Made Nice Is Back, Bringing Its Good Food And Warm Family Vibe To Rockwell
Made Nice is on soft opening at its new Joya Rockwell location, and for the discriminating Manila food enthusiast, it’s a welcome return for this dining establishment that attracted a rabidly loyal following at its initial Legaspi Village location.
Food and family have always held a very special meaning for Made Nice. The “food” is obvious, as the Mediterranean cuisine with Asian influences—a trademark of the kitchen’s relatively young but experienced DNA—was an immediate hit.
A meeting of minds between chefs Jack Flores, his wife Gabbi Ramos-Flores, Raul Fores, and Toby Panlilio, “family” also figures heavily in the Made Nice DNA. Gabbi is the daughter of Neil Ramos of Neil’s Kitchen fame, while Raul is a member of the family behind Mamou, Recovery Food, and C.D.P. As a result, there’s some serious second generation “juju” going on!
It’s a hip, contemporary New York dining vibe that Made Nice is after, and even in its “salad days” in Legaspi Village, there were diverse sets of clients patronizing the eatery. For lunch, the titas of Manila, the women who lunch, and executives from the buildings nearby filled up the tables; while dinner time was a deluge of millennials and couples on romantic dinner dates. It was a wonderful mix that augurs well for the future of the new location.
Previously known for their small plates presentation, the Made Nice team has now tweaked the menu with sharing options and more attractive price points. Thanks to the team’s recent trips to Japan and Bali during their resto hiatus, a whole slew of new ingredients and flavors have been incorporated in the food listings. One example would be the Prawn Okonomiyaki with Bonito shavings.
For Jack, the signature dishes he recommends for a Made Nice first-timer would be the Halibut with Mushroom Dashi, Kamote Tops and Tutong Rice, the Scallops starter which incorporates pomelo to give the dish a citrusy touch, and the Duck with Anise, Carrot Purée and Curry Leaves, and is good for sharing between two persons.
The most Pinoy dish on the menu would be the Pork Belly, served with eggplant purée and tutong rice. Cured in miso, the Foie Gras served on Sourdough is a real winner.
For carnivores solo-ing it, order the Wagyu Flank Steak and be delighted by the sweet potato slab that serves as a siding. And if you like soup, don’t miss the Garlic Soup Velouté, served with ham, a dollop of goat cheese, and edamame—putting a little of all of these ingredients in one spoonful is ambrosial, trust me! I love how Jack is toying with the option of serving this soup cold like a gazpacho or vichyssoise.
Wagyu Flank Steak
For dessert, there’s Pavlova and Cheesecake, but the pièce de résistance would be the Tres Leches, a delightful sponge cake with milk and dulce de leche.
Made Nice is equal measures of food and family, and if you haven’t been “made nice” yet, what are you waiting for?
G/F, Joya Lofts and Towers, Plaza Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City, (0917) 183-6423 (NICE), @madeniceph on Instagram
Lead images by Philip Cu Unjieng