Town & Country (Philippines) - - CONTENTS / JUNE - By Ali­cia Colby Sy Pho­to­graphs by Kai Huang Knightsbridge res­i­dences, Cen­tury City, Makati; 795.8630.

Ital­ian eatery Pa­per Moon ar­rives in Manila.

It’s half past five and a re­mark­able sun­set is light­ing up the ex­pan­sive din­ing room at Pa­per Moon, the first Asian out­post of the land­mark Milan es­tab­lish­ment. Through the tall wall of win­dows that stretch from one side of the restau­rant to the other, the warm af­ter­noon sun soft­ens and soothes. It is only a mat­ter of min­utes be­fore the mil­lion­dol­lar view will trans­form from calm dusk to an en­ergy charged panorama of flick­er­ing lights that make up the city sky­line. Sit­ting 66 sto­ries high, on the very top of the Knightsbridge Res­i­dences in Cen­tury City, the mood has been set, and, al­though one could sit for hours at the cozy cor­ner bar sipping an Aperol spritz, Cam­pari soda, or a glass of prosecco, one ul­ti­mately comes to Pa­per Moon to dine, and dine here you must.

We are di­rected to our ta­ble by the restau­rant’s man­ager, Mau­r­izio Crippa, a well-dressed and af­fa­ble gen­tle­man who is im­per­vi­ous to the fact that he had us all at “Buon giorno.” He hands us a menu that reads in Ital­ian, be­cause let’s face it, ev­ery­thing sounds bet­ter in Ital­ian. The ta­ble set­ting is stylishly sim­ple and the in­te­ri­ors are con­tem­po­rary chic, but don’t let the mod­ern at­mos­phere fool you. De­spite ap­pear­ances the food here is straight­for­ward, soul­ful, and re­plete with Mi­lanese clas­sics, all of which come highly rec­om­mended.

Our en­joy­able se­lec­tion of starters in­cludes a re­fresh­ing pan­zanella salad made with chunks of rus­tic bread, toma­toes, bell pep­pers, cu­cum­bers, olives, and fresh mint, tossed in a light olive oil dress­ing and the sea­sonal Parma ham and can­taloupe. The Pa­per Moon sig­na­ture pap­pardelle with cream sauce and crispy bacon has be­come the primi pi­atti of choice and an in­stant hit among Filipino din­ers. I can­not help but reach for sec­ond serv­ings of the spaghetti alle von­gole and the penne all’arrab­bi­ata. Done right, these re­li­able stan­dards are rea­son enough to re­turn. For heav­ier fare, the breaded veal chop with arugula and cherry tomato salad is a class act, as is the braised veal shank served with risotto Mi­lanese. Cur­rently, there are 11 dif­fer­ent piz­zas on the menu, rang­ing from the sim­ple such as the pizza alla mari­nara with tomato, gar­lic, olive oil, and basil, to the com­pli­cated, like the pizza ai frutti di mare, but a crowd fa­vorite is the sim­plest of them all: the pizza margherita. This thin­crust pizza is best en­joyed pip­ing hot—add a dust­ing of dried oregano and a hefty driz­zle of olive oil, and it is pure per­fec­tion. At the end of the meal, make sure to or­der the kitchen’s tra­di­tional ren­di­tion of tiramisu as it tastes ex­actly as it should, no gim­micks or green tea in sight.

Pa­per Moon Milan’s orig­i­nal founders Pio gal­li­gani and his wife en­rica del Rosso would be pleased with what their local part­ners Joey Antonio, chair­man of Cen­tury Prop­er­ties, and Turk­ish busi­ness­man edi Tekeli, best known for bring­ing in­ter­na­tional fast-fash­ion brands like Mango and guess to the Philip­pines, have done in such a short amount of time. Soon, the part­ners will be ex­pand­ing the fran­chise with an­other branch in Boni­fa­cio global City and more Pa­per Moon res­tau­rants in Hong Kong and through­out Asia later this year.

DINE wIth A VIEw clock­wise from top: A se­lec­tion of starters, pasta, and pizza; in­side pa­per Moon.

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