Unit 6 G/F Park Terraces, Palm Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City
Contact: 744-6427, 0999-993-3231
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday to Thursday), and 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Friday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) It's not a place you'd easily miss, with sleek black-and-white interiors, elegant furniture, shiny light fixtures, and stylish wall accents. It might even make you think of the sort of café they'd have in the movies—you know, the kind where the girl bumps into the guy and maybe accidentally spills some coffee on him. But it's right in the middle of the busy Makati business district, and it's just the kind of place you'd want to have coffee in every single day, guy or no guy.
“The vibe is like New York-chic, café-restaurant. The reason behind that is because before my mom got into the restaurant business, she was a fashion designer,” shares Nicole Thorp, who helps manage family-run NIC'S.
NIC’S started as a commissary in 2001 and evolved into a full-fledged restaurant a few years down the road, with their first branch at UP Town Center. In November 2018, they opened a second outpost at Ayala Center’s Park Terraces in Makati. “There are a lot of recipes that my mom used to do when she lived in New York with her now-late sister, and a lot from our travels. She replicates it and makes it her own,” Thorp shares, explaining the restaurant’s Filipino-European cuisine.
One of the first things you should try at NIC’S is their bread, which they make from scratch daily. And one of the best ways to enjoy it is with the Clam Chowder (P175), which can be served with a fluffy, crusty bread bowl (P70). Creamy and indulgent, the hearty soup is made with fresh clams and crispy bacon bits.
Their whole-wheat ciabatta makes an apperance in their Tuna Dill With Swiss Cheese (P175). The fresh dill perfectly complements the briny tuna, giving it that distinctive herby kick. The filling is matched with mild cheese and crunchy lettuce for another layer of contrast, while the sandwich is served with savory Parmesan sticks—an out-of-the-box alternative to potato chips.
If you happen to be there for breakfast, they have staples like omelettes, French toast, and rice meals, which you can have any time of the day, too. But don’t miss the Crispy Adobo Flakes (P345), chicken and pork stewed in a marinade of garlic, vinegar, and secret spices, and then shredded and fried to a crisp. The crunchy flakes flaunt a salty and savory punch, making you want to finish the whole plate in a snap. It’s best eaten with their home-style pinakurat for acidity.
But the restaurant's extensive menu has something for every type of craving. A sure hit for meat lovers is the Roast Angus Salpicao (P425). Instead of the usual cubed beef topped with garlic slivers, their version features tender, garlic-infused Angus beef served in skewers. These will melt in your mouth like butter—we kid you not.
You also can’t go wrong with the Chicken Parmigiana (P325), where golden, breaded chicken is blanketed by gooey mozzarella cheese and finished with a tangy homemade marinara sauce. It goes well with the mildy spicy pasta aglio olio and homemade pesto bread. You'd be tempted to scoop up the remaining tomato sauce with the bread—it's that good.
Apart from being a place where you can hang out, NIC'S also welcomes guests who want to get whole cakes and pastries to go. The Parmesan Ensaymada (P65) is a nostalgic and comforting snack that uses sharp cheddar similar to quezo de bola for that salty contrast against the buttery, cloud-like bread.
For the true-blue sugar fan, their Red Velvet Cake Shake (P125) is sure to satisfy. The tall iced drink is mixed with actual red velvet cake, giving it a decadent texture and flavor. It’s made more sinful with whipped cream and more cake chunks. If the liquid cake sounds too indulgent, you can opt for the traditional Red Velvet Heart (P150) and Chocolate Heart (P150) cakes. Whichever you go for, you're likely to come out of NIC'S knowing you've found a new place that will always have your sweet cravings covered.
Photos by Majoy Siason