I used to always pass by Ninak whenever I explore Kapitolyo. However, I never had a chance to drop by because of the restaurant's lack of ample parking space for customers. I've actually heard and read good reviews about the place but I always end up dining somewhere where we could park. Thankfully, this Asian restaurant joint transferred to the lower ground of the newly opened Ayala Malls the 30th and I now do not have any reason of not visiting it.
I was invited by everyone's "beshie" (bestfriend) Yourfoodtographer to have lunch here one Saturday. Despite being sick and still recovering from my first Canton Fair, I decided to go as I've been eying this place for years! Following the only direction I got, I looked for "Bon Chon" and easily spotted Ninak near it.
Chef Quito was the one in charge of whipping the dishes for us and all we have to do was decide on which summer thrist quenchers to order. I decided to go with Iced Thai Tea (PHP120). Others went with Watermelon Lychee (PHP130), Green Grape with Basil (PHP130), Ginger Lychee (PHP130) and Black Gulaman (PHP120).
First served to us was a plate of Thai Fish Cake (PHP190). I liked the slight chewiness of the dish and the delectable sweet yet tangy taste of the sauce. It had a nice light taste perfect as an appetizer.
We also sampled the Salted Egg Yolk Fish Fillet (PHP280) which was crunchy and addicting. I just avoided getting those chopped red chilis as it looked really intimidating.
The Crispy Angus Beef Belly (PHP450) was crunchy but a tad dry for my liking. And since I was coughing like an old man when I visited, its texture aggravated it. I guess I should have drowned it with vinegar or something.
An Asian restaurant visit is not complete without ordering the classic Crispy Catfish Salad (PHP250). I love how the harmony of various textures and flavors make this dish so enjoyable. I always look forward to the beautiful blend of the slightly salty catfish and tangy green mango strips.
Another Asian staple is the Phad Thai (PHP320) which is another good-for-sharing dish. The sweet yet salty flat noodles were heavy in the tummy so make sure you don't go too crazy with this one if you plan to sample a lot of dishes.
The Pork Satay (PHP299) is your usual skewers. Just make sure to eat it right away as it tends to be dry if you make it wait for a long time. Taste-wise, it was very tasty and didn't even need its peanut based sauce.
For our weekend dose of curry, we feasted on Red Pork Curry (PHP320). I skipped this one though as it looked really spicy. But given how everyone else enjoyed it, it must be good.
I wasn't able to try Grilled Pompano in Sambal (PHP560) as well as the word "sambal" scared me. It looked tasty though but I could not comment anything more than that.
I indulged in a bowl of Singaporean Laksa (PHP390) instead and it was one of my favorites during my visit. The broth was flavorful yet not overwhelming. The coconut milk gave it a nice sweet flavor and munching on the squid balls, noodles and beansprouts was delightful.
The star of the meal though was the Beef Rendang (PHP450). The meat was so tender and the thick sauce had that delightful aroma and spice that made me grab a couple more servings.
And what's an Asian meal without carbs? We sampled Tinapa Rice (PHP250), Bagoong Rice (PHP250) and Nasi Goreng (PHP230).
All were spectacular and could actually be a meal on its own.
My favorite though was the tinapa rice.
The shredded tinapa, salted egg and tomato chunks reminded me of those provincial morning meals that I always look forward to.
For desserts, we had Red Ruby (PHP160) and Mango Sticky Rice (PHP210).
Again, I wasn't able to try the Red Ruby because it was an iced dessert and I was still sick during my visit. However, the Mango Sticky Rice did not disappoint. The sweet coconut-y sticky rice went well with the mango which was a bit sour. Though others reacted negatively due to the tanginess of the mango, I loved it that way as it gave the dessert more flavors.
Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. The wait staff were very accommodating and helpful especially in moving the dishes around as we look for the best light. I would definitely head back soon to try the other dishes.
Especially this one which I had a great time taking photos of.
But I totally forgot to taste it.
Ninak is located at the Lower Ground, Ayala Malls the 30th, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.