Paper Moon's classic Italian is out to help you impress your date
The Milan-based restaurant is now open at Century City in Makati.
Knightsbridge Residences, Century City, Makati City
Open daily from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (By reservation only)
(SPOT.ph) “I know by heart that Filipinos love Italian food,” says businessman Edi Tekeli. And we can’t help but agree. Who can remember a time when pizza and pasta weren’t in the Filipino consciousness? From the sweet-style spaghetti served in childhood parties to thin-crust pizzas and al dente noodles tossed in truffle oil, Italian cuisine has long been a part of our local dining experience in one form or another.
It’s what pushed Edi, together with his friend and business partner Joey Antonio, to seek an Italian restaurant they could bring to Manila. But it couldn’t be just any ordinary eatery. “There's so many touristy places in Milano which I hate to visit because they [don’t make] genuine authentic Italian food,” shares Edi, “They do it fast and for the foreigners.” But for Edi’s discerning taste, one restaurant stood out from the rest.
Paper Moon was, according to Edi, “just a booth in a narrow street in Milan.” The first Paper Moon here in Manila is grander, yet also channels the homey charm of the original in Italy with dim lights and framed black-and-white photos of Italian celebrities and scenes from American-Italian movies like The Godfather. Paper Moon Manila takes advantage of its vast space—the entire roof deck of Knightsbridge Residences at Century City—with VIP rooms, a cigar room, and a brick pizza oven shipped from North Milan, in the middle of the dining area.
It’s difficult to imagine that the space used to be flat and bare, like a regular rooftop. “The challenge was how to bring up the beams, cover the windows with glass,” says Edi. It makes the restaurant’s elegant interiors all the more impressive.
Paper Moon in Milan stood out for Edi because of the quality of their food and how consistently excellent it has been in the past 40 years. Bringing the restaurant to Manila gave him a first-hand look at how this was made possible. “They have a bible,” he shares, “with recipes, exact measurements. They have small weighing scales.” The matriarch Enrica del Rosso also visited Paper Moon Manila not only to celebrate their launch but also to oversee how the kitchen was running. Their Italian chef, on the other hand, is staying with the local team for over two months. So when they say they only serve authentic Milano food, you know they’re serious.
Prosciutto e Melone
While it’s almost automatic to head straight to the pizza and pasta in an Italian restaurant, have your dinner the Italian way and order an Antipasti or appetizer first. The Prosciutto e Melone (P790) is exquisite, with the prosciutto shaped like a blooming rose atop a ring of cantaloupe. Take a bit of prosciutto with the cantaloupe to fully enjoy the contrast between the sharply salty Italian ham and the mildly sweet and juicy fruit.
Pappardelle Paper Moon
The Pappardelle Paper Moon (P575) will surely be a crowd-pleaser, with pappardelle or flat pasta noodles tossed in pink sauce with crispy bacon bits. The cheese in the sauce is sharp but not overly so with a whisper of sweetness, and the bacon makes it all the more enjoyable. You’ll finish this plate in no time.
Spaghetti Alla Vongole
If you prefer something lighter, have the Spaghetti Alla Vongole (P575), only lightly seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and garlic to let the fresh briny flavor of the clams shine.
Petto di Pollo Alla Griglia Con Insalata Mista
Pair your pasta with the Petto di Pollo Alla Griglia Con Insalata Mista (P790). The strong flavors come from the salad, with a nuttiness provided by a mix of lettuce, arugula, and cherry tomatoes. It pairs well with the grilled chicken paillard, which has a hint of zesty lemon.
Dining at Paper Moon can be a splurge, but if it’s excellent Italian cuisine you’re looking for, with a view of the Makati skyline (especially beautiful after sunset) and a quietly attentive staff, we can think of no better way to treat yourself.
Photos by Jericho San Miguel