Hello, Burgos Circle! You’ve got a new kid on the block! And it will make you wish you grew up in a kitchen somewhere in Israel.
Noor has only been around for a little more than a month but it has quickly become no stranger to busy nights. You can say it’s the appeal of being new but your first bite of their Cauliflower will make you feel you’ll be seeing their gold doors for years to come.
The owners Tair Hakmimi and her husband Chef Or are established restaurateurs from Tel Aviv. They conceptualized Noor with 3 other partners almost a year ago. The restaurant’s interiors are seemingly a reflection of their characters as I’ve come to know them in the few hours I spent at Noor – hip, fun, and kind.
It’s easy to spot the “hip and fun” in the decor but the kindness you’d get to know in the details. The restaurant plays host to art from local artists that are up for sale. This is part of Tair’s advocacy to help artists sell their pieces at no markup; only the clever thought of adding to Noor’s look for free. There’s even an artist on his second displayed art already!
Now we go to what will really make you want to go to Noor. The salty, simple but layered, and spice-filled goodness of excellently-cooked Mediterranean cuisine.
For starters we had their Cauliflower (P350) dish and Fatush Salad (P460). I’ve seen cauliflower-for-snacking recipe vids before and wondered how it will taste like. Enter Noor. I tasted saltiness that was balanced by the tangy flavor of aioli and mild bitterness of parsley. All I can say is if all recipes tasted like how Noor cooked their cauliflower then I’m learning it.
The Fatush Salad is a treat for vegetable-lovers out there who are attuned with the use of spices in their food. I just want to share, that “spices” do not equal spicy. In essence, they’re what you use to give flavor to food. So before you flat out reject that dish you hear is full of spices, please do a double-take to see if it’s just flavorful and not spicy. Else you could be missing out on something really good!
Next is my favorite main meal of the night. Their Lamb Baklava (P460). You think of baklava and you picture a dessert. And well, it is. But at Noor they applied the process of making baklava into creating a savory dish with hints of sweetness you’d normally expect at the end. And the texture – oh wow, it was perfect! Menu reads – “Lamb wrapped in phyllo pastry, sesame dressing, raspberry, pistachios, honey”… ayyy I got excited thinking about it now.
Tied in second favorites are the Kebab (P620) and Roast Beef (no price yet). I mean guys, look at this picture of the Roast Beef and tell me you’re not imagining what kind of flavors are in there! –
The chimichurri alone can salvage any bland dish but then you get those swipes of mustard on the side and garlic for a bit more kick and as if that’s not enough, they add in this spice mixture called ras-el-hanout. And if you research what it is you’d think you were fed like a king because its name means “head of the shop” as it’s usually a mixture of all the best spices a seller can offer.
Hmm okay maybe the Kebab is placed slightly higher than the beef because CILANTRO. People who are close to me have seen me asking for extra cilantro at restaurants. I even pay for it if I can’t have free refills anymore haha. So this dish, with it’s greenness from what’s possibly my favorite herb in the whole wide world, is heaven to me. That and the meat is tender! Which makes gobbling this dish all the more easier!
We were also served Chicken Skewers (P600) which could also have easily tied for second favorite if not for the fact that it’s something more common to find. However, take note that Noor cooks this “common” dish exceptionally well. So you won’t go wrong in ordering this! And if you do, please eat it with smears of their paprika aioli. It is sooo good!
Accompanying all our savory dishes that night was a good trio of signature cocktails (P380/ea). My personal favorite is the Noor Gin, best drank in a good pace so you don’t lose the flavor from melting ice. The others liked Regina Spektor which is more citrusy with orange and Cointreau. Meanwhile the Coconut Record sparks interest with almond and shredded coconut mixing with cognac and gin.
Ensuring a good ending to our dining experience are Noor’s generously-made desserts. I was thinking about what dessert they’d serve as early as the Lamb Baklava encounter haha. I am happy to say the anticipation was met well.
A hit on the table is the Knafe (P390). All of us in the table (excluding Tair of course) has never had it before and I think it’s safe to say we all had a pleasant first-timer eating experience. Like the Lamb Baklava, I loved the texture of Knafe. I also enjoyed its mix of white cheese, butter, and rose water syrup paired with vanilla ice cream.
But I’d have to say, I like this Cracked Pie better. I know, I know. I may appear as boring to have liked this more, especially when Tair hands down recommends the Knafe haha, but the pie was just so rich and comforting that it I really consider it to be my perfect ender. That and the clincher why my pants were extra tight as I went home that night haha!
Want to have extra tight pants an amazing Mediterranean meal too? Visit Noor soon! Or now hehe. They’re still on soft-opening and quiet frankly, if the service of a restaurant is good (which Noor’s is), then this period is a very interesting time to go. Hint: Items not yet on the menu. 😉
See you there!
F133 Forbestown Road, Taguig, Metro Manila
Open Mon-Sun, 12AM to 6PM