It's been a crazy year for all of us. 

Everything has been put into a halt since March this year and even in the final stretch of 2020, the threat of the pandemic is still swarming across the globe. 

The travel industry has not yet fully recovered. But the dining sector is slowly getting back on track,  just in time for the holiday season. 🎉

This is the season to cherish life and appreciate what we have right now. We've been through a lot this year, but it shouldn't be dampened our spirit for the holidays. Celebrate it with luscious meals! 

We need to pick up our lives somewhere and keep moving and hoping for a better life ahead and remind ourselves that it's not yet the end of the world. 

Despite the pandemic, it's still the most wonderful time of the year! Let's celebrate life's moments and be thankful that we have reached this far, alive and healthy. And that's enough to be grateful and feel festive this holiday season. 

Though gatherings of large groups are prohibited under the GCQ guidelines, we are allowed to sneak to a restaurant with our family, friends or colleagues, as long as we observe the health protocol imposed by the government.

There are trendy resto in Metro Manila that offer a comfortable venue for a special gourmand trip this holiday season, a food destination that truly let us feel normal even just for a day. 😀

Blackbird restaurant in Makati is one. 

Entrance area of. Blackbird

Chic, classic interior, with earth tone furnishing, it is just beside the vibrant Ayala gardens. The scenic view of nature and breezy surroundings make this dining destination a great place to chill over sumptuous meals. 

Reception area 

And to get the most of the comforting  view of the environment, Blackbird offers an option for an Al fresco dining. It's right in their garden with two bar lounges.

Garden lounge


It is located within the Ayala Triangle at the heart of Makati, surrounded with verdant trees and cool atmosphere, making Al fresco dining a terrific option for a relaxing gourmand adventure.

McLarens team year-end lunch 

Blackbird is housed at Nielson Tower, Manila's first international airport and historic landmark, along Salcedo Village, just a throw stone away from the scenic Ayala gardens.

Al fresco dining

The interior 

Yeah, before talking about food, let me tell you first about the interior. I'm always particular with the restaurant's ambiance when choosing a place to relax over meals and long conversation, because it speaks volume for a good foodie mood. It makes the dining moment more satisfying.

Outdoor dining

Blackbird has an awesome interior, stylish art deco, elegant furnishing, warm tone and quissential oriental vibe. It instantly draws interest among diners, fa. Elegance is an understatement. 

The food and service 

Just like most fine dining restaurants, Blackbird has a great customer service with staff warmly guiding diners to their respective tables. And they're extra accommodating to diners' requests.

Blackbird offers an intercontinental cuisine, combining sumptuous western fares with contemporary Asian dishes. Big flavors in generous servings!

A great place to chill with colleagues 

We spent our year-end lunch here the other week and we chose the outdoor venue to make the most of our time, getting cozy in conversation while enjoying the food.

Happy Holidays!

Items in the menu might be highly westernized with complicated terms but its flavors have typical Asian taste, familiar to a Filipino palate.

The Menu

Dishes in the menu are segregated based on the hour of dining. Brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, but diners can take any of those dishes anytime of the day. Opening time is at 10:00 in the morning, so brunch is ready the moment you step inside. 

QR style menu

The brunch meals offer a global taste of some European fanfare. Sausages, grilled English bangers, bacons and mushrooms, toast, potato salad, steak, smoked salmon. 

The afternoon tea is a quissential English and French delights, an assortment of finger sandwiches, savory pastries, freshly baked scones with cream and jam, tarts and cakes, served with a pot of classic tea. 

Dinner menu is an array of a resplendent cuisine for a splendid night complete with wine and sparkling champaigne. 

Roast salmon, Kerala fish, grilled ribs, lamb cutlets, smoked trout, pasta, soup and starters like crispy soft shell crab, cheddar and leak souffle. Dishes that make your evening extra full and relax.

Our dining experience 

It was an extravagant Al fresco lunch for us, an opportunity to bond after months of not seeing each other, and a great moment to loosen up over great food and long conversation.

The Al fresco dining venue sets in the garden lounge of the restaurant so our year-end bonding was extra delightful, breathing on the coolness of nature while enjoying meals. 

