It’s half past five and a remarkable sunset is lighting up the expansive dining room at Paper Moon, the latest Italian restaurant to debut in Manila and the first Asian outpost of the landmark Milan establishment. Through the tall wall of windows that stretch from one side of the restaurant to the other, the warm afternoon sun softens and soothes. It is only a matter of minutes before the million dollar view will transform from calm dusk to an energy charged panorama of flickering lights that make up the city skyline. Sitting 66 stories high, on the very top of the Knightsbridge Residences in Century City, the mood has been set, and, although one could sit for hours at the cozy corner bar sipping an Aperol spritz, Campari soda, or a glass of prosecco, one ultimately comes to Paper Moon to dine.
We are directed to our table by the restaurant’s manager, Maurizio Crippa, an affable gentleman who is impervious to the fact that he had us all at “Buon giorno.” He hands us a menu that reads in Italian because let’s face it, everything sounds betterin Italian. Easily our choices are made. The table setting is stylishly simple and the interiors are contemporary chic, but don’t let the modern atmosphere fool you. Despite appearances, the food here is straightforward, soulful, and replete with Milanese classics, all of which come highly recommended.
Inside Paper Moon
Our selection of starters includes a refreshing panzanella salad made with chunks of rustic bread, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, olives, and fresh mint, tossed in a light olive oil dressing and the seasonal Parma ham and cantaloupe. The Paper Moon signature pappardelle with cream sauce and crispy bacon has become the primipiatti of choice and an instant hit among Filipino diners–I cannot help but reach for a second serving of the spaghetti allevongole and the penne all’arabbiata. These reliable standards are reason enough to return. For heavier fare, the breaded veal chop with arugula and cherry tomato salad is a class act as is the braised veal shank served with risotto Milanese. Currently, thereare 11 different pizzas on the menu, ranging from the simple such as the pizza alla marinara with tomato, garlic, olive oil, and basil to the complicated, like the pizza ai frutti di mare, but my favorite is the simplest of them all, the pizza margherita. This thin crust pizza is best enjoyed piping hot, add a dusting of dried oregano, and a hefty drizzle of olive oil and it is pure perfection.
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At the end of the meal, make sure to order the kitchen’s traditional rendition of tiramisu as it tastes exactly as it should, no gimmicks or green tea in sight.
A selection of starters
Pizza and pasta dishes
Paper Moon Milan’s original founders Pio Galligani and his wife Enrica del Rosso would be pleased with what their local partners Joey Antonio, Chairman of Century Properties, and Turkish businessman Edi Tekeli, best known for bringing international fast-fashion brands like Mango and Guess to the Philippines, have done in such a short amount of time. Soon, the partners will be expanding the franchise with another branch in Bonifacio Global City and more Paper Moon restaurants in Hong Kong and throughout Asia later this year. While the partners share some of the same business DNA, each comes to the table with very different experiences that complement one another. While Antonio builds neighborhoods, Tekeli populates them with lifestyle options, and people like me say thank you.
Kinghtsbridge Residences, Century City, Makati, 795.8630.