New Baguio Find: Nepalese Resto on Outlook Drive

half & half interiors, baguio restaurant, nepalese cuisine, nepalese art, ganesha, chicken curry, twakka makai, momo, basmati rice

When Hill Station’s Mitos Benitez Yñiguez recommends a restaurant in Baguio for you to try, you try it.

I was delighted to hear that there is a new guy in town, a half-Nepalese, half-Filipino fellow named Julian Shakya who, with partner Bernie Figer, opened this Nepalese restaurant on Outlook Drive.

HALF & HALF

When I was told the name of the restaurant, though, the first thing that crossed my mind was the creamer that my aunt in Ohio loves to put in her coffee – Half & Half. Mitos was like, “I know” – on the name of the resto. But says it’s because half of the resto is a bar or becomes a bar at night.

When you enter the resto, though, there will be no mistaking that it is Nepalese.

NEPALESE INTERIORS

The first thing I noticed were the figurines on the wall near where we were seated:

Checking out new restaurant Half & Half with my kumare Aleth Ocampo, creator of the very popular Aleth's Kitchen chocolate chip cookies and taba ng talangka. Sister of Ambeth Ocampo. Suki of Better Dog. Mom of Chowee the Chowchow.
Checking out new restaurant Half & Half with my kumare Aleth Ocampo (Ninang of my furkid Stardust), creator of the very popular Aleth’s Kitchen chocolate chip cookies and taba ng talangka.

I was also drawn to this half-elephant, half-clown art. I did a quick Wiki and realized that this may be an artistic tribute to Ganesha, “a Hindu deity widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom”.

Then near the balcony is this carving that just makes you think of your own yoga goals:

Ganesh, kamasutra, nepalese art, nepalese faith, hindi, baguio restaurant
Left: Art tribute to Ganesha? Right: Yoga goals.

As usual, I wanted to try everything on the menu.

MOMO, NOT MOMOL

We started with something that was being offered for free if you like the resto’s Facebook page. It gave us a good laugh because it’s called MOMO. I told my friend, “Mag Like tayo para libreng MomoL!” (Gen-X code for Make Out Make Out Lang). Momo is apparently a popular dumpling in Nepal, sometimes stuffed with pork, sometimes fish, sometimes beef. My friend noted that it is similar to the dumpling in Molo soup. Perhaps we got that influence from Nepal? (Or vice versa?)

Momo, Nepalese cuisine, Baguio restaurants, dumplings.
Momo, a Nepalese delicacy.

Then we started officially with a most unique appetizer. This would have been great, too, at night, with an ice cold bottle of beer: fried corn! But without the husk. We loved this.

Twakka Makai. A special deep-fried corn mixed with onions, cilantro and spices. Baguio, Nepalese restaurant, Margaux Salcedo, Julian Shakya.M
Menu favorite of mine: Twakka Makai. A special deep-fried corn mixed with onions, cilantro and spices.

Next we had the Nepali Vegetable Chowmein. Vegetable because we already had pork and chicken for the other items we ordered. This was like … pancit LOL. I wasn’t too sold on this. I guess you need to be craving pancit. Or maybe I have a bias for Filipino-Chinese pancit! LOL.

Nepali Chowmein

SAUCES FTW

I truly enjoyed the sauces, though. First, the dip that came with the Momo. And then the sauce of the chicken curry (don’t order the solo it’s so bitin; order the one good enough for two, anyway the prices are super reasonable). This is especially good with that Basmati rice if you’ve had too much to drink the night before, hehehe!

Finally, since, you know, Baguio, the best part about the restaurant is the VIEW. This was the view while we ate …

And then there’s this incredible deck …

We were given the best tip by Mitos: come early. We arrived at 11:30 and service was fast. By noontime, though, the place was full and the restaurant had to manage the influx of customers. And this was on a non-peak weekend.

Finally, we got a great laugh off the neighboring cafe, Le Vain. There is a New York bakery named Levain that makes amazing, to-die-for chocolate chip cookies (among other cookes). I guess this is the Baguio version!

Overall it was a great find and, as a lover of curries, I’d like to come back to try out more items on the menu!

 

Lamonation Cheese and Foie Night

So lucky to have been adopted by this crazy, noisy, super fun foodie group called the Lamonations. The groups’s mantra is “Hindi sumusuko sa hamon ng lamon!”

Friday night’s dinner theme was cheese curated by Manny Torrejon. (He accommodates private dinners, btw. Find him on Facebook. His place is called Manolo’s. Details for reservations here.)

We had lucky THIRTEEN kinds of cheese. Near my end of the table: beer cheese from Germany; blue cheese (na hindi bumenta haha); king’s cheese – loved how it creeps up on you with spice; gouda w truffle; Saint Andre, a French triple-cream cheese, and Parmigiano Reggiano. And over at the other end: Asiago, Pecorino Toscano, Imperial, Idiazabal, Livarot, Port Salut and Tomme de Savoie.

This is how one tray looked when I arrived …

… and how it looked before we left! 

All the cheese we had – available at BRERA on Yakal in Makati.

We were also lucky to have foie gras by Chef Chris Bautista. One was brined in salt, the other a terrine.  For orders, call 09166939101.

Chris Bautista foie gras

For dessert, Vanessa Lagman Ledesma, famous for making crack pie, made a pineapple rum cake. She just makes this for friends (for now!) but for her other delicious creations, check out Red Hot Oven here.

pineapplerumcakevanessa
Photo by Teddy Montelibano.

Thanks to THIS by the end of the night everyone was dancing!

What a fun, fun night! Ang saya saya foie!