It was a great lunchout moment with colleagues. We'd so much fun sharing stories and laughter over sumptuous dishes. Soft mid-morning air gently swirling around, blending with the aroma of delightful dishes.

It was the first time we dined outside as a complete team (although we have one colleague who is based in Cebu. Sorry Ben 😂) because most of us are on a work-from-home setup due to the pandemic. 

Peppered tuna steak 

Sir Efren and Sir Vic made a room for their schedule to come to the office for this year-end lunch. And because we're in the garden, we didn't require to sit arm-length from each other. 

With Sir Efren, our Property manager 

But we're minding with the government's protocol on social distancing and health guidelines. We entered the restaurant with our facemask and faceshield on but after we seated, the food crew gave us a paper pounch each to secure our facemask.

The crew handed us the menu that's QR-ready and we just scanned it with our mobile phone to generate the list. 

Prawn scotch eggs in betel leaves 

For starter, we sampled a set of prawn scotch eggs, betel leaves and coconut chili sambal. Php280 good for two. It tastes like some breaded meatballs with hard-boiled eggs.

Salt and pepper squid and shrimps 

We also tried the salt and pepper squid and shrimps with sweet soy and ginger starter. Php460 good for two. This one is really flavorful, very Asian taste. Crunchy and savory.

For the main course, we have Peppered tuna steak, warm potato and bacon salad, caper aioli. Php720 per plate good for one, and has no rice. According to my colleagues, it tastes awesome, with some spicy tang. 

Peppered tuna steak  Php720

I opted for Salmon fillet with green goddess potato salad, asparagus and leak, because I love grilled salmon. Php890 per order but has no rice so I ordered one cup separately.

Salmon fillet and green goddess potato salad, Aspagaragus and leak Php890

If you like salty, peppery dishes, this may not be a good meal for you. I find the recipe a bit bland, not flavorful enough to fascinate my very Asian tastebud. But I love the green goddess potato salad, it's so creamy and tasty. 

Kerala fish curry, basmati rice and papadum Php720

My colleagues chose Kerala fish curry with basmati rice and papadum (Php720). Tiger prawns in Kombu butter, sauteed spinach and nori rice (Php1, 080).

Tiger prawns and nori rice Php1,080

Despite my reservation on the bland Salmon fillet dish, Blackbird offers a great dining experience. With its fascinating ambiance, cool surroundings, classic interior, and delectable recipes (don't mind my not-so positive review on the salmon fillet), it's a relaxing place for a casual dining to celebrate life's moments over terrific meals. They've plenty to offer that suits everyone's palate. 

The Budget

Dining at Blackbird is such an awesome experience. And extra romantic with all the setup and style. Sumptuous and flavorful cuisine in big servings! So expect a pricey menu.

Vanilla panna cotta Php380

Budget per head starts at Php1,000. Main course servings usually don't have rice. If you're a typical Asian and can't live without rice during lunch or dinner, you need to put some extra budget. Rice per order is Php90.00.

Mango, passionfruit and orange shake 

For drinks, budget usually starts at Php100 for a can of soda. Fruit shakes per glass picks at Php160 while dessert like vanilla panna cotta with Black currant sorbet costs Php380.

Dark chocolate and Hazelnut 
semifreddo Php480

Another dessert we tried, the Dark chocolate and Hazelnut semifreddo (Php480) is so decadent and extra chocolatey, ideal for all chocolate lovers. 

Overall, Blackbird is a great dining place to celebrate the holidays over meals, or any special occasions. Great food, nice service, cool atmosphere. 

Me chilling at the garden lounge

Truly, an ideal place to relax over food this holiday season. An awesome gourmander destination. You'll momentarily forget the chaos of the pandemic outside. 

For more information about their menu, and reservation, you may visit their webiste, click this LINK or at mobile number +639178892782.

This wraps up my gourmand trip this year. Here's to a better world, better goals, better life, virus-free 2021! May the coming year will be finally an awesome period to explore the world of adventure and flavors.

Photo credit : Sarah, Sir Aldean, Sir Efren.

Merry Christmas and happy Holidays everyone! May your home be filled with all things this season brings: peace, love, joy, harmony, abundance and unity. 🎉

Until our next adventure! Thank you for being part of The Gourmand Travel Guide journey this year. 🤗