MANILA -- One of Asia's best bars, ABV Cocktail and Absinthe Bar, is bringing good eats from Boracay island to Manila with a limited pop-up run of Supper Club and Boozy Brunch in partnership with Nonie’s Boracay.
“It’s a series of events featuring ABV and Nonie’s. It’s our way of helping out the Boracay businesses," explained ABV's Alyssa Ferrer.
"We’re in the same situation because our sister bar, Prisma, also closed in Boracay. It’s our way of helping them [Nonie’s] stay afloat. So when Boracay closed, we offered our locations here in Manila for them to do pop-ups, just for them for have some presence here in Manila.”
Owned by first-time restaurateurs Shria and Patrick Florencio, Nonie’s is known for serving healthy Filipino-inspired dishes that use local and seasonal ingredients, with an emphasis on making things from scratch.
This on-trend concept has successfully buoyed Nonie’s to the top of TripAdvisor's list of Boracay restaurants a little over a year that they’ve been in operation.
ABV, meanwhile, has enjoyed the reputation of being a favorite for many metro tipplers, eager to taste bespoke cocktails from their roster of award-winning bartenders, currently led by Lester Ligon, the Diageo World-Class Philippines Bartender of the Year (2018).
The pop-up has two components. There's the Boozy Brunch on Saturdays starting at 11 a.m. until July 28. This is priced at P1,300+ per person for a three-course meal with drinks, with an option for unlimited prosecco for an additional P800.
Then there is the Supper Club happening every Thursday and Friday until July 27, with two seatings (7 p.m. and 9 p.m.). Each will feature six courses by Nonie’s paired with ABV cocktails and palate cleansers, priced at P1,950 per person.
A Peach Americano started off our Supper Club experience. With its slight fizziness, the cocktail was light on the tongue, and sweet, with the peach flavor ending with a hint of bitterness, thanks to the Campari, nicely balancing out the acidity of the dishes paired with it.
The first pairing was a ceviche in a spicy coconut vinaigrette, with slices of raw red onion and cilantro, that made for a bracing bite on top of freshly baked lavosh.
Santol Dip (also with lavosh) was the next dish. Another tangy dish, where the sourness of the fruit was tempered, and then enhanced by the addition of cilantro and umami-rich ingredients like coconut cream, dilis (fried anchovies), and perhaps some hibi (dried shrimp).
Choya Umeshu with pineapple and angostura bitters followed as a palate cleanser. Sweet and tropical delicious, this was one of my favorite glasses, and would gladly have drunk another one, but I had four more courses and glasses to go, so I had to pace myself. It did succeed in whetting my appetite for the savory dishes that came next.
Chicken and Pork Adobo ala Nonie’s had multiple components on the plate -- from a soft-boiled egg, 72-hour crispy pork belly, as well as a grilled chicken adobo leg. All unified by a Cavite-style adobo sauce punctuated with candied garlic on organic black rice.
Cavite-style adobo sauce is yellow with annato, and mostly sweet-salty. I found it best paired with the pork belly and bites of garlic, while a lot of people in our table found it delightful with the grilled chicken. I liked it least with the egg, as I found the egg drowned out all of the adobo flavor.
I quickly gobbled the rest of the dish while sipping on the Birds of a Feather cocktail, which had bourbon in its base mixed with pineapple juice, bitters and homemade cinnamon syrup. The drink had an island feel to it, reminiscent of tiki drinks by the beach.
This refreshing quality lent itself well to the meal progression, as it made it very easy to eat slices of braised beef brisket with punchy calamansi-soy bistek Tagalog sauce that was also paired with it.
Instead of pairing the next dish with a cocktail, the fish course was sandwiched with two palate cleansers. So right after the beef course, we enjoyed the acidity and earthiness of a thyme liqueur grapefruit juice concoction.
At this point, I was already full, but perhaps for more robust appetites, this last entrée should get you fully satisfied as the Fish Sarsiado Bowl, with squid (or whatever catch of the day) and adlai sauced with sautéed tomatoes and egg, made for a very hearty bowl.
To prepare us for dessert, the last palate cleanser was fruity and fresh with G.E. Massenez Poire William, lime juice, cucumber, and prosecco.
Dessert was Strawberry Cashew Cake. This gluten-free cake was dense, nutty and buttery, topped with a layer of freshly made (most likely sugar free) strawberry jam, and fresh strawberries.
Cacao nibs added texture and bitterness, and I enjoyed every bite even without the orange zest and lemon grass flavored coconut sauce, especially as I followed every bite of cake with a sip of the last cocktail, the Black Swan.
Mixing Dewar’s White Label Blended Scotch with Frangelico, Amadeo Coffee Liqueur, and Amaro Averna, the Black Swan is the coffee cocktail that takes the place of an after-dinner coffee -- a fitting end to the Supper Club.
ABV is located at 22 Jupiter Street, Bel Air, Makati City.