like Guess and Mango to the field of Philippine retail. However, not many are aware that he has another ace up his sleeve: one involving a love of great food that he wishes to share with a country that has long claimed his heart. True to form, he has returned and has brought with him a new sensation to tickle the fancy of the dining public: Milan’s famed Paper Moon.
A legend in its native Italy, Paper Moon began as a humble trattoria along Milan’s Via Bagutta back in 1977.
Pio Galligani and his wife, Emilia Del Rosso, wanted to serve fresh and authentic food in a place where patrons could relax and enjoy a distinct culinary experience. Galligani’s idea was a success and the trattoria became a favourite stop for tourists seeking real cucina Milanese.
In the decades that followed, Signora Del Rosso and her daughter Stefania continue to honour Signor Galligani’s legacy through Paper Moon’s expansion into the global dining scene. The restaurant has made its way to Istanbul, Beirut, and Doha, which also has La Spiga by Paper Moon, a smaller bistro that offers lighter fare for quick lunches. Paper Moon in Manila is the restaurant’s sixth branch and the very first in Southeast Asia.
Manila’s Paper Moon is a bright and spacious eyrie perched on the 65th floor of the Knightsbridge Residences in Makati.
Inside, portraits of Italian film icons run the length of the restaurant. The music in the background calls to mind Italian summers as it ranges from classic Sinatra singles to more upbeat Latin-inspired tunes.
A masterpiece in wood and glass, the restaurant’s layout follows the curve of the building, making it an elegant half-moon in keeping with its name. High ceilings add to the spacious, airy feel and panoramic windows feature the most breathtaking view of the greater metropolis spreading out below.
Diners can choose to sit at either plush banquettes or elegant club chairs in white or tan leather. Every table is duly draped with creamy white linens and set with chic porcelain, silver, and glass.
There are two bars inside the restaurant, but one has the added cachet of letting diners watch as the resident pizzaiolo prepares crisp pizzas in a til ed oven right in the middle of the bar.
Chef Fabrizio De Togni, who opened the Paper Moon branches in Beirut and Doha, rules the Manila kitchen. He has brought its delicious signature dishes to Asia, including
six kinds of pasta all mad e in-house and bread baked fresh on site.
Authentic flavours are all in play thanks to the best Italian ingredients possible. Filipino gourmets will be held in thrall by the rich, earthy flavours of tender fourcheese ravioli dressed in white truffle cream, evocative of the Piedmont or the ever-popular pappardelle Paper Moon with its semolina noodles enrobed in a luxurious tomato sauce enriched with cream and smoky pancetta.
Those seeking more robust dishes may order the classic Battuta di manzo alla Paper Moon: a tender paillard of beef pan-fried in olive oil and given savour by a traditional mix of garlic, chili, and fresh rosemary. More adventurous diners can expect to enjoy a dish inspired by the indefatigable Mr Tekeli himself: Pizza Edi which puts a spin on the standard tomato-mozzarella combo with the addition of spicy beef pepperoni, sweet onions, and chili.
convivial spaces The corner bar is airy and perfect for light drinks; Retail master Edi Tekeli; Tonno caponata al verdure; Costoletta di vitello
BRAVO, SIGNORE Retail king and now restaurateur Edi Tekeli
specialità dela casa (Clockwise from below) Chef Fabrizio De Togni; Spaghetti alle Vongole; Tiramisu