South American or Latin American cuisine is close to my heart. Having the chance to visit that side of the world, I have a bias towards their food. I love the culture that goes with their cuisine! The interesting flavors, the use of herbs and spices, the love for coffee and the warm people are all unforgettable.
When Brasas opened up their flagship restaurant in Podium, I didn't miss the chance to go and I loved every bit of it. The food, the interiors and even the music - all brought me back to my Latin American adventure. So when I heard about Naxional, I was giddy as a child to go.
|A look at Naxional - South American Diner|
Right before meeting up with friends for our Salvatore Cuomo stint, I met up with hubby for lunch at Naxional. Located at the second floor of Uptown Parade, on top of Salvatore Cuomo, the place was barely full when we got there. An open bar, alfresco style, will welcome you as you get to the place and you will be immediately ushered into the dining area. As soon as you enter, an explosion of textures will welcome you - bricked walls, unfinished corners, wood accents and some industrial design flares.
|Beautiful work of art!|
Walls were adorned with colorful paintings bringing so much festive air into the space. There was also this area where the unfinished wall served as a canvass of yet another huge work of art.
|More colorful works of art!|
The entire place was huge with lots of comfortably cushioned chairs and warmly lit with chandeliers playfully made with Coke bottles. What I loved the most were the hanging wire buckets with light bulbs inside that served as drop lamps! So creative!
|Naxional - Menu|
Their menu also served as the place mat and they have a separate list for their beverages. Their menu was simple - all day breakfast, starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, grilled meat, entrees and dessert. They have dishes from Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Argentina and Mexico. We got Bacon Tocino for starter and Bandeja Paisa Platter - both of which were Colombian dishes.
|Bacon Tocino for 220Php|
One of Colombia's main produce is coffee. I can attest that they offer great coffee blends and brews. I hoarded coffee grounds to bring home when I went there! That's why I was quite interested to try this Bacon Tocino because it was rubbed with some Colombian Coffee.
|A closer look at the crispy bacon strips!|
Served in a small deep fryer looking wire basket, slices of baked pork belly rubbed with Colombian Coffee and glazed with Agave Chili made it's way into our table. Each strip was crispy, a little spicy and sweet. The coffee flavor wasn't so evident but there were bitter and salty notes. It's good but not something that I will order again.
|Bandeja Paisa Platter for 520Php|
Since I was expecting a food crawl after this lunch date, I didn't really order a separate dish and decided to just eat some from what hubby ordered. Good thing the serving of his Bandeja Paisa Platter was huge! Enough for one very hungry pal but could be shared by two. It has a good portion of griddle steak, chunks of Crispy Pork Belly, Caramelized Plantains, Black Beans, Fried Egg, Garlic Rice and Sweet Potato Chips.
|Closer look at all the beautiful details of this platter|
The Steak was well seasoned, cooked medium rare and was tender. It's not the melt in your mouth type but it was good. The crispy pork belly chunks were tasty and really had that crispy skin with fat trimmings that were a little toasted. What made each piece of meat great though was the dip that came with the platter. It was oil based with garlic, cilantro and some other herbs in it. It was amazing! I love garlic and cilantro so I basically drowned each piece of meat I ate in this dip!
Kitchen booboo during this visit: they forgot that our platter should come with fried egg! Good thing I noticed and asked. Honestly, it wasn't a big deal because it was just one fried egg but then again you should give what the menu says to your customers. Nobody noticed until we told them.
|Those diner couches!|
Service was good because there were just about 3 tables occupied, including us, when we visited. All needs met, glasses refilled with water right away and I saw that they were helpful in taking the customers through their menu. I'm definitely coming back to sample more dishes plus dessert.
4 out of 5 Stars for Naxional!
--- Naxional - South American Diner: 2/F Uptown Parade, 9th Ave. cor. 38th St., BGC, Taguig City