We chose Uno because it's not too far from everyone. Bry the Shrinking Man lived the farthest away, but it didn't really matter where we decided to have dinner-- he would always be late.
It took just a ten-minute drive to get there. Immediately, we were able to find a parking spot. The outside was nondescript, but the interiors were blindingly plain white. It had a warehouse or bodega kind of vibe, but with nice china and silver set on white (of course) tablecloths. I loved it. Good start for the evening.
And then the menu made everyone cross-eyed.
|Letters too close together?
No kidding. I mean, look at it. There's something wrong, right? It's not just us. Is it because they wanted to save paper and use only one page? Personally, I think that the font size that they used was just too big. Which makes it sort of ironic.
Of all the things we ate that night-- and there were seven of us-- I have only two photos. Yez, we had starters, mains and desserts. Only two photos.
|Grilled Greenland halibut with braised leeks, capers and Dijon mustard sauce.
|Oven-baked pork tenderloin adobado with braised cabbage and apples.
I was talking too much, and people were eating too fast. The lighting was not ideal. The matters we were discussing were just too riveting. At least, that's how I explained the lack of pictures. But now that I've had time to really think, this is what I think:
I was not inspired to take pictures. Because the food was so damned ugly.
It was so brazenly unpretty that it's nearly arrogant. It's like Chef-owner Mari Relucio was saying, I'm a f*@#ing good cook and I don't need any of that fancy presentation nonsense. Here it is, and slaps the plate down on the table. It's a challenge to the diner, and had better be backed up by good food.
The food was good. We were happy.
It's rustic French farmhouse cooking served in an almost-too-severe and faintly clinical setting... if the farmhouse were located near BOTH the French-German and French-Italian borders and had a Filipina cook who used to work in Singapore. The flavors were very robust, and the meats were cooked correctly. Both the fish and pork were very tender and moist. I was able to taste the rack of lamb dish-- excellent lamb-y flavor without the gaminess. As well as the beef strip steak which was a little tough, as can be expected from a strip steak, but had a nice umami taste.
And the vegetables! There's nothing uglier than braised vegetables, but they tasted oh-so-good, and were not mushy at all.
The desserts were unremarkable, and strangely, I felt that the chef just didn't care if anyone liked them or not. Take it or leave it. A very good reason to order desserts, though, was this little veranda on the second floor. Have a cup of coffee, some cake and a smoke.
|Smoking area overlooking Tomas Morato.
Contrary to the food's somewhat aggressive "I-taste-good-what's-it-to-you-how-I-look" appearance, the service was quite solicitous.
Verdict: We gotta go back, guys. I need to take more pictures. And they change the menu every quarter, I heard. I really like this place!
Uno Restaurant at 195 Tomas Morato Avenue corner Scout Fuentabella Street, Quezon City. Contact +63.2.3740774.